Driving into the misty Blue Mountains, I was wondering if my abseiling experience would be cancelled. A light rain hit the car, and the famous Mountains were hidden behind a thick blanket of fog. My sister and I arrived at the local youth hostel, eager to start our adventure amongst the other nervous but excited faces. “Is the rain going to clear?” asked a young woman looking nervously out the window.
The Adventure instructor assured us that it would clear up by the time we went out. We filled out our forms and climbed into a slightly questionable mini bus (all adventures are a little scary right?) and travelled the short distance to our abseiling location.
Stepping into the very attractive harness, pulled tight above our hips, we were almost ready to begin. We strapped bright yellow helmets (fashionable and safe) onto our heads and our friendly instructors checked us over. Once we were assured of our safety, the young female instructor popped her head over the nearby cliff.
Looking up 5 meters, we saw her abseil her way down the wall, instructing us on where to put our feet, how to position our bodies and how best to belay the rope. Soon it was our turn. I nervously pushed my sister in front of me in the line. She could go first. There’s something very unnatural about standing on the edge of a rock face and leaning backwards out over the cliff. Survival instincts step in and tell you to lunge forward onto solid ground, away from the cliff face.
But the instructors are amazing, letting us know that there’s no way we can fall, we are safe and need to trust ourselves. Stepping back over the cliff our abseil begins. A few choice words exit my mouth as I trust a two inch thick rope with my life. After a few wobbly steps I get the hang of it. I’m bouncing my way down the cliff, and too soon my feet are back on the ground. Practicing a few times, we are ready for the next step up.
Walking through the beautiful Blue Mountains bushland (although I couldn’t see very far as the rain and fog still hadn’t lifted), we went to our next abseiling point. We are told to stand back away from the edge which makes a few people in our group a littler nervous. Using the same technique as before, I stand backwards and step over the cliff. This time, half way down the cliff cuts back under and I can no longer push against the rock. I hang, slightly nervously before I begin belaying myself down again.
Its incredible! The beautiful colours of the rock contrast against the bright green of the unusual rainforest ferns that fade into the familiar eucalypts of the region. 15m down means you need to go 15m back up, so after watching my sister land, we begin the pretty little bush walk back to the top.
Once we have become experts of the 15m cliff, we begin the walk to the 30m abseiling point. The fog is still thick and licks against the cliff face. When we step out onto the edge, the blanket of fog act lick clouds beneath us. I can’t see the ground. Not sure if this is better or worse. Not knowing what’s beneath me, my only option is to start my decent. Its breathtaking, emerging through the mist, through the treetops and back down to earth. The view was spectacular and would be even more amazing on a clearer day. The climb back up has us on our hands and knees, pulling ourselves up the boulders. Adrenaline was running fast through my veins as I wanted to get back up as fast as possible just so I could abseil back down again!
Finally, it was time to split with the canyoning team that had come with us, as we went back to the base and they continued on their adventure. We were dropped back in town, very wet from the rain and with smiles on our faces that would take a long time to fade.
Do you want to give this abseiling experience a try?