The rope was pulled taught, as I leaned back over the edge, becoming nearly horizontal, before beginning the descent. The air was warm, but the spray coming from the roaring waterfall beside me was enough to drop the temperature, had it not been for my pounding heart keeping the blood flowing. The force of the hydrology performing its graceful dance upon the shear rock face, created its own wind, bringing with it wafts of fresh glacier runoff. It was summer time in Alaska, and it was a brand new experience for this sourdough. Rappelling down a 100 ft. waterfall in the remote expanse of northern Lake Clark. Held there by metal and rope anchored to the rock above, and my hands, which gave and took to keep the lowering process smooth and comfortable, but still exciting.
This was the first day, of an overnight camping trip to the North end of Lake Clark, aptly named Little Lake Clark. It connects to the main Lake Clark by ways of a channel, which can be dangerous, but navigable by those that know the way. Our first stop was Cave Falls, which we made quick work of scaling and then descending. The view there was breathtaking, but bad rock formations kept us from attempting the rappel at that location. So we descended the trail with minds on fishing to come and other waterfalls to explore. Once back in the boat, lunch was broke, and water placed behind us, we arrived at a few fishing holes. Grayling, Lake Trout, and Dolly Varden graced not only our poles many times that night, but also our plates. However an oddity occurred upon that trip. Whilst skinning one of the aforementioned lake trout, inspection of the stomach revealed fat and claws, which combined became a porcupine foot. It was a strange sight to say the least. It must have been a good meal for the trout.
That night stories were told around the campfire, and rest for the weary was accomplished. We started the morning with French Press, healthy pancakes, and bear sausage. That got us going. Due to mixed priorities and scrambling skills, our group split, but we still managed to scale on of the very promising locations for the long awaited water fall rappel. It took quite the scouting process and adventure traverse to gain the top of the Water falling sight. But once we made it there, we jumped right into putting together gear and donning harnesses for safety and necessity. We used 6 cams and nuts to attach the main line to the wall, and wrapping a tree, so there was no possibility for failure. Safety first is a good saying any time.
So as the story began, I was the first to test things out, and I was very pleased to be out there, not just that, but being on rocks, out there, which is a whole new level of enjoyment when you involve the created with the creation. It went smoothly, and as soon as I touched the ground, I was scrambling to get back up on the rock, not only to continue the exhilaration, but also to reset the system for the following rappels. The two that were with me, Anna and Ryan were new to this as well, and although some experience was behind them, the magnitude of the event was daunting. They both caught on quick and I believe have a new perspective on the whole rappelling + waterfall adventures. No one got hurt and we made it down safely, so that always equals a grand success in my book. Chock that one up for future adventures. Who said Canyoneering is only possible in warmer locations.