Canyoneering in Bear Swamp Creek

I just got home from my first canyoneering trip in my life. Thanks for Syracuse University Outing Club (SUOC) leaders who took me to this trip, here is the story. At first, we set off from SUOC Equipment room (E-room) at 10 am. There were seven people on this trip. Two leaders (Nate and Maggie) and five members (Nick, Megan, John, Sean and me). We went to Bear Swamp Creek in Cayuga County, New York. This creek goes to Skaneateles Lake. Here is the map of our canyoneering route.


View Canyoneering in Bear Swamp Creek in a larger map

Carpenter”s Falls

Our entry point for this trip is Carpenter”s Fall. It is an overhanging limestone caprock which water flows on the middle of it. Its height is approximately 28 meters.

Carpenter”s Fall Courtesy of Matt Champlin

The first person to go down this falls was Nick. Unfortunately when he was in the middle of his way down, there was a knot in the middle of the rope and he wouldn”t be able continue before he release the knot. Nick was having a problem in releasing the knot but he didn”t carry ascender since the leader didn”t expect that it would happen. Nate went down and gave Nick the ascender to go up so they fixed the rope. After they fixed it, everything went normal. We went down with this following order, Maggie – Nick – Megan – John – Me – Sean – Nate. Something that amazed me was we didn”t have to go up and untie our safety rope. After Nate went down, we only need to pull the rope and everything fell of so that we can take it to the next falls. I know that Nate arranged it so it could be done like that.

Second Falls

I don”t know the name of the falls but it was the second falls. After we descend from Carpenter”s falls, we walk following the river to the next falls. It was quite far from Carpenter”s falls and it wasn”t a vertical falls like Carpenter”s but, we have to rapel down with water. The slope”s angle of this falls maybe 60 degree. Nothing went wrong in this falls yet the rain start falling down pretty hard.

Third Falls

The third falls is not far from the second falls. Unlike second falls which isn”t a vertical falls, Third falls is a combination of vertical falls and 75 degree slope. Although it is not high, it has a difficult entry point. At its edge there is an emerged rock that so after that rock you will be hanging on the rope and it is difficult to do. It went wrong when it came to my turn to rapel down. I was turned upside down since I couldn”t lower my body while my foot was still stepping on the emerged rock but I done this things before and I even ever rapel down with my head first facing downward so I kept calm and corrected my position. I was unharmed and it was a good experience to be told.

Angle Falls

This is the last falls we need to rapel down on this trip. It was a vertical falls which height is approximately 20 metes. Everything seems pretty fine until Nate found out that there is a bee hive on the edge of the cliff that we use as our entry point. So Nate had to move the entry point. The rain was pretty hard and I started shaking even though I wore double three-milimeters wetsuit. The new entry point was pretty scary because It”s also like the previous entry in the third fall but you wont realize until you go down on meter from the edge. There was a emerged rock that like a knife that try to cut the safety rope and this time we didn”t use the rope cover because we didn”t know that there was this rock. Anyway everything is fine and no accident but, everyone were hugging each other to fight against cold. It was me, Nick, Sean, John and Megan. The leader was a badass so they didn”t feel cold.

After the last falls we just walk toward the Skaneateles lake by following the river. It was quite far but exciting because we can play with the steam and pretend that we were a log that carried away by the stream. We took a short break after we reach the lake. It was quite and no one there even though there are houses there, maybe because of the rain. We continued to go back to our first entry point which is Carpenter”s falls through the woods. It was an amazing experience and I can”t wait to go on the next trip with SUOC.

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