omly: wave of water (water)
[personal profile] omly
Last year my big adventure that I wanted to do for my birthday was to go whitewater rafting. And I loved the idea of continuing that trend with another adventure, although I had not specifically thought about it needing to be water related as well.

So last weekend [livejournal.com profile] salvbard and I went waterfall rappelling with Northeast Mountaineering at Ripley Falls. Originally [livejournal.com profile] crazybone has planned to go with us, but unfortunately they had such an unexpected response to their promotion that they filled very quickly. The date we were able to grab was sadly in conflict with one of shows the radio plays he was in.

Despite the disappointment that he was unable to join us, it was an amazing day. It is a lovely trip in general, although there was some frustration in finding the bunkhouse. (Apparently most GPS and even Google maps get very confused about their location. In the future a better location to look for is Storyland as they are just a minute down the road.

This adventure is classed as beginner, which I think was reasonable. There is a moderate hike in to the falls from the parking lot, which I was grateful for to warm up muscles that were stiff from sitting in the car for so long. 

We had three guides with us and 6 rappellers. They say that generally they only go up to 8 at a time unless it is one group altogether, to avoid people having to stand around as much. (Rappeling was done one at a time with another line for assisting if necessary.) One of the guides was fairly new (the intern) but she explained things really well. And one of the two guys in particular seemed very experiences. Waiting at the top of the falls we talked a lot about travel and the places he has been/hiked/climbed. His next trip was for a mountain near the Nepal/Tibet boarder.

I have never rappelled before, although [livejournal.com profile] salvbard has. (He was correspondingly more graceful and had more control.) I was gratified though that I had decent endurance, and the hand and upper body strength I have acquired from pole dancing class was useful. There was one spot that was hard for everyone just because it was a slightly longer drop down than could be done in even a large step, but honestly once you got past that (it was near the beginning) it was very straightforward. I think even if you were not as active as I am though, you could absolutely do this as an experience. Level of strength and activity just makes it easier and with less soreness the next day(s).

Unfortunately my shoe-wear was not as good as I had hoped. I hadn't fully realized how bad my sandals (which are nominally waterproof) were once they got soaked. Specifically the Velcro on the back of the heel did not want to stay closed once it was really wet. So I was a little shaken after the first descent.

In the end though, I did do another run, which went a little more smoothly than the first. I think this was mostly due to a little bit of experience and knowing more what to expect, but they were done two slightly different ways. The first run was done with the assist line being done from the top, and the second (and third in [livejournal.com profile] salvbard 's case) was from the bottom. As they were just ready to assist if needed, this was more of a difference simply because the ropes were threaded differently, and so the assist line was a little more out of your way on the later climb.

All and all, this was a really cool experience, and I was glad to have done it. Doing so with the waterfall in particular made it a little crazy and exciting. I would do it with a waterfall again, but I am glad that this was not a particularly difficult rappel, as the waterfall added interest enough. It did get me more interested in regular rappelling (and conversely climbing although we didn't do any) than I think I would have been otherwise though.

Date: 2013-07-28 02:14 pm (UTC)
majes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] majes
Brave girl is brave; I'm glad you found this adventure!

Date: 2013-07-28 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deguspice.livejournal.com
It sounds like fun (a nice way to cool off on a hot day), but I"m not sure if celebrating your birthday by going on great adventures is a good way to survive to the next birthday.

If you enjoyed rappelling, there's a nice rock face behind the Chestnut Hill Mall (you can easily walk to the top, and then rappel down),. But you'll either need to get your own equipment, or find a group going there.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/North_America/United_States/Massachusetts/Greater_Boston/Hammond_Pond/

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