14 members of Adventure Club of AP rappel down from a 400-foot waterfall

What would it take for a 43-year-old woman to slide down the height of 400 feet braving the biting cold of a waterfall, with nothing but a rope secured to the mid-waist as support? I. Vijaya Lakshmi says it's the obstinate desire to walk the thin edge between life and death.

“The worst is death. What if we die attempting something that daunting? I'm through with my responsibilities in life, and now want to taste the excitement of it,” the member of the Adventure Club of Andhra Pradesh says.

Setting a record

Taste she did, when she rappelled down from atop of the Katika Waterfall in Ananthagiri mandal of Araku region in Visakhapatnam on January 24, and placed her claim with the Limca Book of Records, of being the “first woman to rappel down” from that height.

She shared this high of being alive with 13 other members, many among them now making claims to various records in Limca Book as well as Record Setter Book of World Records.

Sharing the details of the daredevil adventure at a press conference here on Monday, K.Ranga Rao, the team leader of Mission Katika 2012, said the feat was not a day's affair.

“We were the ones who brought to light the Katika waterfall in 1996, but its actual height was not known then. Our first attempt was in December, 2010, when we came face to face with the actual height. We joined two 200-feet and one 100-feet rope to cover the altitude,” recollected Mr. Rao.

R. Kiran Kumar, a team member, was the only one to rappel down in the first attempt. He repeated the same twice more and claimed a record for the same.

The second and successful team attempt was in October last, but without the knowledge of creating a record. “After realising the importance of what we had done, we approached the Limca Book of Records with a proposal of nine events in rappelling. With their approval, we set off for another attempt,” Mr. Rao related.

Blind-folded

Fourteen members rappelling down from 400-foot waterfall apart, the team has laid claims to other individual records too. If accepted, Kiran Kumar could also become the first person to Jumar up to the height, and L.Ganesh, the fastest to come down.

P. Sandesh Kumar, another member rappelled down blind-folded, while P.Yogesh Kumar and Roshni Singh respectively are being proposed as the youngest boy and girl to do it. Mr.Rao did the same feat in tandem with P.Yogesh Kumar which might find a place in the books too.

“We had acclimatised ourselves before the event as the water temperature was only about two to three degrees Celsius. Fastening the ropes to the three anchor points was a six-hour task. We followed all the safety measures including kneepads, elbow-pads and helmets,” said Mr.Rao.

The existing record in the Limca Book was only from 135 feet, he informed.