We did something really cool and adventerous when we were in the French Pyrinees in June. We did canyoning which we only have done once before. For those of you that don't know what canyoing is. It is an adventure sport where you climb and slide down down natural waterfalls. This is a great way and a fun way to get out and expirence the beauty of nature and mountain regions.
We had a truly fantastic expirence with Rodolphe Sturm and his team. We happend to be very lucky because it was just the two of us with Rodolphe his assistant and three photography students. All of these wonderful pictures we owe our thanks to the proffesional photographers.
We parked the cars outside of a small village surrounded by the immense beauty of the lush mountains. Rodolphe and his team supplied us with all equipment that we needed. We only need to bring our swimm wear. They supplied us with wetsuits, helmets, boots, ropes, harnesses. First we met up at their headquarters at the village of Niaux where we got instructions. Then we drove together to the parking spot.
Here we are on our way . Did the walk up to the waterfall region. A shorter walk of about 10-15 minutes. The guides know exactly where to go and which waterfalls are the most suitable for our level of exprience (beginners in this case). The wetsuit is worn as a backpack as it would be way to hot to wear it on.
My wetsuit is on and I am putting on my harness. The water was very very cold. The higher peaks of the Pyrinees were still coverd in snow and the water in these falls and rivers are made up of that snow melt. The first dip with the wet suit was icy cold.
I felt completly safe with Rodolphe. He told us all we needed to know about safeity. He taught us how to hold the rope correctly, how to secure ourselfs. He was so calm and relaxed. One of those expirenced old mountain goats that has done this stuff all his life.
The fun thing with canyoing is that you can do it at all levels. You can even do it as a family thing with kids age 8-9 and up. We had only done it once before so we were pratically beginners. Was I nervous? Yes, I definately had butterflies in my stomach.
Rodolphe showing us and teaching us how to tie the proper knots and how to carry and pack the rope. The rope is never allowed to tangle itself.
This is it, here we go! Depending on the hight of the waterfall you either slide och climb down it. You can climb facing down or by repelling with your back facing down.
Repelling myself down with my back facing the down.Holding on to the rope and pushing with your feet against the wall of the waterfall. This can be done at various speeds depening on your level of comfort and the hight of the waterfall. Most of the waterfalls we did were in the smaller range of 5 to 15 meters.
Sliding down a waterfall. You cross your arms over your chest to protect your arms and elbows.
After a while you start to get the hang of it all and can relax a bit more. It is a fun and thrilling expirence.
Rodolphe is always keeping an eye on me making sure that I handle the rope correctly.
The jumps, big sigh. This is my achilles heel. I am such a coward when it comes to the jumps.
Part of the canyoing expirence is jumping into some of the natural pools of water a long the way. They are deep enough so it is safe. I am afraid of heights, afraid of slipping. Most of all afraid of hesitating. That is the one thing you can't do. You got to make up your mind.
Rodolphe told me it is all in my head and he is so right. It is something about taking that leap out into the unknown air that scares the shit out of me. I only manged to do the lower jump whereas C did the 7 meter jump.
For more information about Canyoning with Rodolphe and his team click HERE.