It took me 2 weeks to gather all this information scattered on the net. Informations and photos were taken from Flemish Low’s Gully Expedition 2003, by David Nijssen before the French School of Canyoning for the degree of â€˜Canyoning Monitorâ€™ on 23-27th of August in Haute-Savoie, France. Original report can be downloaded here.
In 1851 Hugh Low and his team climbed a mountain about 90 km northeast of Kota Kinabalu. They travelled from Labuan to Tuaran of Abai on the coast, and proceeded on foot through difficult terrain. They did not enter the threatening canyon though, â€¦
In 1960 a British expedition, lead by Commander â€˜Cauldronâ€™ explored the top 300 m of the Gully wall, descending through the gap named after the Team leader. Falling rocks proved this to be the most dangerous route and the descent was cancelled.
In February 1987, three British Alpine climbers found the way through Easy Valley towards the bottom of the Gully. The first witnesses of Lowâ€™s unharnessed force decided wisely not to proceed.
In 1991, one of these men returns with a larger expedition force, and Pinfield and New reach a narrow stretch of â€œabout 12 m wideâ€ in the canyon at an altitude of 1570 m. There they avoid the beginning of the â€˜realâ€™ canyon through â€˜Newâ€™s escape routeâ€™ and proceed over the ridge towards the exit.
March 1994, two teams of five British army soldiers attempt to conquer Lowâ€™s. The first team reaches â€˜Newâ€™s Poolâ€™, but like their predecessor, must take the escape route to the end of the Gully. After 10 days they reach Melangkap Kappa. The second team still hasnâ€™t arrivedâ€¦ The Malaysian army is called to the rescue. Three weeks later, when starvation was about to make itâ€™s first victim, they were evacuated by helicopter.
In 1998, two men from the former expedition returned, heavily sponsored by â€˜National Geographicâ€™. Not taking any chances in this lethal canyon, the team equips the canyon with fixed ropes, staying out of the water and out of the bottom of the Gully at all costs. They make it through, using 5000 m of ropeâ€¦
Something keeps nagging in the British military: did they or did they not conquer Lowâ€™s Gully? Undoubtedly, they achieved a great feat. But have you really experienced a football match when you move along the outskirts of the field? To make sure, the British military set out in April 2000 to pass Lowâ€™s Gully using canyoning techniques. Four Flemish civilians were part if the team.
They reached Newâ€™s Pools, when team leader Rafferty decided it was too dangerous to proceed and called in the helicopters. By now the â€˜impossibilityâ€™ of descending Lowâ€™s inspired canyoneers all over the world. In 2001 a Canadian team takes up this challenge. They also reach Newâ€™s pools before they are forced to turn back. In 2002, a Dutch team, including â€˜K2â€™ climbers, decided to give it a try. They too are overwhelmed by the sheer force of the elements at the bottom of the Gully and wisely opt for a â€˜sensible retreatâ€™.
By 2003, a team of nine Flemish canyoneers set out to go where the bodies and spirits of so many have been broken. In only five days they complete the first real descent of Lowâ€™s Gully using canyoning techniques.
Do you know anymore attempts into the gully after this one?
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