We put on our wetsuits and began down the first little gorgy obstacle, but afterward, the stream proved to be nothing by storm damage, slippery rocks and no canyon for several hours..
However, just as the stream reached the steep slopes indicated on the topo map, the action started, with quick fire rappels that became more and more enclosed, beautiful and challenging.
Initially, anchors were pretty straight forward to rig, from all the trees and debris in the stream way. However, it soon became a bit more tricky. At one point we had to lasso a tree about 5 meters up and out of the gorge to be our anchor. At other points, we had to resort to belayed climbing round the unstable edges to reach solid tree anchors.
Just as the canyon became more more committing, Toine descended a drop and peered curiously over the next horizon line. He was obviously impressed with the next pitch, and when asked about the length, he made a ‘1’ sign… Followed by ‘O’ and ‘O’…
When Bernat and I joined him, we could see that indeed it was a rather large pitch. The problem was solved by Toine however, by descending on rope for 20m on the true right, through off vertical vegetation to a solid tree that was all but overhanging the water fall. Here, he was able to rig an anchor and confirm that our 60m cord actually reached.
This drop turned out to be Whiskey falls itself, and measured about 45m from the tree, so about 65m from the lip. Most of the absiel was completely freen hanging, with incredible views out to Lake Rotoiti and over to the falls themselves.
All re-united again at the bottom of Whiskey falls, we were well pleased with our 7 hours in the stream. The stroll back around the lake to the cars was straight forward, if a little endless after the long descent. Eventually, we arrived back at the car elated but exhausted 10 hrs after leaving.
This trip would be worth repeating, but should be accessed by the spur leading south from Bushline hut, rather than from the upper section of stream, (which is little but walking and the occaisonal waterfall). A water taxi would be well worth the $$ to make the trip a little shorter.
Check out the information about Whiskey Falls on KiwiCanyons.org