Hiking from Kathmandu to Sundarijal
Kathmandu – Kathmandu
5th Jul 2009
Ravi Sharma, Bishwa Shrestha, Geetika Joshi, Pratiksha Regmi, Rina Maharjan, Sweta Shakya, Sangharsha Bhattarai, Dinesh Bajracharya, Pawan Pandey, Raunak Tuladhar, Suresh Maharjan, Ashish Parajuli, Dhilung Kirat, Manoj Rokka, Bhanu Chalise, Rachit Nepal, Keshav Basnet, Manish Shrestha, Kapil Pandey
The Canyoning Instructor
By Bishwa Shrestha
"It's like kite-flying;
pull the rope from behind
and feed it to the kite
with the other hand."
So, what do you say?
Will you climb down the fall from here?
Tie this belt on your waist,
Knot this rope around the 8
and you're safe!
Losen your grip,
let the fear go,
avoid the slippery rocks,
and slowly slide down.
It’s like kite-flying;
pull the rope from behind
and feed it to the kite
with the other hand.
If your lose your step,
The knot will tighten, and
you'll just dangle there.
Look around, look down,
again - feel safe,
but watch your every step.
The current is strong
for the water is enraged.
It pounds you with its fuming fists
and enthralls you with the deafening hiss
It has been beating up the arrogant rocks
breaking them - bit by bit,
and shaping them up.
Like time shapes us.
Once you reach the bottom of the fall,
try to recall -
what was going on your mind.
Don't be surprised,
if you realize
that it all ended too soon!
The Beautiful water
By Dhilung Kirat
“ Imagine how it would feel to cuddle up with her all day long.”
The name says it all ‘Sundarijal’ - ‘the beautiful water’. Monsoon had made her a little more gorgeous. Not everything looks nice when it falls. But she was falling all over and believe me, she looked even prettier when she fell. It was already breathtaking to see her dancing in grace from a distance. Imagine how it would feel to cuddle up with her all day long.
That would be one version of the story the Canyoning guys would like to tell to some foreign clients. The fun had already begun when I saw those exciting photographs of previous expeditions at their office. Just a quick thought of dangling high, along the fall against those strong current gave me a chill through my spine. Next thing I remember is I was struggling with the grueling waterfall somewhere at Sundarijal
The best part of the episode was the last part at the fall ‘Sweet Sixteen’. Hanging and sliding down along the fall from about 35 meters up (that’s more than 100 feet high !) was hell exciting. Enjoyed hiding behind the fall, the waterfall massage and swimming in super-man mode. Another fall, ‘the Devil’s fall’ is still an unfinished business. Catch you soon!
Hats off to Kishor Shahi (owner of Chhango - The Canyoning Company ) for exploring this potential of wonderful adventure just half an hour drive away from Kathmandu. His stories of how he had to fight for 7 years with national park commission to get the permission, how he got caught several times by the army during explorations (Nepal was burning that time) and how he managed to struggle for more than 15 years from a mere porter to a Canyoning company owner were other inspiring chapters to perceive.
“Because it’s our land, our mountains, our rivers and our falls, so if we play with them - it’s our sports.”
All the best to his program ‘Next Gen’ which aims to make Nepalese young generation embrace ‘adventure sports’ not just as a recreation thing but as a passion of a kind. Because it’s our land, our mountains, our rivers and our falls, so if we play with them - it’s our sports.
Adventure @ Sundarijal
By Sangharsha Bhattarai
Geared up for the adventure, I started my journey with a dilemma and reluctance in my head to walk up to the stream of Sundarijal, at this rainy season, streamy – muddy – and filled with leeches …aaghh.. I think I have a jukafobia.
But the sense of all-new-in-nepal adventure and the vision of lush-green vegetation, the waterfall and the streams --- I felt like I was dragged towards Sundarijal. When you look at the asaare jharana from a distance, have you ever thought of scrolling down the water clinging on a rope & facing the water on your chest? I guess you didn’t. Neither did I… and that’s what we did there… walk through the stream… fall through the grudge… creep through the cave… fill yourself with cold water – inside out – yes – inside out… hang through the fall… and walk out alive, refreshed, proud and relieved.
“.. fall through the grudge… creep through the cave… fill yourself with cold water – inside out … hang through the fall… and walk out alive, refreshed, proud and relieved.”
Oh my, it was amazing.
Thanks to the coordinator & friends who suggested this, thanks to the guys who started and are running this sporty game in Sundarijal, and before summing up, I’d like to say – “You should try this too – NRs. 1500 for an easily accessible, raw adventure – you surely should.”
meditation beside the milky water,
the flow froze,
the time paused,
I lay awake – dreaming!
By Sweta Shakya
It was my first hiking @ D2 and I had a lifetime experience! Never in my life have I thought I would someday climb-down, water jump and scramble over huge rocks and sandstone cliffs with massive waterfalls.
Sundarijal was our hiking destination, which was in many ways a shorter and easier version for such a challenging wet adventure. Canyoning were graded 1, 2, 3 and 4 depending upon their difficulty. We had no previous abseiling and cannoning experience so we chose grade 2 having 3 abseils. We were provided wetsuits, helmets and canyoning gears by the qualified guides. The wetsuits were bit funny, they were huge in size, didn’t fit and looked strange, and some even called it superman dress. But we had to wear them anyway, because there were no other choices!
“…shortest of all but had its unique majestic waterfalls cascading down, it was tricky for us to escape the heavy water flow and left us breathless.”
After a small demo with climbing hardware and static ropes, we were now ready to unravel the hidden paradise and this is where the fun really begins.
As we make our way downstream towards first waterfall, the spectacular rushing waterfall poured over us making us laugh with delight and imparted a feeling of peace and tranquility. We stopped for a quick dip in water in amazing wonderland just below the waterfalls. The water flow had such an enormous force that it easily hit us.
Now it was time to accomplish 15 meter Smokey waterfall. Shortest of all but had its unique majestic waterfalls cascading down, it was tricky for us to escape the heavy water flow and left us breathless. The huge rocks were so smooth that we could easily slip. However, there were hidden ledges over a massive waterfall that saved us from diving fully into the water.
Then we headed downstream towards the next series of abseil. It was 35 meter Sweet Sixteen. It was dangerous, toughest of all. The top view of a huge sandstone cliff, waterfalls and forest were amazing and at the same time made our heart racing. It was followed immediately by a swim across a deep pool about 8-10 feet of water. I was scared and the situation worsened when I saw other hikers struggling out of the pool. It was my turn now but I wasn’t ready to jump off the cliff, I let the other hikers go ahead of me one after another. Finally my turn came; I was terrified but no choice of returning back. It was at a ‘do or die’ situation. I gathered my courage, took a deep breath and started. With an extreme care and 35 meters of flight and fright I reached at the bottom. Phew! It was a chilling experience.
The fascinating bushwalk to the start of exciting abseil, the total of approx. 75 meters of gliding down through the rope from the beginning to the end, the rushing waterfalls beside and the terrific natural scenery make this hiking one of the most memorable moments of my life.
D2 Sundarijal Hiking and Canyoning (Feel the fear)
By Raunak Tuladhar
It was 5:30 when I woke up. I was really excited for the Canyoning and it was my first participation from my office and the best part was it was not a usual hiking. It was actually an adventurous trip of Canyoning for all of us. So I packed up all necessary things and rode my sweet bike ride to office to catch another ride to Sundarijal. At 7:30 all the people were gathered and we started the drive from Bishalnagar to Sundarijal which is 15 Km North-West of the Kathmandu Valley on the lap of Shivapuri National Park. Other members were picked up en-route. We were altogether 19 members. The drive was fun - the loud music of guitar solos, Hindi songs, gossip and laughter, beautiful scenery of mountains, greenery and rich natural and cultural conditions of Sundarijal village, clicking pictures with smiles on every face. Walking up through the stairs of Sundarijal we reached to the Vimal house which was the base station for canyoning. After a light breakfast, our trainer Kishore who would be assisting in Canyoning asked us to divide the group into 2, with 10 members on 1st group and 9 members on 2nd group. Our canyoning experience was going to be composed of three levels: 25m, 15m and 35m streams including the first one to try with. The trainer gave us the wet suit and helmet which were our safety gadgets. Everybody was really feeling weird and awkward putting one the wet suit. Then finally the guys put on their wet suit and all people were laughing at the dress because we were looking like a SUPERMAN… and the journey began.
“the real adventure was waiting for us which was a 35m waterfall known as Sweet Sixteen”
The group was excited & thrilled for the new sportive adventure. Appreciating the right natural and ideal weather condition, we hiked for 30mins up to the Canyoning spot. We reached the 35m waterfall base which was the landing waterfall among the three. Group 1 started moving up the hill to start the canyoning while the other stayed at the waterfall base where they would do swimming, fishing, camp-fire and of course guard the bags. After reaching the Canyoning spot, we went through a briefing by Kishore on the site, canyoning techniques, and safety precautions.
The adventure involves traveling down the streams within a canyon by a variety of means including hiking, scrambling, wading, boulder hopping, rock climbing, abseiling and rappelling. He also taught some technical skills of stream navigation, rope and Canyoning gears work and preparedness for risk minimization. Our safety depends on self judgment, experience and a realistic assessment of abilities and understanding of current canyon conditions. After training all were ready for the real thrill. Starting from our program coordinator Keshav dai, we started doing our trial Canyon. Getting the rope tight on figure 8 knot which is our life guard and locking the static rope by Carabineers lock which is another life saving item, everybody travel down the creek through the rope. After finishing the trial, the real game began when we move to the spot of 25m waterfall. Following the instructions, everybody moved down the waterfall putting aside the fear bubbling inside. The exciting part was the water hitting the body and face while moving down the waterfall and we managed to travel down the 25m waterfall. Completing the first milestone of our Canyoning activity we moved to another 15m Canyoning known as Smokey waterfall. Though it was less than 25m, it was little bit tricky than that of first one. The idea was actually to put the feet side by side of creeks to escape from the forceful waterfall but most of the guys move straightly downward which led them to sink inside the waterfall for few seconds. Now after the second part, the real adventure was waiting for us which was a 35m waterfall known as Sweet Sixteen. Looking at the height and the difficulty, everybody was electrified and thrilled by the real devil and forgot about the 45m Canyoning spirit. With the hair-raising and scary face, everybody moved down the freaky devil waterfall. The idea was first to move down normally and at the middle we have to swim in pond for a while and then slide straightly down the base like a water flowing down the rocks. Everybody at the base was watching the adventure. At first, it was a terrifying scene but it was a do-or-die condition for all of us. So, everybody made up their mind. All is well that ends well & everybody managed to complete the devil experiment doing swimming and sliding down the waterfall. After Group-1 reached the base, the second group was eagerly and desperately waiting for their turn. Group-2 went for their thrilling experience of Canyoning and Group 1 had a campfire for an hour in the base. Warming and heating up the body by fire, we moved down Vimal place again where team had decided to meet for dinner. With combination of little Chyang, Everybody reached to their ultimate peace of relaxation. Some people were acting like a snail due to exhaust and pain and some people starting laughing like a freaky monster due to excitement and hangover. After tummies were full like a balloon, then we set out to Kathmandu at 7:00 pm.
“I didn't knew canyoning could be as attractive as trekking, mountaineering and rafting …”
I didn't knew canyoning could be as attractive as trekking, mountaineering and rafting and I also realized that our country Nepal has abundance of right natural endowments for such adventurous tourism sports. This unique sportive activity can be said as one of the major components consisting of hiking, scrambling, wading, boulder hopping, rock climbing, abseiling and rappelling. So I believe Nepal can become the leading destination country for CANYONING in the region if it is developed and promoted in an organized way and Sundarijal could be one of the potential sites for Canyoning. Also the girls showed their courage to do such great adventure sport which proves that no one is superior to anyone, we all are the same. HATS OFF TO YA ALL...PEACE OUT (Y)