Waldo Etherington recently faced one of his more challenging rigging jobs. In order for a client to shoot a short film, he faced the task of setting up a 350 metre tensioned rope line from the top of the Kaieteur Falls to the base, and away from the wet and windy area around the plunge pool.
These falls, set in pristine Amazon rain forest, are the world’s largest single drop waterfall by volume.
Waldo explained how the job for the company he runs, Remote Ropes, came about: “The client had seen my work on a few TV shoots and heard about me through a contact in Japan. Operating with a streamlined, lightweight toolbox, in wild environments is something I find both extremely challenging and satisfying.”
He added: “We had all the kit we needed, despite the low take-off weight of the tiny Cessna 202, and landed on the Kaieteur Falls airstrip in the middle of the Guyana rainforest with eight haul bags of rope and rigging kit.”
Timber frame Artificial High Directionals (AHDs) were installed at the top of the Falls to safeguard the Worksafe ropes and for an easy edge transition on the rope line. After successfully descending the line Waldo jumared back up to the top, while the rest of the team headed downstream for about a kilometre where a specialist helicopter pilot was able to extract them on a long line.
The plunge pool area could be gained by an 180-metre free abseil to a rebelay; followed by a further 80-metre abseil. Unfortunately the waterfall was at 70% flow rate so the cave behind wasn't accessible.
A potential hazard to be aware of whilst constructing anchor systems around boulders was an unwanted encounter with the rarely seen but venomous Bothrops Asper.