Abseil Recce: Base of Waterfalls N3,N4,N5 2022-01-08
Participants: Shane M, Karl S, Nigel A, Alan G, Debbie G (Leader)
We converged on Nimbin at 8am. With low lying clouds obscuring the mountains, it was clear another overcast, drizzly day lay ahead. Perfect conditions for chasing waterfalls and feeding leeches.
Like most recces the brief was fairly open. Look for possible routes into the valley and if possible visit the bases of N3, N4,and N5 before finding a route out. Return to the vehicles by 6pm, bring a head torch in case of unexpected delays. Descent approx. 350m, expect very steep and slippery conditions.
After a quick discussion over the toppo map it was decided to look between N1 and N3 for a possible descent as this was the only section not to be shown as escarpment. We set off full of enthusiasm for the task ahead.
The way down opened up surprisingly easily, yes it was steep, muddy, and slippery but with care we soon found ourselves in the valley below and sidling our way south towards N3.
As above, so below. N3 proved to be a playful, relaxed creek cascading down the mountain side. A delightful run of small drops, pools and moss covered rocks. Possibly somewhere to abseil to tick off a list but not really enough to warrant carrying the equipment in and out. We pressed on.
The terrain proved to be challenging as we found ourselves looking down a 15m rock wall. It was decided to deploy tapes and use a classic abseil style to descend. Watching Karl descend and safely land Nigel, Alan and I decided there must be another way so while Shane descended the tapes we climbed up, over and down to meet them.
A classic abseil to me rates as one of those things that - Yes, I can - Do I want to? No - If I have to I will, but I will exhaust all other possibilities first!
A large tree nearby surrounded by comfortable looking rocks proved the perfect place for a cuppa, a snack and to check our route.
Re-energized we pressed on. As we approached N4 at 12pm it was obvious that N5 would be beyond our reach today.
N4 appeared like a rocky waterslide, gripped on either side by steep walls. Looking up we could see the rocks disappearing above. Not really a creek we could follow, we took the option of climbing beside it.
Taking care to look for hand and foot holds on the slippery slope we eventually reached a familiar section of creek,the section we had seen from above. Within view of our luncheon spot from last week we rested, ate and formulated a plan.
With N5 out of the question we had an option to explore where we were for possible exit routes or return back the way we had come.
We chose to explore as we were now around 50m vertical from the top and to climb down just to climb back up seemed a tad tiring.
With Alan out front leading the way we were able to traverse the slippery conditions making it safely to the top that we had wandered along previously.
From here it was a relatively easy, if steep climb back to the cars. Chatting on the way about our next recce - taking some ropes, abseiling N4, hiking over to N5 while looking for possible exit routes along the way.
So many waterfalls, so many options.
I am grateful to be blessed with the health and wellbeing to participate in these adventures and a great group of friends to share them with.
N5 here we come.
Abseil - N4 2022-01-16 Inaugural
Participants: Catherine T, Debbie G, Shane M, Nigel A, Al G & Leader Karl S.
Aim: to abseil N4 waterfall (to our knowledge for the first time ever) and then explore the bottom of N5.
We met at Nimbin Bowlo at 8.00am and then drove up to Mt Nardi, Nightcap NP, where we found the NP gate was closed/locked. This was presumably due to fallen trees over the road, however, those fallen trees were the same as we observed during our previous two weekly reconnaissance trips to the area when the gate wasn’t closed.
Nevertheless, after parking the cars at the gates, it was only a short walk to the start of our walk anyway.
It had rained heavily during the night with Nimbin recording 39mm.
The plan was to reach the top of N4 from the south, skirting around the two tributary gullies above, which we did, however, the terrain kept leading us further south. Despite that we continually corrected our track until we arrived at the top of N4.
The abseil was quickly set up and Al was the first over, …ever! It ended up being an enjoyable 90m abseil which included a few small platforms and the main fifty-degree, forty-meter-high watercourse (If possible, see the pictures). Once everyone was down a quick lunch was had after which we traversed (sidled – Debbie’s word of the month) the slope towards N5. It was very steep, so we decided to make our way further down the slope to see if the steepness relented a bit, which it did, …a bit. We came across an old overgrown logging road. As it was obvious we couldn’t comfortably reach N5 and return to the cars in the daylight time remaining, we turned around.
We sidled back to the bottom of N4 and after a short break and replenishing of some water stores, we made our way back up the forty-five-degree slope, two hundred vertical meters to the top of the escarpment through rainforest bush and loose dirt and detritus.
The ambient temperature reached close to 32 degrees Celsius, so it wasn’t surprising that vigorously exercising (scrambling up a steep, rainforest, west facing slope) in such high humidity and temperatures, heat and nutritional exhaustion was a concerning issue*.
At the top of the escarpment, Al & Catherine went to retrieve the rope from the top of N4 and replenish water supplies whilst the rest of us continued up. Upon meeting up with them again, further up the track, the 3.5 litres that Catherine lugged up couldn’t be drunk as Shane’s water filter container had broken so a few had over-the-head showers instead, so as not to waste the water, adding to the cooling effect.
Although the extra water would have been helpful, we were able to share the water that we had and at 5.00 pm we reached the cars. Here we were able to refresh ourselves, replenish our fluids and as expected in a wet rainforest, extract a few leeches which had attached themselves. Nigel found the biggest leech ever, about the size of the last two phalanges of the little finger.
In conclusion, what a wonderful day with a wonderful crew, who demonstrated great teamwork to accomplish what we achieved. It was exciting and memorable.
‘til next time, Karl
1. Times: Start walk 8.30. Reach top of N4 10.30. Leave bottom of N4 to go to N5 12.40 pm. Turn-around time 1.25 pm. Started up from lowest point of N4 2.10 pm. Reach top of escarpment 3.10 pm. End walk 5.00 pm. Total time 8.5 hours.
2. Lowest point 323m. Highest point 744m. Total height 421m. The steepest ascent grade, averaging 45 degrees, from lowest point to top of escarpment ~200m. Note: Taking into account scrambling up, down and around obstacles the total height gained and lost was 663m.
3. Retrospectively, it would have been quicker reaching N4 by not skirting around the gullies too far, going down between the two gullies or even using our ascent route to the north of N4.
4. *Any person or athlete exercising vigorously in high humidity and temperatures needs to observe their energy (nutritional) and fluid intake to avoid heat exhaustion and exhaustion from depleted energy. Recently, for example, in hot climates, marathons and similar activities are now recommended to be held early in the day to avoid heat illnesses. Athletes are very aware and educate themselves about their nutritional (energy) and fluid requirements. It’s one of the most important aspects to maximise and enable performance.
5. Untreated water isn’t recommended to be drunk in this area due to contamination.
Abseil - P1 2022-01-22 Whian Whian Abseil/Walk
Participants: Karl, Debbie, Nigel, Catherine, Peter, Noel, Graham, Gary and Leader Shane
After the recent strenuous days up Mt Nardi it was decided to have a light day doing something a little easier. I had done an inaugural exploratory with Duncan down a creek at Whian Whian. We advertised it as novice level and I was inundated with applications to partake in our adventure so many in fact that I had to decline many applications. But then in the preceding 24 hours we had 3 drop outs due to the heavy rain. So it was that we arrived at Rummery Park and nine of us set off up Mt Peate's Mountain Road at 8:36, we took the road as the track was inundated in ankle deep water and it was nice to keep the feet dry a little longer. We arrived at the top of our creek at 9:30, a distance of 3.6km with an altitude gain of 193m. It was then off track heading for the gulley that was the source of our creek. A little bit of over and under the fallen and we were soon at the creek with a reasonable flow. At 10.13 we were at 501m and on slabs with a cascade down to our abseil takeoff, we had enough rope so we abseiled down this section even though it could easily be scrambled. I anchored around a solid tree and Karl went down first on double ropes so he could take a few pictures. It was then decided to anchor the ropes individually and go down in pairs. This worked well and all were down safely at 12:07. We had gone from 501m down to 449m with about 30m in the middle that was actually vertical. A nice ride nevertheless. Ropes were rolled up and off through fairly open forest heading down our creek to the mainstream arriving at 385m at 12:35. A break of a couple of minutes as the debate started on the best method to ford the stream. Eventually it broke into what the heck it is only water and we were already soaking wet. However the girls decided on making it a full on bath by falling over, Giggle. Out of the stream and up the other side to a road way then taking our usual but inundated shortcut and arriving back at Rummery Park at 2:00. A bit of a personal cleanup and then into the shelter for a liquid debriefing as the rain pelted down. A fun filled day as they are always with a great bunch of like minded adventurers. Shane
Abseil G3 Infinity Pool Saturday 2022-02-05
Participants: Nigel A, Gary W, Rick K, Shane M, Debbie G (leader)
Anchor Tape: 20m Rope: 11mm x 80m
This has been a summer of perpetual rain and Saturday promised more of the same. Perfect to revisit G3, the infinity pool. On previous visits the flow has been light but the views, amazing.
We left the car park in a gentle drizzle and decided to follow the back track which has bridges rather than risk finding the creek in full flow and impassable on our regular route.
The back track provided quick and easy access to G3. The infinity pool, living up to its name, looked spectacular and was running freely.
Setting anchors well back from the edge the plan was simple, stay out of the main flow. Nigel set the rope 2m to the east of the flow and proceeded over the edge to a small ledge 5m down. This is where it was rediscovered that the flow takes a sharp dog leg east 10m from the top and with the present flow the red rope disappeared into a rowdy wall of white water. Unperturbed he pressed on arriving safely at the bottom.
The weight on the rope should have acted as a warning of what lay below. Calling on Shane to lift the heavy rope so I could attach my descender. I edged slowly down to the first ledge, fighting the rope all the way. Looking over the ledge it became apparent that the force of the water was great and acting as a brake on the rope.
I pressed on.
Dropping into the flow and a complete white out abseiling became easier as the water pushed down on me. For about 40m the view was limited to black and white, wall and water. On occasion I could see my feet but for the most I was reliant on baby steps on a wall I could not see.
15m from the bottom the pounding stopped as I dropped below the overhang. Here tranquility descended. I locked off, spinning to enjoy the view of the valley through a lacy white veil. I rested and caught my breath.
Looking at the pool below it was apparent that the only way out was to swim, so I sat on a rock, detached from the rope and jumped in.
Gary followed next, then Rick and finally Shane. All in awe of the force of the water and the challenges it posed.
Usually from the base of G3 we head along the valley east to G2, up the escarpment and back to G3 (1.5 hours). Today we had decided to find a new route. Shane had been doing the research and talking with others so we knew there was a better way. The new exit is steep but easily done without assistance and so by midday we were back at the top.
A brilliant day out was celebrated back at the cars with cold beverages and leech flicking.
Thanks guys for another fabulous adventure.
Ed: There was 12m of rope free at the bottrom. Actual falls are 70m.
Participants: Karl S, Debbie G, Nigel A, Gary W, Alan G, Paul G, Jake S and Leader Shane M
This was the culmination of three previous surveys where we calculated the possible exit route from the bottom and the stratagem for the pitches. The day began early with a 7:30am start at Googarna Road Mt Nardi. We were led by Nigel down to the falls by various meanders to arrive at 9:30am. Alan and Jake went off to the south ridgeline and laid the 30 metre tape for our climb back. That ridge climb could have been without the tape but there were a lot of loose rocks and this was just to be safe. Back at the falls the previously done first 50 metre pitch was easily repeated and secured. Then Karl came down with the 150 metre rope in tow and tied in. Then it was off to the second shelf which was all new and height unknown. Karl signalled that he was down safe on the ledge, l then went down to the ledge where we contemplated the next big drop. Anchors and a safety line were laid. The rope that was still in the bag was measured and came to 70 metres. so that second pitch was 80 metres. It was decided that Karl should go down a bit so that he could see past the ledge below, however, that didn't help as there was another ledge below that obscured the bottom from view. After a bit of localised debate between Karl and myself we decided to proceed using the 150 metre rope. A backup plan of another person coming down from the second pitch with an extra 100 metre rope which was then at the top of the falls. At this time we were spread out with a couple of people at the top and a couple on each ledge. We were all anxiously listening to our radios for the report from below. Karl reported at first that we would need the extra 100 metres but recanted and decided to continue if we could release a couple of metres more rope for him. That we did and we were relieved to hear Karl's report of down safely. Alan, Jake, Nigel, Gary and Paul all proceeded down adjusting the rope between uses to move possible wear spots. Debbie brought up the rear after removing all the fixed points adjustments so she was the only one that was on the full 150 metre rope. This would allow the ropes to be pulled back up to the top. All that remained was the climb out which was expertly led by Alan. Back at the top at approximately 2:00pm, it was with some trepidation we pulled up the ropes, amazing the pulling power of a couple of strong lads. Excellent, all back safe, and with the ropes. Amazing trip. The climb back to the top of the falls took 30 minutes and the rope pulled in 10 minutes. All packed up we headed back to the cars on what is now becoming a well worn track. There was the usual refreshments and debrief at the roadside and we departed early. What a day and what a waterfall our biggest to date at 200 metres. Wow, that is twice as high as Minyon. So the N5 needs ropes of 50 metres and 150 metres and it would be good for the first down to carry an extra 10 metres of whatever to be totally sure of reaching the bottom. Total time 7:30am to 4:00pm An excellent crew I am happy to go abseiling with at any time.