Wednesday 2nd August 2017 : Boogarem Falls Recce, Koonyum Range NP
Participants: Simon C, Duncan F and leader Shane M
We had a rendezvous at Woolies Car Park at Mullum at 9:30AM and set off in one vehicle and were soon up to the top of Koonyum Range Road arriving at Boogarem Creek we parked at the entrance to the foot pad down to the creek. The ropes taken were 100m x 11mm, 2 of 70m x 10.5mm and a 25m x 11mm as a safety line. From the top of the cliff we anchored the 100m from two trees about 5m back from the edge and slightly to the right of the larger tree on the edge. Having set the main rope we then traversed the slope to the south of the falls looking for a suitable exit slope. About 30m along and 10m up the slope we anchored one of the 70m ropes and Simon deployed it down the slope for about 50m ready for our exit after the abseil.
Returning to the cliff face I was first over the edge. I had thrown the rope bag and let it self deploy, unfortunately it had passed through tree branches and the route taken by it wasn't one the we could follow. So a good bit of time and effort was used pulling the 100m of rope back up and around the tree while hanging. The decent from there on was smooth and spectacular and reached a small ledge at about 50m. Not stopping a further 30m took me to another large ledge with a further 25m below.
Simon and Duncan were next in that order and we all stopped at the 80m mark as it had a promising looking exit off to the south. The rope bag was disengaged and filled with the extraneous equipment to be carried back up the slope.
It was a matter of picking our way along the escarpment through brush and long grass gaining perhaps 40m in height before we finally caught sight of the previously deployed 70m rope. We then, one at a time, prusiked and scrambled our way up a 70%~80% slope to arrive back at our previous track. By this time it was 2:30pm and already the sun had passed over the mountain and it was getting rather cool. So we packed up and headed for Mullum after a detour by car out to the lookout for a look back at our route. A great day out! Worth the effort we now have another venue for the club's abseilers.
Notes for next time.
A better drop would be about 2m~3m left /north of the large tree at the cliff face,
it would give a overhanging drop and no tree.
We could or should head further south with the retrieval rope it looks more promising.
An ascender or two would make the return much easier.
Definitely a Grade 7
Thursday 17th August 2017: Hell Hole Falls Recce, Mt Jerusalem NP
Participants: Duncan F, Peter L, Wendy H, Brendan W and leader Shane M
We had a rendezvous at the locked gate at the top of Middle Ridge Fire Trail at 10:00 AM which ended up being 11:00 AM due to missed emails. We walked the 2.5 kilometres to the top of the falls by-passing the top two swimming holes. The anchoring arrangements were unknown so we were a little taken back with the bolt heads only at the top of the falls. We had with us ample fixing hardware and the club's 2 x 70 metres of 10.5 millimetre rope. After a little experimentation Duncan ably fixed the anchor with two prusik loops. (Two removable hanger plates have been ordered for next time). Initially the two ropes were deployed as a double as we expected to be able to continue down the second pitch from the initial anchor. This first pitch was approximately 30 metres into knee deep pool ( water not particularly cool ). Care needed with the rope protection, next time need approximately 2 continuous metres of protection. Reaching the top of the second it became apparent that we were not going to have enough rope to complete the abseil. The solution was to disengage one of the ropes at the top and join the two ropes end to end. With the addition of a sling around a large boulder at the top of the second pitch to take some of the bounce out of the top rope. The first rope being tied short so that the join was above the second pitch (also note that it is possible to scramble back up from this point along the SW face). The second pitch is from the NE side of very narrow gorge. with an awkward entry falling from an overhang, grounding again about 6 metres below its initial entry. From there the slope descended for 35 metres, at times in the water flow, to a ledge approximately 2 metres wide. It was necessary to then change direction slightly and flip the rope above around the protruding N face. Another overhang in water flow and a drop of approximately 10 metres and we were in a pool at the bottom. The pool at the bottom to me was knee deep although others managed to swim or stay dry by going around the edges. Duncan, the last down, released the sling anchor from the boulder before his descent enabling the rope retrieval from the top later on. While waiting for all the crew to arrive at the bottom Peter went a little down stream looking for the exit. He did not come back empty handed. We were all soon following him up a very steep and loose slope back to the top and our waiting gear. It was by this time 3:00 and starting to cool off. Just as well as it was a bit of a sweaty grunt back up to the cars carrying all the wet gear. On completion the verdict was a most enjoyable and respectable abseil and definitely on the agenda on 23rd September. Taken from the lengths of rope used we had a 30 metre pitch and then a 50 metre pitch. Thanks to the excellent and competent participants. Shane
Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th November 2017: Burnett Creek Canyon, Mt Barney NP
Participants: Debbie G, John M, Alan G, Andrew C, Mandy G, Peter W and leader Shane M
We rendezvous at the Woodenbong Conveniences at 9:00 am (NSW Time) well some did anyway, waited for the Queenslanders as usual. No harm done, we headed off towards Dead Horse Mountain Road and were soon testing our skills with the 4WDs. At one point our path was barred by a blue and white tape which led us off in the wrong direction but we were soon back on the right track. The tape turned out to be Huskvarna tape for a motocross event. The chain saw was twice used to remove trees that had fallen across the track. Terrain varying from the lantana scrapping the cars from both sides to cool shady rain forest. After perhaps an hour of this driving adventure we arrived at the border fence, our campsite and stopped for lunch. We were surprised to find another car at our camp spot. Intriguing as they obviously had found another route in. ( unless they flew over the two fallen trees )
After that respite we loaded up with the ropes and our gear and headed over the fences into Queensland and down the vehicular track to the start of the off track down to Burnett Creek. Reaching the creek we kitted up and rock hopped down to the first pitch of possibly 15 metres in height. There we spied the other car owner at the pitch below and passed pleasantries with him. We had taken two 50 metre and one 70 metre ropes with us so it was possible to continue down to the next without waiting for everyone to complete the first. Peter bringing up the rear with the spare rope for a backup or recovery. All went very smoothly with no incidents at all. The water was coolish but bearable for the little time that we spent submerged. The next three pitches including the 35 metre one also as smooth as silk and finally to the last one of about 12 metres. An inspection of the high anchor bolt showed the nuts were loose. Tightening them with a spanner had no real effect as the rock was degraded and a decision was made to use the lower anchors and unfortunately it was necessary to sacrifice a sling and a maillon. A note for next time to take the equipment to re-bolt that pitch. We emerged at the bottom of the canyon at 6pm Queensland time. The rush was then on for Debbie and John to get back to their car as they had no wish to do the 4WD bash in the dark.
The rest of us ambled back up 1.8km of steep track toward our camp a gain of 250 metres in height. We had only just left the bush and got on the track when down the track came two quad-bikes. A discussion with the riders revealed that they were the lessees of 1500 acres of the National Park, and no we were not in trouble and yes we can be there, good to know. Much information was sort but not much was given. Back at the camp Debbie and John had long gone, we settled back and relaxed as it began to lightly rain. We all had an early night soon after twilight.
Sunday we awoke early and packed up but we didn't start the days walk until about 10am. The aim was to look for another canyon further along the mountain side. Peter leading we went 'bush' or should I say 'lantana', after bashing around for an hour or so we gave up and headed back to the track. It was then decided to go back down to the spot where we left the creek the day before and continue down stream to have a look see. It was a nice creek walk very reminiscent of the many done in our own area. A couple of kilometres and no gorge or canyon found we headed the 3.4 kilometres back up the hill to our camp. A detour was made to check a possible short cut to the start of Burnett Creek no advantage was gained by this but it could be useful on the way down to the creek. A bite of lunch and then the cars were loaded up and off we went 4WD-ing this time we took the original track that had been bypassed due to the blue tape. Incidentally the tape had been removed or broken. We were soon back on Mt Lindsay Highway and headed for the Woodenbong Pub for a light refreshment. A text was received from Debbie verifying her safe return to civilization. We all parted company at around 3:30pm after a really thrilling but safe weekend. Definitely worth the effort and possibly the best event we do as a club. My thanks to the competent participants. Shane
25th to 26th February, 2017: Recce/Abseil - Lynch's Creek Recce, Border Ranges NP
Participants: Gary G, Alan G, Brendan W, Jimi S, Peter W and Leader Shane M.
This was an epic bush walk, the hardest that most of us have ever done. We all met up at Forest Top Camping Area and organised to drop a car at the saddle below Forest Top for our return, and then the car shuffle to the Pinnacle car park, where we were greeted by Steve M who had kindly organised to get our cars back to our Forest Top base.
At 9:00 precisely we dropped off the road (124-578 alt 1045m) into the bush to the west of the car park and proceeded to bush bash down a dry creek (well exposed stones) occasionally breaking through dense vines and creepers. We soon had running water, the source of Lynch's Creek. Following this with much effort and cursing we reached the first of the waterfalls at 10.15 (115-575 alt. 892m), a short clean drop of only tens of metres.
From there on the creek developed into a gorge, dropping steeply from waterfall to waterfall with wading and scrambling over the next kilometre down to 735m. A total of 7 waterfalls, some of which had very tricky launches, a couple of fingers being caught in the swinging on the overhang. Nothing major fortunately.
All of the drops required contrived anchors using crevices, boulders, and trees. We had been forewarned about the anchoring from the previous recce in 1981 and thought that we had ample. As it turned out we had just enough with additional donation of Gary's 10m tape rope. On the second last abseil it was noticed that one of the ropes had been damaged by a sharp rock, but fortunately it was only 10m from the end and a knife soon made the ropes 60m with one 10m. The 10m section proved handy for the last anchor spot.
The whole process of establishing safe anchors and getting 6 people safely down so many waterfalls was very, very time consuming and it was not until almost dark (7:00 pm) that we finally reached the valley floor and, with everything packed up, headed rock hopping down the creek.
Soon it was headlights and very slow. At 9.45 pm we finally decided it was too dangerous to continue and found a sort of flat spot to setup camp. We had not been prepared to spend the night out, and flattened out an area of vegetation large enough for a shivering night in wet clothes. (Note: space blankets should have a use-by date). There were glow worms everywhere, you couldn't tell them from the stars. I personally nodded off during the night for an hour or so and I believe that was the experience of the others.
Next morning we arose with the sun and, with empty bellies, continued our way rock hopping and wading down the creek arriving at our exit point 066-582 (alt 392m) at 10.35. The task was then to follow a ridge line up to the saddle at 056-588 (alt 788m). Once again it was a struggle requiring quite a bit of unavailable energy. It was good to finally hear cars on the road and break out of the vines into the sunshine at 1:00 pm.
We all hopped into Alan's car and drove up to Forest Tops to be greeted by a relieved Steve and his group who had anxiously been waiting since the night before! There were many lessons learned from the experience, be prepared for a night out and wear a wetsuit. It gets cold waiting around in wet clothes.
The area had breathtaking scenery, in areas the creek bed was 30 metres wide, and the activity was enjoyable despite the hardship, but unlikely to be attempted again as a one day walk, unless you are young and fit like the 1981 recce participants, not old farts! Shane
25th March, 2017 – Abseil – Leader: Shane - Kinnanes Falls Main Range NP Qld.
Participants: Gary W, Lucy C, Peter L, Maurice T, Andrew C, Mandy and Shane M.
The event was advertised as a three day weekend but with the storms and torrential rain it was decided to skip the Friday night at Koreelah Camping Ground, well except for Peter and Lucy who apparently had a dry evening there anyway. At 10:15 five of us arrived at Kinnanes on Wilson Creek, thinking that we would be holding up our Brisbane participants, but we need not have worried as it was about 10:30 before we had seven of us assembled and packs loaded with our gear. Mandy, a friend of Andrew, was along for a non-participating look see. My last experience had me going up the left and wrong side of the creek so this time we kept right and followed the fence line. We had gone quite a distance before we realized that we were now far off the correct ridge. So contouring back across we finally saw the bluff that indicated we were in the correct spot. We then proceeded along the veranda/balcony to the top of the bluff and then along the top of the ridges to the creek. We then descended to the creek and geared up. Mandy stayed behind to watch from a distance, supposedly in contact with Andrew by VHF radio. I proceeded through the canyon to the first drop and looked for the anchors that had been there on the previous visits. Not there! Panic, what were we to do? Silly really, as they had been replaced at a much lower level by some kind soul, and with excellent hardware at that. The first drop 12m went without a hitch and the slippery dip into the pool at the top of the falls was enjoyed by all. Although wet suits had been stipulated they were still was not enough to prevent the chill of waiting in a pool of water. Then it was the first drop of 50+m to another rock pool where we all assembled to retrieve the ropes and setup for the next drop of 65m. Andrew had previously done an alternative route down in the curvy waterfall, which is something that I had avoided having been warned on a previous occasion that there may be a problem pulling the rope at the end of the event. As it turned out it was a far better (more thrilling) route and we had no trouble pulling down the rope. At the bottom Andrew started to worry about Mandy as the VHF had taken an unintended dunking and he couldn't contact her. A short time later he reappeared with Mandy who was a bit disorientated after meeting a black snake on her wanderings. We all assembled, pulled ropes which incidentally came down easily, and headed off rock hopping down the creek to the cars. About 4:30 we had packed up and headed our separate ways, the New South Welshers were heading to Koreelah Camp ground for the night, and the Queenslanders to Brisbane. It had been an excellent day in the company of amiable and competent people. Shane
26th March, 2017: Abseil – Watson Creek Falls Mt Barney NP Qld.
Participants: Gary W, Lucy C, Peter L, Maurice T and Leader Shane M.
This abseil was entirely a recce/survey for our club not having done it before and with only a public domain track log of a walk to the falls. The second day of two days of events. We had returned from Kinnanes to Koreelah Camp ground and spent an enjoyable evening around the camp fire on a starry night. We were up at 7:00 and on the road by 9:00 driving along White Swamp Road to a road side quarry about 2km before the tick gate. This was an alternative starting point that we had adapted from a previous Mt Clunie walk with Bert. We crossed some open country and were soon on the rabbit fence a mere 50 metres from a steel gate that had been used as a style before. An obvious track led down the ridge line next to a barbed wire fence. Down this ridge several hundred metres we veered north toward Mt Clunie, then crossed the fence again and were soon at a large escarpment with a gorge below. The first drop was from a precarious bolt with only a small tree for the security line anchor. It started with a 15m sloping slab at about 10 degrees off the vertical, and then fell away into an overhang of perhaps 25m, and that ended in a large pool. From there it was a slippery precarious move to a bolt at a lower level that was used for a security line. Once the security line was up it was used to move down to the anchor bolts. These bolts were really in a very dangerous and slippery spot. This second drop was 48m, calculated as 70m rope minus 22m left over at the bottom. All of this drop was in a heavy torrent of water so dense that you could not see your nose let alone your hands. We were all soon down and shivering at the top of another 15m drop and the exit from the gorge. We were all done by 1:30 and set off down the creek looking for our exit upward. We were a little challenged, at first unable to find the exit. A little backtracking and we found the way out, a large fig tree with an extremely large root system marking the spot. It is a gradual climb up following along the base of the cliffs until a ramp appeared that led up to the top of the ridge. The rest was plain sailing, although sweaty, and we were soon at the cars. We stopped at the quarry for an hour or so having a brew before we parted company, some heading off via Boonah, and the others via Woodenbong. We now have all the track knowledge for next time and maybe there will be more people next time. My thanks to the great crew. Shane
Sunday 1st October 2017 Boogarem Falls , Koonyum Range
Participants: Tony L, Stella L and leader Shane M
We had a rendezvous at the intersection of Koonyum Range Road and Wilson's Creek Road at 9:00. A very dusty drive to Boogarem Creek with both a 4wd and a 2WD. We parked at the top of track/walking pad and made our way down to the top of the escarpment. There was very little water in the creek and zero flow over the edge. First we established firm anchors with redundancy and set up a safety line. Then we deployed the 100m rope by throwing the rope bag over the edge. Sometime was then spent fixing rope protection for the top 3 metres. Once all that was done, we ascended back up the track and headed off track south along the top of the escarpment looking for the easiest path/slope for our return from the bottom. After a couple of dead ends we finally found a suitable place to deploy the 70m rope for our return ascent. It was then thrown down that slope waiting for our return. Back at the top of the falls, I went first and sorted the rope tangles etc. on the way down. I reckoned that there was 20m left of the 100m rope at the bottom so 80m is about the height. However it was possible to go down another 20m to make it a 100m drop. There did not seem to be much point in that as at 80m there was our escape route off to the south. Tony followed second while Stella waited at the top. With both Tony and myself safely at the bottom we removed the rope bag and laid the rope straight for retrieval from the top. Heading off along the rock ledge we were soon in thick bush which offered some path upwards. It was not long before we saw the 70m rope dangling above us. The positioning of which was less than perfect. Using ascenders we made it to the rope tie in and redeployed the rope for what was to be the second go down the falls. The new spot was marked for future reference. Back at the top of the falls Stella decided that it was her turn, so Tony went down first so that he could bottom belay her while I remained at the top so that I could rescue her if the need arose. They were both soon safely at the bottom, and then while they made their way back to the top, I hauled the rope up and packed up. At 3:30 we were all back at the cars after a most enjoyable day. For future reference a 100m rope is essential for the main drop but the way out rope need only be around 30m. To reach the anchor point for ascent rope, traverse the escarpment south for about 70m and there is a rock outcrop with a ramp slope forming a balcony below it. It is obvious when you are there. Deploy the rope to the right of the trees below for the easiest return. This adventure becomes easier as we perfect the return climb, also I am pleased to report no rope damage. I am looking forward to taking more of the club abseilers there. Shane
Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October 2017 : Abseiling Training Days Federal Park and Goonengerry NP
Participants: Andrew C, Mandy G, Exleys K&K, Philip S, Debbie G, John M and leader Shane M
Saturday: It was touch and go whether we would even start the day, raining and more rain forecast. Undeterred everyone turned up and it was decided to stay in the Federal Park pavilion. So we proceeded with four hours of knots and setups. Hanging ropes from the roof and generally doing setups hanging from the roof (under cover). It was not at all bad and after four hours consensus was that we were all prepared for the real deal on the following day. Sunday: Weather was good so we went to Goonengerry. It was originally billed as beyond basics but under the circumstances we went back to the basics. Running through procedures and then some short 5 metre drops to get the feel of the equipment, and then on to a larger 25m drop. There was enough time for everyone to have as many practice runs as they liked. At about 2:30 we packed up the practice area and moved over to the 50m waterfall. It was flowing wonderfully as we pitched the rope between the two streams. This position gave us an easy start and then a sizeable free overhang just to make it more interesting. I anchored from two sizable trees and lay protective canvases and went down first to redirect the rope past a couple of small trees in our path. The ride down was exhilarating as always with a rainbow on the right and left. At the bottom I went bottom belay and waiting for each to come down. No problems were experienced and all were thrilled. When all were safely down we started the scramble back up to the top with a detour on the way to the cliff faces north of our decent. Once back at the top we packed up and headed to Federal for an ice cream, coffee or beer. Unfortunately we arrived at 5:05 and the shop had shut at 5:00 (so take note). Undeterred we went to another Federal establishment. Sitting around on on cushions and with milk crate tables wondering what the refreshments would be like. Actually rather good. At about 5:45 we all headed off having congratulated ourselves on a wonderful day having achieved our goals. Shane
Thursday 17th August 2017: Hell Hole Falls Recce, Mt Jerusalem NP
Participants: Duncan F, Peter L, Wendy H, Brendan W and leader Shane M
We had a rendezvous at the locked gate at the top of Middle Ridge Fire Trail at 10:00 AM which ended up being 11:00 AM due to missed emails. We walked the 2.5 kilometres to the top of the falls by-passing the top two swimming holes. The anchoring arrangements were unknown so we were a little taken back with the bolt heads only at the top of the falls. We had with us ample fixing hardware and the club's 2 x 70 metres of 10.5 millimetre rope. After a little experimentation Duncan ably fixed the anchor with two prusik loops. (Two removable hanger plates have been ordered for next time). Initially the two ropes were deployed as a double as we expected to be able to continue down the second pitch from the initial anchor. This first pitch was approximately 30 metres into knee deep pool ( water not particularly cool). Care needed with the rope protection, next time need approximately 2 continuous metres of protection. Reaching the top of the second it became apparent that we were not going to have enough rope to complete the abseil. The solution was to disengage one of the ropes at the top and join the two ropes end to end. With the addition of a sling around a large boulder at the top of the second pitch to take some of the bounce out of the top rope. The first rope being tied short so that the join was above the second pitch (also note that it is possible to scramble back up from this point along the SW face). The second pitch is from the NE side of very narrow gorge. with an awkward entry falling from an overhang grounding again about 6 metres below its initial entry. From there the slope descended for 35 metres, at times in the water flow, to a ledge approximately 2 metres wide. It was necessary to then change direction slightly and flip the rope above around the protruding N face. Another overhang in water flow and a drop of approximately 10 metres and we were in a pool at the bottom. The pool at the bottom to me was knee deep although others managed to swim or stay dry by going around the edges. Duncan, the last down, released the sling anchor from the boulder before his descent enabling the rope retrieval from the top later on. While waiting for all the crew to arrive at the bottom Peter went a little down stream looking for the exit. He did not come back empty handed. We were all soon following him up a very steep and loose slope back to the top and our waiting gear. It was by this time 3:00 and starting to cool off. Just as well as it was a bit of a sweaty grunt back up to the cars carrying all the wet gear. On completion the verdict was a most enjoyable and respectable abseil and definitely on the agenda on 23rd September. Taken from the lengths of rope used we had a 30 metre pitch and then a 50 metre pitch. Thanks to the excellent and competent participants. Shane