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.