I have a hard time saying no when somebody asks me for a favor. And this time it wasn’t any different when my friend Rebeka told me that she is really into becoming a canyoning guide and would like to learn as much about canyoning as possible. Stated between the lines, that meant, that she is asking me to teach her couple of things. Of course I wouldn’t say no, since I would also benefit having a girl for my photos. Let’s say it was a win-win combination and I decided to visit Dolomites again since I had such a great time last year. But this year I anticipated that I might feel cold as well and just in case, if my roommate wouldn’t want to warm me up – I took two sleeping bags. Lesson learned. 🙂
With minor delay (of one night) we were heading for Dolomites. Like last year we also started the expedition in Val Maor. What to say? The canyon is still as amazing as last year and I found couple of new perspectives for great photo compositions. I figured out that Val Maor is a perfect rookie canyon where people can learn how to walk, jump and slide. I wish would have something like it in Bovec, so I wouldn’t have to take the really non-sporty people to Sušec canyon.
Just minutes after we exited Val Maor the heavy thunderstorm stroke and the water level was at least triple. Nothing dangerous but I took it as a reminder of how fast things can go south in case of a serous storm.
After the canyon the plan was to move north west of Belluno and do Fogare inferiore. But the place was full of warnings that canyoning in Belluno park is forbidden so we didn’t wan’t to risk. If there is no written warning on spot you say: “OK, nobody is really controlling or giving a shit”, but here you take things more serious. So on the next day we went for a plan B – Val Zemola.
And this was my first time doing Val Zemola. I’ve read that it is quite aquatic canyon that has lot of beauty to offer. I was already amazed at the exposed approach hike, where quite big waterfall is forming an arch above the approach path and is falling into depths of a canyon. It is a bit scary and dangerous but the scene pays it out.
The canyon itself is really enclosed and quite aquatic. Until the last part there is no difficult rappel into the water or something. All the abseils are outside of the water and all pools are safe to swim in. In the end we discovered that the most tricky one is second-to-last waterfall because we took the anchorpoint that forces you to abseil in water. While looking at Rebeka I was saying to myself: “oh, she is really a rookie, why is she having such a hard time here”. But when I started I saw that the water and the rock is forcing you to abseil into crack full with water. Not a good thing since there is super turbulent pool in the bottom. Even I had quite a struggle to control the descend and do it safely. So the trainee turned out to be almost as good on rope as I did. So she is either born to do it or I am such good teacher :).
The last section of a canyon was just amazing. Stone arches and beautiful light. Unfortunately I didn’t do any decent photo since I was more worried of how will we cope with whitewater. And now I have another reason to come back and do the photos in the lower part! 🙂 But there is also so many more canyons waiting for me and the years just pass by… Will I be able to see all the interesting ones in my life? Probably not, will have to settle with the ones that I will be able to do. I guess it is like a relationship, you can never get everything you want, but you have to know where to set the border and be happy with what you got…
After the canyon we went to see the Vajont dam… Let’s say it was an unbelievable tragedy – how big the dam is and what it caused. I decided I will do special dedicated post for this dam. But you will have to be a bit patient… 🙂
On our last day we were slowly returning towards Slovenia, since I had guiding to do on the following day and we made arrangements with my friend Jakob, to do one or two canyons from Slovenian forbidden list. So on the way back I decided we will do Rio Nero, since I was there for the last (and first) time about 7 years ago when I was quite a rookie. I still remember how that last pool nearly took my life. So I decided I will face the fear and look straight into the eyes of the beast!
Well, I forgot how punishing the approach hike is. We walked for more than an hour to get to the entrance of the lower part of the canyon. I had enough of walking so I decided we will do just the lower part. Rebeka didn’t seemed to mind or even if she did, she wouldn’t have the voting right… And it has nothing to do with sex equality if there is some feminist reading this. 🙂 🙂 🙂
So about the canyon. I must say I was again surprised how much water does it have. It was really dry season all around the place, but Rio Nero still had lot of water to offer. And it was cold as it would be coming from the glacier. Dear Rio Nero, next time when you will be picking your path where you will flow, please pick some place where sun can get to you! 😉
Since I took the liberty to write some bad things about this canyon I will do another – anchorpoints are really not top notch, like we are used to it in Italian canyons. So don’t be surprised if you will be using single point anchor or some anchors connected with the rope. But everything works.
But I must say the canyon didn’t lost his charm. It is still beautiful AF and after visiting it you have this special “aftertaste” which says in the back of your minds that you have to do it again. You just forget about the approach hike and everything that bothers you – including that it is quite slippery.
Another thing I need to mention is that the last waterfall in which I was at the brink of my own extinction, can be elegantly bypassed by anchorpoint on the opposite side of the canyon. Now it seems even too easy to do the canyon… 🙂 I don’t know when did they install this anchorpoint, maybe after the accident that took life of Slovenian canyoneer couple of years ago at this exact waterfall. :,(
Three days just flew by. I’ve learned that I can teach people many things, but if I do it too fast than they will forget them fast. So it is the best to train the person slowly and that the knowledge gets embedded in the back of persons brain. And then he has to practice, practice and practice. And evolve! I hope we see the trainee evolving in future. It can add some aesthetic value to this blog as well since it is always nicer to see girls shape in the wetsuit then men’s :).
Be safe until next time and I wish you a great weekend!