Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Checkpoint #7

With pmbar long over and nothing left to not train for last Saturday I went out with Joe for some more east coast canyoneering action. Our choice in canyons was obvious: Avery Creek. Hiking in was like returning to the scene of a crime. A week earlier the trip out and back to the upper falls was a scene of utter chaos - mud everywhere, a driving rain and racers trying to pry themselves from the forest's clutches. This time it was a casual afternoon walk that allowed plenty of time to reflect on the race.

The canyon itself was surprising. I wasn't expecting much: a lot of tight rhodo and then a big waterfall and that would be about it. I was right about the tight rhodo and the big waterfall but there was also a lot of very interesting terrain. This creek was the most narrow we have done - at times as little as four feet wide - and the heavy vegetation meant there was a lot of crawling involved. Stuff like that might be as close as we'll get to a slot in this area.

We only had to rope up for the big waterfall and just reaching the anchor site was sketchy to say the least. We wanted to set our anchor on the right side of the creek but could not safely cross at the top of the falls and there did not appear to be a good anchor on that side anyway so we opted for a bomber anchor on the left that would require rappelling straight down the main flow of the waterfall. The water was very high and was moving very fast and Joe was a little concerned about potential hazards and even volunteered to go first. We didn't know if this was the big waterfall or what the rappel down it would be like. I assured him I would be fine, he gave me a quick swift water prep talk and after turning on the gopro camera the Hub was nice enough to loan to us down I went. It was a very intense rappel. I had to stop to check rope length and then again I had to stop and lock off just above the final drop to take off my vt. prusik so I wouldn't risk the very real possibility of drowning at the bottom while still attached to the rope. I made it down without only one very big hitch - when I went to turn the camera off I saw that Joe had neglected to start the video rolling!

Once Joe made it down I broke the news to him that we had to go back up  and do it again. This time with the video going so we could get the footage we were after. It was a ridiculously hard bushwhack back up to the anchor and then my second time down the waterfall was only a little less intense. We got the footage and called it a day.








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