Wonder

Oshi Falls

Oshi Falls, Guyana
Oshi Falls / © P.Greaves, May 2014, published with kind permission.

WorldBlue  In short

Oshi Falls are some of the most spectacular falls in the world – but few people manage to see them.

4.3 out of 10 stars 42.8%

GPS coordinates
5.688673 N 61.1128 W
Location, address
South America, Guyana, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, the fall of Oshi River over Pacaraima escarpment
Alternate names
Salto Oshi, King George VI Falls, Ushi Falls, Utshi Falls, Uitshi Falls, Cataratas del Rey Jorge VI (in Spanish)
Height
~ 214 m
Width
~ 30 m
Average volume
~ 6 m3/sec

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

This waterfall represents a single, 214 m tall, vertical plunge adorning a broad cliff amphitheater. The landscape here still is covered with pristine rainforest.

Paul A. Zahl and G.T. Chislett

Most likely the first white men to reach this (and the nearby Kamarang Falls which have similar size) waterfall were the young American entomologist and physician Paul A. Zahl and English diamond prospector G. T. Chislett in 1938.

Zahl wrote the book “To The Lost World”, describing their adventures in the spectacular highlands of Guyana, Venezuela, and Brazil. Later he became a prominent author, writing many articles for geography magazines and taking great pictures of the natural world.

Erroneous height estimate

Oshi Falls and members of "Lost Worlds" expedition, Guyana
Oshi Falls and members of "Lost Worlds" expedition (from the left): Monty Halls, Bosie Vincent and Patrick Greaves. / © P.Greaves, May 2014, published with kind permission.

Zahl and Chislett made a mistake when estimating the height of Oshi Falls (he wrote – “Utshi Falls”). They dropped large stones and counted seconds while these stones were falling – and calculated that falls are some 1600 feet (some 490 m) tall. (2) Thus Oshi Falls was listed among the tallest waterfalls of the world and often mentioned in different almanacs and books of records.

“Lost Worlds” expedition

In May 2014 an expedition reached the falls. It was organized by a team of explorers and companies, including Bosie Vincent, Patrick Greaves, and broadcast production company “Electric Sky Productions”, with the participation of Monty Halls and Leo Houlding. The aim of the expedition was to produce a new “Discovery” channel series named “Lost Worlds” depicting some of the least explored areas of the world. Vicinities of Oshi Falls definitely fall into this category.

Patrick Greaves writes: “The area was absolutely incredible, truly untouched. However, the falls were far more challenging than we initially predicted. The area around the base simulated conditions close to a hurricane and was truly ferocious and the rock which formed the waterfall was new to even the climbers, like shale rock it was thin and broke away easily. This made climbing extremely dangerous and eventually, we abandoned this attempt and instead descended down from the top in order to see what life lived around the cliff.”
“We measured the falls at being 214 meters in height. The initial view of the falls is slightly misleading and almost forms a natural illusion due to the rock contour lines which create an overhanging cliff face. Our estimates were based on rope lengths, calculations by clinometers, and the use of an altimeter which was calibrated before use.”

Wondermondo expresses sincere gratitude to Patrick Greaves for the information and images!

 

References

  1. World Waterfall Database. Oshi, Salto Accessed on 23 March 2012
  2. Paul Zahl. Two Waterfalls in British Guiana. The Geographical Journal, Vol 93, No 6, 1939.
  3. Personal e-mail from the son of G.T. Chislett, 12 December 2020. 

 

Images

  1. Living Sculpture by Bruce J. Morgan. Utchi Falls, Accessed on 1 April 2012
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