Big Falls in the San Bernardinos
A new canyoneering adventure from mid September 2009:
This Sunday I went out to check out Big Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains. This is a beautiful Hike which ends in two spectacular rappels in large waterfalls near the Vivian Creek trail up Mt San Gorgonio. The hike up to the Big Falls Drainage is fairly standard stuff, but when you drop into Big Falls Creek from Dobbs Camp you enter a beautiful series of waterfalls and cascades with a year round stream. Near the drop in point we found thousands of ladybugs clumped together in the undergrowth around a tree and in the tree itself. The hike down the stream was about an hour and a half with beautiful views every foot of the way, then it abruptly ends in a 140 foot drop which is the first rappel. There was no anchor set here so we set webbing up high in a tree ont he right side and rappelled down. It was a little nerve wracking to start off with because we didn’t know what was over the lip and it was fairly slippery, but when we rounded the top edge the bulk of the rappel was very easy and dry, staying to the right of the water course. Then there was a large ledge about 40 feet wide and 40 feet deep where we set up the anchor for the last 100 foot rappel. There was a mess of old webbing around some large boulders here which I cleaned out and set up a new anchor, then down we went for the last rappel. This rappel was the spectacular one. More vertical then the first one, if slightly shorter, it was impossible to stay dry on this one, and the water was really COLD!! Again we stayed to the right of the main flow. After coming over the edge you find a dihedral which allows you to keep out of the waterfall but there is enough spray here to completely soak you in about a second. The rappel down the dihedral is straightforward, but I didn’t stop to take any pictures since I was busy freezing. A few quick moments down the wall, along with applause from the many onlookers and it was all over.
The hike is longer then most people are used to for the reward of only two rappels and fairly strenuous, but the watercourse was beautiful and the rappels spectacular and it is definitely worthwhile.
Anyhow, here are the pictures: