Monday, February 16, 2015

First Lagataw Canyoning Invitational

It begins!
And we made it!

This time, I brought along two trail runner friends (Angelo and Drahcir) and one non-outdoors guy (Yoshi) with me. Angelo doesn't know how to swim. And Yoshi lacked the dexterity and stamina for the outdoors. He even freaked out when some burs stuck onto his shirt. But I brought them along anyway. This is normally frowned upon by purists of responsible adventurism.

For me, one important attribute of a leader is your ability to instill trust among your team members. All I need from a team member is for him to trust me. When Angelo volunteered to join in spite of the knowledge that the journey would involve swimming and jumping off a waterfall, and the warning that a skilled canyoneering guide in Cebu lost his life last year with a life jacket on, I was confident that he trusted that I wouldn't let any harm happen to him.

Give me your trust and let me deal with the obstacles. I'm a very superstitious guy. I believe that a journey is likely not to be completed when there is doubt and other negative energies in the team. That's why I often travel alone.

I don't religiously observe safety standards. I push my limits. But I do know how to limit my push! I back off when the outdoors says so. In fact, I was very close to calling off the expedition because it rained all night the day before the trip. I never promise a destination or a goal to be achieved. But I always promise my team an opportunity to put in the best of ourselves. I tell them not to look for beauty. I let them see the beauty in everything that presents itself along the way. That way, no expedition becomes a failure!

I have to agree to what Yuji Hirayama said in his TEDx speech in 2009. It is good to rely on your physical attributes and capabilities rather than on good gear! And it is even better when you have a good partner. This, for me, is the essence of minimalism.

So, following the same principle, I didn't force myself to buy a new rope and a life jacket. I just made do with what the team already had. We IMPROVISED and we optimized our skills. And I got myself a team fit for the journey.

Before I let anyone jump off the waterfall, I had to 'rappel' down a slackline with an improvised life jacket to check the waterfall basin for undercurrent, rocks and safe depth
My Tingguian Tribe hammock strap was long enough to be looped into an improvised harness

My Tingguian Tribe hammock sack and my hydration pack make good buoys with the help of some inflated plastic bags
Drahcir unrigging the anchored slackline and Angelo preparing for his first waterfall jump
Last week my quest for the origin of the river was cut short by the impassable waterfall. This time, I reversed the journey travelling downstream from the spring where the river begins and we jumped off the previously impassable waterfall. We used the same exit that I used before and we ran uphill. After about 7 hours we were back where Drahcir and Angelo left their bicycles.

saying goodbye to the waterfall that cut my upstream jjourney last weekend

Drahcir and Angelo mesmerized by the spring waterfall where our downstream journey began

Angelo, whose battle cry after his first waterfall jump  was 'I love water!', now prefers the cascades to the trail
Next time, we're doing a full course canyoning expedition exiting at a waterfall resort about 10km downstream.

1 comment:

YOU deserve a holiday!
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