Malshej Waterfall Rapelling
1200 feet... any idea how big that is..?? The Eiffel tower stands at 1052 ft including the antenna. Closer to home, stack the Bombay Stock Exchange building (280 ft) 4 times one on top of another and we will still be a little short of 1200 ft... That is the height of the brilliant waterfall at Malshej that we rappelled down. What a majestic drop!
I went with Camp Fire India who organise such treks/rapelling and rockclimbing events regularly in and around Mumbai. We were totally 40 people including the 10 organisers. The ratio was 3:1 organiser and was a well planned trip. We left Mumbai on Friday, 23rd evening and took us a couple of hours to leave the city, traffic and the humdrum. Reached a village and slept in a school veranda till it was time for us to freshen up along with the rising sun and begin our trek to the start of the waterfall. Looking down into the valley, the base of the valley we were to descend into could hardly be seen. And it was difficult to get a perspective of the depth due to the almost monochromatic and majestic rocky valley. It felt like it was really really deep down... but we could appreciate the height when we were finally down the next day and looked up to see how far down we have come. It was pure awe.
There were five levels we had to rappel over two days to reach the valley at the bottom. The first day we rappelled down approximately 600 feet, over two sessions. The first was down 300 ft of a sheer rock face. Better part of it was a huge overhang, so most of the way down was kind of a free fall dangle. But boy does your hands hurt or what! A little rest and wait for the entire team to rappel down, and off we went down another 300 feet. It got better with each rappel downwards. We came down like spiders on their webs next to the roaring waterfall.
Then we camped for the evening on the secluded ledge which, from above, had
looked like maybe a little bigger than a large living room. This "little ledge" was actually a wee bigger than a football field, only not as level. Trekked around a little, got to know the other trekkers and then it was time to sleep. We got into our sleeping bags and thanked it heartfully, for it was very nippy and cold in the night. Slept under the stars. We dont realise how brilliant the sky can look with all those twinkling stars on a clear night. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them all silently glowing in the darkness... beautiful. The city skies take that luxury away from us.
The next day dawned on us probably just as beautiful as ever, but we were deep in the valley and the rock cliffs stood tall on the eastern side and we were deprived of the sights of the morning glory
We got set to descend the rest of the 3 levels with enthusiasm. We were all set with hard hats and harnesses after a quick breakfast of poha and tea prepared at the camp site. Before we left the site we ensured we cleaned up the place. Campfire practises Leave No Trace stringently and we were only happy to ensure the same.
The next three levels of rappel was much more enjoyable, less of free fall and over hangs and more of technique and work. Quick descents into little ledges, where the waterfall changes a wee track now and then... and had created little swimming pools. Ideal for resting between the descents.
The final descent was right into one of these pools.. no escaping getting completely soaked!. We could hear squeals and cheer as each participant desended into the cool waters. Thankfully we could save our backpacks from getting wet as the volunteers helped us out of it. Just when we thought, there were good chances of us not getting wet fully, the volunteers gleefully let the rope loose so we fell into the water with a splash! That is when ensued cheers and squeals from all the other kindred souls!!
Dried ourselves to whatever extent and started the trek of about 4-5 kms to the nearest village ... and that was a great trek... a fitting end to a fab rappel experience. we had to trek on the valley bed full of rocks and loose boulders... then just before the stream fell into another small torrent of a waterfall, we took the path right of it and traversed the hill face down another few hundred feet and crossed the river and entered comparately flat grassland. Then it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and following the clearly visible white arrows leading into the village.
The village was ll of 20 houses and happy children. Hot simple food awaited us and we quickly freshened up and sat down to eat!! Ahhh!! Was that good or what!!
Brilliant! Must do!!