Saturday I went canyoneering with Pura Vida Joe in Grassy Canyon. This mountain creek has intrigued me for awhile and based on what I had seen of it in the past I had a hunch it would be prime for some East Coast Canyoneering. Joe is a real pioneer when it comes to this stuff and his expert knowledge, skills, and gear where just what I needed to explore this area of the forest.
The approach gave us ample oppurtunities to catch glimpses of the creek and what laid in store for us. When exploring a creek like this it is hard to know exactly what you are going to get but what we saw of Grassy Canyon on the hike in looked exactly like what we were looking for. Eventually the trail left the creek and we had to bushwhack our way back to it to our entry point. We followed a feeder stream that had several nice waterfalls and lots of boulders and elevation loss that could make it a perfect warm up on the way to Grassy Canyon proper.
We saved that diversion for another day and headed straight to our goal. We hit the creek right where we planned and quickly found ourselves standing on top of a 120' three tiered waterfall. We geared up, Joe rigged an anchor and down we went.
I got to go first which required trying to set the rope to length. I made it to the bottom where a very big and deep pool awaited me for a brisk early April swim. Joe went down next and as he suspected we didn't have enough rope with us. He had to stop at one of the levels on the fall and rig a new anchor to make it all the way to the bottom for his swim.
After the entry into the canyon we were immediatly greeted by lots of big boulders and other technical terrain.
Since this canyon was unknown to either of us the many problems we encountered took a few minutes to figure out. This particular section looked slide-able but we needed to know if there was a rock at the bottom. So I rappelled it off a meat anchor:
No rock meant it was slideable and Joe took the honors:
From there the canyon started to develop a rythym. Long stretches of technical moves and lots of very deep pools made for some slow going.
Sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry so we took it easy and built anchors and roped up when necessary.
If you looked up stream there was an endless series of waterfalls:
If you looked downstream there was just more of the same:
It became quite sinister.
But was always breathtakingly beautiful:
Evenutally we had to wonder just how many waterfalls a single creek could have.
More technical problems arose. This one looked slideable and I rappelled down to check and found a boulder in the pool at the bottom so Joe had to follow my course down. Don't underestimate the power of the current.
It almost started to get absurd.
"Will it ever fucking end?!"
A few more waterfalls, a few more icy swims, a few more boulders.
And then, finally it was over.
We made it back to Joe's place just in time for me to pedal home before the sun set. Another excellent adventure in Pisgah! I'll be back to Grassy Canyon!