A little background first. Indian Canyoneers Association is the pioneer and the only group pursuing the
exceptionally technical sport of canyoneering in India, and have documented multiple unexplored
canyons. The images are from my most challenging canyon exploration ever. The mission, set in the
wilderness of the Eastern Ghats, was to document a new canyoneering route. After months of
preparation, team meetings, and research it was time to embark on the journey.
This was supposed to be a six-hour long expedition according to our initial estimates. We started at
dawn, and yet, after a grueling thirteen hours of hiking and non-stop bushwhacking, we were only
halfway there. Sunset inside a canyon is never a good news! After much deliberation, we decided to
spend the night in the canyon. We had dry food and space blankets, enough for us to survive the night.
The difficulty of the canyon was later rated as “4CV”, a lot more technical than initially predicted.
But our troubles were just beginning! Soon it was night, and after resting for a while I started feeling a
throbbing pain in my right metacarpal bone. The stuff of nightmares!
Being right-handed, the metacarpal bone acts as my brake while rappelling down a waterfall. If I can’t
use my thumb, falling off the cliff while rappelling was a real possibility, the alternative was to be stuck
here while the rest of the team tries to exit the canyon and get help.
I just had to trust adrenaline to deal with my pain! Next day morning the pain was much worse, and even though I couldn’t bend my thumb – I could still use my dorsal muscles to fold around the rope while rappelling.
Oh, did I mention I was the LAMAR? The last man at risk, meaning I don’t get a rescue if I mess up. Great!
The rest of the trip was uneventful.
I rappelled slowly, with lots of mid-rappel rests. We reached our destination next day evening, exhausted but satisfied for having documented a previously unexplored canyon.
As for my thumb, it had a fracture and was put in a cast for a month, putting me out of action for the