Nagalapuram Canyoneering – West Loop Canyon – 4CIV – First Descent

Nagalapuram hill rage is located in Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India. This hill range is a part of the Eastern Ghats of India. There are many streams and waterfalls in this hill range. Most of them were first explored by Chennai Trekking Club under the able leadership of Peter Van Geit.  Amar Shekhar of Tekkerpedia.com and Gokul Ramachandran of Indian Canyoneer’s Association (ICA) have together documented the main four streams and their waterfalls around the Nagalapuram hills. They can be found in this website.

ySome of those waterfall treks in the Nagalapuram hills are popular among outdoor lovers from Chennai due its proximity to Chennai (only 70 kms from Chennai). Outdoor lovers often trek and camp around this place and few of them have even rappelled around here. But, it was only the explorers of ICA who’ve ever done a true canyoneering trip here. Read on to know more about their canyon exploration (aka first descent trip)
On April 20 & 21, a team of 4 did a first descent of a canyon in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It will be rated as 4CIV. It is an advanced technical canyon because of a re-belay that is required to reach the anchor on top of the 4th rappel. This is the tallest rappel in the entire canyon (130 ft) and the anchor is on a small bird perch that can only be reached after a small exposed traverse. In high water conditions, this should not be attempted; Instead, find another anchor and rappel line. The approach was from another village SB Puram slightly NW of the usual starting point, Arai. The total distance was 13 kms with an elevation gain of 2000 ft. Even though, this canyon is frequented by hikers from bottom up until the 6th rappel, very few venture up till the bottom of the 4th rappel. And pretty much nobody goes to the top of this 4th rappel (aka Sidheswara Kona waterfalls). Even though, this can be completed in a long day (14 hours), we had to spend a night inside the canyon because of long stretches of bushwhacking. This is definitely NOT a beginner canyon.

Discovered Golora Caves – Bangalore

On November 26th, we discovered 2 nice caves near Bangalore. Raj named it as Golora caves. It is actually 2 separate caves very close to each other. one was filled with lots of healthy bats. We did not wanted to disturb the bats; so we didn’t go into that one. We explored the other one. After some stemming, belly crawling etc.

we reached a nice chamber where we can stand up. We found some blood marks on the rock surface. We suspect that some jungle cat would’ve brought its catch to this hall and would’ve savored it here.

NB:- If you are interested in discovering and explorations with us, you must come for our training or monthly meetings.

Canyoneering Sandhan Valley – 3AIII

Sandhan Valley is a short canyon in Maharashtra. It is roughly 180 km away from Mumbai. The is a very nice canyon that stretches exactly 1 km with amazing canyon walls that are 100 – 200 ft tall on either side. There are at least 3 mandatory rappels in the canyons. 40 ft, 15 ft, and 15ft.

It is a 3AIII during October till May. The first rappel has an option of either a 40 ft rappel in the water course (very minimal water) or a 50 ft dry rappel from RDC (Right Down Canyon). Folks do this canyon either of the 2 options.

  1. As a loop trail starting from the Samrad village, climbing back up via Karoli Ghat and reaching back to Samrad. Total 6.6 km round trip with 1500 ft elevation loss through the canyon and then gaining the same during the exit. ( http://www.shrikantescapades.com/2011/05/sandhan-valley-to-karoli-ghat-trek.html )
  2. As Point-to-Point. Start at Samrad and end a village named Dehene all the way downstream. 8.5 km and an elevation loss of 1800 ft.

We were a group of 3. Me, Purohit Pinak, and our local guide from the village near to SV (named as Samrad). Usually, folks do this canyon over 2 days but, that is mainly because the group is really big and are first-time rappellers. We did it in one day (6-8 hrs) to complete this as a loop.

During the season, this is a very well traveled canyon. During the weekends there will be some 30 – 100 people going through this canyon. The irony is that most of them will be first-time rappellers. The guides give them a top rope belay and “lower” the “tourists” and those “tourists” end up believing that they’ve mastered the art of rappelling.

 

Knotty Canyon – Canyoneering First Descent – Canyoning

It has been exactly 1 year since I said adios to the USA. Looking back I am happy to have met with some really brave folks (both guys and gals) who now trust me enough to come with me to these kinds of crazy places. I’ve started teaching rappelling in June 2016 under the banner of Bangalore Adventure School and within 6 months, I am really glad to have taught 65+ students the new sport of rappelling and canyoneering.

Out of that, at least 10 had come with me to some first attempts (discovery); canyons, caves etc. · Not everyone gets an invitation to come with us for explorations. Only those who completed Level 1, 2 etc. and those who demonstrate interest, skills etc. get invited for explorations. Did another first descent of a canyon in Wayanad, Kerala, India.

  • Team: Gokul, Pravin Kumar and Salam.
  • Support Team: A guide from the forest department and a tribal named Chandran .

And as usual thanks to Jayan Wayanad for making this possible by procuring the required permissions and logistics. On 9th December 2016, we successfully completed the first descent of a new canyon. The main attraction of the canyon was the slot section that had 3 waterfalls in series.

There were no boulders or trees in these sections but, luckily there were small cracks on the second and third rappel. We used those cracks for setting up “KNOT CHOCK” anchors. Hence the name “Knotty Canyon”. The trail started from Harrison’s Tea estate in Wayanad. After 1 mile from the trailhead, we reached the tribal chieftain’s hut. We went through his backyard, after another .7 miles, we got the first glimpse of the waterfall at a distance.

From this point, another 1 km through deep forest to reach the top of the cascade of waterfalls When we reached the top section of the canyon, to our surprise, we met this Adivasi (tribal) family. They live there in a cave under a huge rock. We had some chit chat with them, gave them some snacks that we carried. When we started we were not sure about the way out once we reach down the canyon. So, we were prepared to turn back anytime. But, Chandran told us there is another way around the mountain that will take us to the bottom of the canyon. Now, we were excited.

We asked Chandran and our forest guide to head to the bottom of the canyon and wait for us there and we shall meet again after 3 hours. Thus we started descending the canyon. The slot section was mind blowing.

First Descent of a waterfall in Wayanad, Kerala, India

On May 18th, 2016, we did the first descent of a secret waterfall in the Wayanad district in Kerala, South India. I believe this is the first ever technical first-descent in any of the canyons in India outside of the Himalayas. I say so because there is a chance that some westerner might’ve descended some canyon in the Himalayan region.

In April 2016, through my friend Sidharth Rajendran, I got introduced to few resort owners in Wayanad and one of them were Jayan Nambiar (Jayan Chettan). Jayan chettan introduced me to few brave local folks who knew about a waterfall which is not so popular. They were Mohammed Ali (mammali-kka) and Arun Babu. We scouted the waterfalls from the top and gave a thumbs up for a technical descent of that waterfalls.

I conveyed to them that I will return on May 17 and I will give them some technical training and we will descend the falls on 18th. As per the plan, I went back to Wayanad with ropes, harnesses, and helmets. Due to some other emergencies, they were not able to join on the 17th for a training but, still, we decided to descend on the 18th. I am glad to announce that we successfully descended this series of waterfalls. We did this in 3 stages. The first falls

The first falls were 40 ft tall. The second one was some 100ft tall and the last one was 210 ft tall. Since others didn’t have any training, they down climbed the entire series of falls with me giving a top rope belay. I used a figure-8 to lower them down which was backed up by a VT-prusik attached to my harness. My crew consisted of 5 brave locals who grew up in that vicinity seeing this waterfalls from the top and also from the bottom. The crew included

The crew included Me, Mammali-kka, Arun Babu, Redheesh, and Arun’s 2 brothers (Aneesh and Arjun). They were sure nobody has ever descended through the falls and nobody had seen the perspectives we got to see. From the bottom of the falls, there is a use trail which is kind of steep.

We used that trail to come back up. We started the descend at 11 AM and were back by 6 PM. If everyone had enough training for rappelling we could’ve finished this within 4 hours. Jayan Chettan is working with local forest authorities to get permission so that we can open up the waterfalls to the general public for canyoneering.

Tiger Pit Caves – Wayanad – Caving

A caving (cave exploration) project in Wayanad in collaboration with DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council, Wayanad, Kerala). A few weeks ago, through Jayan Wayanad, we came in contact with Hariharan Sir (Program Manager at DTPC, Wayanad). He had mentioned about a recently discovered cave in Wayanad.

They would like to explore it and study the feasibility of promoting that as an Adventure Tourism Project. They wanted an expert caving group to lead their set of explorers. Hence, they had requested Bangalore Adventure School to provide the equipment and the required leadership. Thus we agreed upon to reach Wayanad for the weekend of Jan 14-15 and to do the exploration.

Hariharan Sir from DTPC, Muneer Sir from Treasury department, Luckose Francis, Thomachan and few others who also live in that vicinity joined us for the exploration. Luckose and Thomachan had been to this cave previously and surprised us by their knowledge of this cave. The cave starts by 100 feet downclimb followed by another 100 feet rappel over a slanted rock slab.

At the bottom of the rappel, there was like 1-foot deep water and a sandy floor under water. From here on we need to traverse about 350 ft to the right. This traverse is in the tight squeeze between two rock surfaces. This gap was at an angle of 60 degrees.

So, we had to lay our back on the lower rock face and slowly crawl to your right side. At the end of this traverse, the path was blocked by sand and debris after the rains this year. So, Luckose and few others dug to remove that dirt and make the way again. From here on, we had to stem and climb about 30 feet to reach a boulder stacking. And through this boulder stacking, we found our way out.

This pit is locally known as “Kaduva Kuzhi” which translates to “Tiger Pit”. The tribal family living near to the pit told us that they moved into that area 45 years ago and at that time, there used to be a “Puli and her cubs” living in that pit. (Puli means either a Tiger or a Panther). Thanks to Hariharan Sir for making this happen. Thanks to Luckose and Thomachan to leading us through the cave. Thanks to Jayan Wayanad for making this happen. Thanks to Pragya Singh and Lokesh Kumar of Bangalore Adventure School for joining us for this exploration.

About Us

Bangalore Adventure School (BASCOOL) in a Nutshell

  • Enable people to go explore the outdoors by themselves, so they can pass on these skills to their communities and thus create a world of nature lovers
  • Generate interest in the community about the outdoors through various events and exploratory trips.
  • Make gear, training, skills and everything in between accessible to people so that they can become skilled outdoor enthusiasts.

Sounds interesting? We already like you, come, be a part of our family! We are waiting…

Bangalore Adventure School is all about enabling you to be the next generation of explorers. Have there been times when you have looked at Nat Geo magazines and wondered if you could rappel down those gorgeous waterfalls, or walk through those lush green forests only to experience what its like to be in the wild and soak in all that nature has to offer?

If that’s you, then we want you! We love who you are and would like to make your outdoor dreams come true. We are admirers of Bear Grylls’s and so you know anything we ever do will always have an element of adventure. Our school features survival training in the outdoors, adventure sports/courses and gear for you.

That’s not all, you also get to meet like minded people and its all a big family that is out in the pursuit of acquiring a new skill and enjoying the outdoors. Whether or not you’re a fan of everything outdoors, you gotta love the adrenaline rush, each time you are faced with the uncertainty of what lies on the other side of our mundane lives. So it’s definitely worth your time to check it out. We aim to take you from being just a reader to an actual adventurer.

Our goal now is to make bangaloreadventureschool.com into an inspiring and useful resource for lovers of travel and outdoors adventures. To that end, we will publish stories/reports of our trips and events meant to express the exhilaration we get from experiencing this beautiful world in all its splendor – both contrived and natural.

We will also have tutorials meant to help people safely learn how to expand their own abilities and explore our world through adventure activities.