Go Chasing Waterfalls

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Explore Hong Kong’s hidden natural beauty through stream trekking and canyoning

By Fangdong Bai

Climbing a cliff under the blazing sun and jumping into cold water seems an unlikely activity in a bustling city like Hong Kong. But in Ping Nam, just less than an hour away from the city centre, Gordon Hon Wing-chau is guiding a team to explore a waterfall and do just that.

Hon is the founder of Hong Kong Rock Climbing Adventure, a company which provides outdoor adventure guides. He has been exploring Hong Kong’s streams through stream trekking and canyoning for two decades.

Stream trekking is a mixture of climbing and hiking up the mountains along rivers. One can either walk around the water flow or in the river. In contrast, canyoning is an extreme sport which requires participants to make their way down the streams using abseiling, climbing and diving techniques.

Hon first came across stream trekking when he was working as a hiking guide for youth centres. Later he found stream trekking more intriguing and started to encourage teenagers to join the sport, as they can swim in the cool streams after hiking on a hot summer day.

For Hon, stream trekking and canyoning are not only part of his job, but also a way to avoid the summer heat. He also believes that these sports can push people to go beyond their limits. “Diving and canyoning boost your confidence,” he says.

Like other extreme sports, both stream trekking and canyoning have potential risks, but canyoning is more dangerous in comparison, especially for beginners. The choice of location is important and has to be decided according to the ability of participants. Using equipment such as anti-skid shoes, helmets and protective clothing can help minimise the risks. And there are certainly risks; Hon suggests that beginners should buy insurance.
He advises beginners to start with stream trekking which is easier. If they want to try canyoning, they should join training courses first or do it under the guidance of an instructor. The Hong Kong Rock Climbing Adventure provides courses taught by experienced instructors for canyoning and other adventurous sports such as zip-lining and rock climbing.

“Hong Kong has the geological environment and resources for stream trekking and canyoning. This is what I want to let more people know,” Hon says. And if you do take time to learn the skills, there is the added advantage of discovering that Hong Kong has a lot more to offer than streets and highrises.

Want to try out stream trekking and canyoning? Go to Hong Kong Rock Climbing Adventure’s website for more details.

Edited by Crystal Wu