Philip kayaking in New Hampshire
I was reading the Japanese version of the Montbell site last night and came across an interesting sport I’d never heard of that has a following in Japan, called Sawanobori, or Shower Climbing. It combines all of the gear and techniques that I own for whitewater (above) with backpacking and rock climbing.
Shower climbers climb small waterfalls in creeks and streams. Like any adventure sport, shower climbing can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
- You can drown if you are not wearing a life preserver and don’t understand whitewater flow dynamics
- You can become hypothermic if you are not wearing a wet suit and get chilled.
- You can break your head if you are not wearing a climbing helmet.
- You can fall if you are not using proper climbing protection.
- You should go with at least one person whitewater rescue and wilderness first aid training.
Despite the dangers, I can see the attraction of the sport – plus, it means that I could wear all of my gear at once! I’ve never tried that. This would include, at a minimum: a life preserver, a kayak or climbing helmet, a wet suit, proper river booties with heel, and potentially a climbing harness, carbiner, ATC, and top rope. In addition, it probably makes sense to bring a small backpack with warmers, a thermos of tea, sweet foods, and a change of clothes, all wrapped in waterproof stuff sacks.
From the few english descriptions that I’ve read about this sport it seems that summer is the time to do it, and even then, those mountain streams can be very cold. I can already think a few spots in Vermont and New Hampshire to give this a try.
Have any of you tried shower climbing before?