Sunday, April 06 – 2008
10:00 – 15:00
Roads: Dry / Clear
Area: Niagara Gorge
Vehicle: GMC Suburban
Weather: Bright & Sunny
Trail Conditions: Some mud and snow
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Brian, Chuck
Plan: Climb to the upper waterfall
GPS: 43.1591, -79.0473
This will be our third visit to the waterfall in an obscure section of the Niagara gorge, far away from the tourist traveled sections. We were very close to one of the old power plants and almost underneath one of the big bridges spanning the gorge between the Canadian and United States Border. This time, however we are fully prepared for the hike. We brought with us climbing rope, beeners, ascending tools, line brakes, and a plethora of other climbing gear to properly get to the base of the upper waterfall at this location.
10:00 We arrived at the far eastern end of York Road in Queenston, Ontario and parked the truck in the same spot we did the last couple of times. I suited up with my keen shoes, gaiters, blue jumpsuit with thermal underwear bottoms and a summer hiking shirt, ESS v12 goggles, and adventure hat.
10:20 We hit the trails. Tori forgot her nylon shell pants so she decided to stay in the truck.
10:40 We arrived at the base of the two-tier waterfall. As we’ve been here several times now, it seems that the hike here gets shorter and shorter every time. Brian put on his climbing harness and we started our ascent up the steep, muddy, slippery slopes past the lower waterfall and onward to the upper waterfall.
11:00 After quite a climb – we arrived at some sturdy trees we could perch ourselves on. I got some nylon strapping and tied it off to a tree and to Brians harness, then put on his harness and tied himself off to another tree to work safely at the steep angles of the gorge. Wolf and Brian then set-up the main rope and Brian tied off-to it.
11:20 Brian slowly made his way across a steep, muddy, treeless part of the canyon where we had been unable to cross safely on previous visits. Wolf kept a safety-belay line on Brian as this was the first time doing any rope work in a few years.
11:45 Wolf went on the ropes and skipped across the treeless steep section and made his way over to Brian. With the belay line tied-off to a tree, Wolf and Brian made their way over to the base of the waterfall.
12:00 Staring up at the waterfall, Wolf realised he had left the GPS unit and Camera on the other section they just used all the ropes to navigate over.
12:10 Wolf navigated his way using rope and harness back to the other side and collected both GPS unit and Camera.
12:20 Arriving the 2nd time at the base of the upper waterfall, Wolf had to remove his Keen shoes as they were full of water. Surprisingly the water was very warm at this time of year, considering there was still some snow patches in the area. Brian & Wolf took some photographs.
12:38 Wolf and Brian rappelled down to the edge of the first waterfall, and approached a dried up section. Brian rappelled over the edge with the last words of “What do I constantly let you make me do!”
12:40 Arriving safely on the ground, went off belay, and cleared the area.
12:45 Wolf worked his way back up to the mount point of the rope, tied himself off, disconnected the ropes and checked to ensure there was no one at the base of the waterfall, then let go of the rope and it sent itself down with a quick zip. Wolf could hear the “ka-thump!” when the rope hit the ground at the base of the 2nd waterfall.
13:00 Wolf packed up the gear and made his way back down to the base of the lower falls. Brian and Chuck were collecting the ropes from the day, and Tori was sleeping.
13:30 Tori woke up and got quite upset because we did not wake her up when we were gathering all our equipment and got quite angry and upset and headed back to the truck.
14:30 Packing up, we sat around and discussed how much fun we all had today, and had hoped Chuck could get some rope training and join us for a similar adventure in the near future. The ropes and harnesses were very muddy from the trip.
14:55 We arrived back at the truck where Tori was sleeping in the front seat, and began to strip off our muddy gear.
15:00 Head for home feeling quite accomplished that we finally made the upper falls on this hike.