Abseil / Canyoning Reports

Here is a collection of Abseil / Canyoning Activity Reports for 2020

Others may be found under their year.

Boogarem Falls, Koonyum Range 27th December 2020

Participants: Karl S, Rick K, Nigel A, Catherine T, Debbie G and Leader Shane M

We started at Koonyum Range Road turnoff at 8:30. We then made our way up to the top of the main falls. There was a good flow from the recent rains and the weather was warm to mild. It was decided to use the available trees as anchors and the 100m x 11mm was deployed mid stream which guaranteed a wet ride. Nigel and myself disappeared to the south escarpment and deployed the 50m x 10.2mm as an exit assist. It should be noted that the anchor point for this is a gum tree of 20cm diameter just below a small 2m cliff. It is necessary to ensure that it is fully deployed so that it can be reached from below. Back at the falls we each took turns at the descent. This was a truly wonderful experience; the noise and the massage were most enjoyable. The exit from the rope was at the 80m mark on a ledge. Some however did the full 100m and then climbed back. All together at the bottom we did the climb to ascend rope. Here Karl and myself left them to do the prusik up while we went along further to the alternative that I had found on my previous visit. This exit passes another two small creeks / waterfalls and takes you to an old logging track beside the second creek and up to Boogarem Road. We arrived back at the top of the falls to hear that Rick had gone down again. We then pulled up the rope and waited for Rick's return. He was soon back having retrieved the exit equipment. All that was left to do was the 500m scramble and walk back to the cars on the road. We were all then off to the debrief and lunch at Mullum Middle Pub it was about 1:30. We parted company about 2:45. What an excellent day it was. Competent crew and enjoyable company. Shane

Warrazambil and Collins Creeks, Border Ranges NP Recce 6th December 2020

Participants: Jimi S, Jake S, Karl S, Alan G, Simon C and Leader Shane M

We started super early in Lismore and arrived to drop off the bottom shuffle car at Warrazambil Creek on Turpentine Road before 7:00. We then made our way up to the source of the creek and were met by Jimi and Jake who had come in from the Nimbin end. We then saddled up with so much gear needed to cover as many possible eventualities. The drop down the creek was pretty steep and loose but we made it to the main drop at 9:00. Looking over the edge there were a few gasps. How far or how high is that? We employed the rangefinder to find it is 120 metres. Now the options were put forward, we had 4 x 60m of rope so we had enough if we joined two of them. The backup was in question and the distance not 100% confirmed. It was all overhang and would be difficult passing a knot while dangling away from contact with the cliff. What if it is further closer to the cliff than we were able to see. We pondered for a least an hour before deciding to retreat for another day when we might be better prepared. Distance to the top of the waterfall was 2.4km and descent and ascent 250m.

Back at the cars it was decided to take a look at Collins Creek Falls which was just a short drive further on. At 1:30 we started the descent to Collins Creek and arrived at the top of the falls shortly afterwards. The look over the edge revealed a ledge less than 60m below. A guesstimate as the rangefinder had suffered a drowning. Anchoring from a large tree near the precipice, two ropes were deployed and Jim and Jake rappelled down without incident. We heard back that the cliff below the ledge was at least as big as Warrazambil so nothing could be done with the gear that we had available. It was then a matter of waiting for the two J's to prusik / ascend back up the ropes while the rest of us 'rested'.

Conclusion from the two recces. Warrazambil Falls would require at least 130m of rope plus the same again as a backup. Collins Falls the same. So maybe sometime in the future we will get to do these iconic waterfalls in our backyard. The great crew was especially appreciated . Shane

N3 Recce of Mt Neville Cliffline. 29 July 2020

Participants: Debbie G, Nigel A, Gary W and Leader Shane M.

We arrived at Googarna Road and were walking at 9:00. Down the old track passed our previous exit point and continued toward the Kunghur Flying Fox until we reached 260-446 at 11:00. This was an intersection where there used to be a sign pointing down the slope to ??. The sign has disappeared, well it was 10 years ago. It used to say Mulgum Falls. After a breather we headed down the old track. The going was a lot harder with alot of vine tangles. At 258-445 we were delighted to find a substantial old bridge over what appeared to be permanent water, a good find as very close to the main Flying Fox/Sphinx Rock track and just 200m off the main track. Continuing down there were numerous old logging tracks coming from both sides. We reached the end of the track in some fairly thick scrub but we could just get a glimpse of a very steep drop off, in excess of 100m. Time was getting away from us and we had reached 1:00 which was the agreed turnaround time. Our end point 262-445 was generally agreed to be a good camp spot for a future multi day recce. Heading back to the car along the early route we were back at the top at 4:00 having covered 16.4km and climbed 600m. Although we didn't get to see the falls we did find water which has opened the whole area up to further investigation. A great day out with good company. Shane

N2 Asseil Baptism Saturday 11 July 2020

Participants: Debbie G, Catherine T, Nigel A, Gary W, Karl S and Leader Shane

There was a little confusion and a flat tyre but we still managed to start walking by 9. Down Googarna to the source of our creek, then scrambling through the wet forest to the top of the falls arriving at 10 ish. We were pretty well ladened with 2 x 70m and 2 x 50m and 1 x 30m plus assorted tape ropes as we really did not know what to expect. Nigel and Gary went off to the north about 30m and down to install the two x 15m tapes for our return ascent. In the meanwhile a suitable anchor point and launch point was selected from the many options. We decided on a high anchor with the 30m to take us down to the launch point proper. There one of the 70m was deployed with rope protection. Instructions were left for the rope to be moved after each use to move the wear points. I was first down, a drop with good views, not quite dry but not soaking. We could not continue down further until Nigel brought down the second 70m. So we waited for the last, Debbie. To Debbie's alarm the rope had suffered severe damage and needed to be isolated at that point. It was fortunate that Debbie had another descender available at this the halfway point and she expertly bypassed the isolated damage. There was 15m of end rope at the bottom so it was 55m from our launch spot plus the initial 15m or so. Soon all were on the first shelf. It was decided to scramble around the second drop of 10m and start again from the second shelf. Here we deployed the other 70m to the north-west of the falls to stay out of the water flow. The chosen anchor point was above some vegetation with the view below obscured. Nigel went down first and we fed him the rope from above. ( A very good method to avoid tangles). We all in turn disappeared below to Oohs and Ahhs, a most beautiful scene, one of the best. Nigel had negotiated the North-West Face scramble even before the next was down. So that problem was solved simply. Simply, but with some precarious rock falls and sliding moments. All was packed up at the bottom shelf and on its way back to the top even before the last had got back to the first shelf. At 3 we were packed up and it was decided to take the same way out as we had come in, this was to avoid any unknowns at this late time. At 4:45 we were back at the cars and happy to have a rest after what was a most enjoyable but taxing day. Another beauty to add to the list. Equipment required 2 x 60m 1 x 30m and a few length of 15m tape rope. Thanks to the crew for being so proficient and good company. Shane

Recce C1 Sunday 5th July 2020

Participants Debbie G, Rick K, and leader Shane M

The usual Federal start. We were walking down at 9:00. The intention was to have a look at the drop off below C1. We deployed a 50m safety line along the previously surveyed route and scrambled down to the bottom of the top drop. There is a ledge with a small pool and a large pervious boulder dam. From there it was possible to scramble down to the next ledge which was about 15m lower. This flat ledge could accommodate at least 6 kitted people. From there a look down to the next ledge was about 40m. We could see an easy clean drop to the floor but no obvious route back save ascending a rope. There was however a ridge line to the north of the creek that would possibly be a way back. The southern side of the creek there were numerous large rocks precariously balanced and should be avoided. This a very secluded spot that has seldom ever been visited. A multitude of possibilities once you get to the bottom of the main drop. For next time a 50m and a couple of 1600mm slings are required for the safety line, but an easy grade 3 scramble down on the safety line. Shane

Recce of Rayners Trail Creeks Thursday 2nd July 2020

Participants: Duncan F, Debbie G, Brett R and Leader Shane M.

8:30 start at Koonyum Range Road. The intention was to follow up on the Recce that was done previously of K2 and the Southern End of Rayners Trail. This time we would start at the Northern End and explore the numerous creeks that find their way over the escarpment to the valley below. The vegetation was fairly open Dry Sclerophyll with braken and that round long strong grass.(you know that type that trips you up). There was water in all the creeks at some place along their path but not continuous as it often disappeared below ground and reappeared further down stream. The edge of the cliff line at the drop offs in each case was fairly vegetated with rough rather than smooth rocks forming sloping ledges for as far down as we could see. Not at all conducive to our sport. The views on the other hand were excellent. Now having surveyed most of the east escarpment of Koonyum Range we still have two good spots K1 and K2, where we are looking forward to taking the members in the near future. We did finish the day with an abseil of K2. Shane

Recce N2 Saturday 27 June 2020

Participants Debbie G, Gary W, Nigel A, Brett R, Stephen M, Philip S, David H, Alan G, Catherine T, Michelle M and Leader Shane M

Rendezvous was 8:30 at the Nimbin Bowlo. Up Mount Nardi to the start on Googarna Road at 9:00, well some got lost on the way so started walking down Googarna at 9:20. We reached the Mulgum Creek culvert at 9:43 and then headed down the ridgeline just NorthEast of the creek. Then it was scrambling through the brush on the way down to the main falls at N1. We stopped here for a gander at the drop off to the valley floor of 90+ metres. The group then became focused on the object of the day's recce, the next falls along the escarpment. I had previously climbed back up these falls from below after abseiling the main N1 and we were looking to add the N2 to our repertoire. Finding the creek was easy enough: it is just the next one due north about 265 metres. Then the trick was to find the way up which is not always easy from above. Michelle explored one possibility but it was not to be. The next was more fruitful and down we went at 275-433 laying return climbing tape as we went. Unfortunately the crew went about 50m lower than was necessary but not a bother. We then climbed back and SouthEast to arrive at the first ledge. It was worth the effort a really good waterfall in three stages. A range finder was used to measure the drops. The results were from the top 60m then 10~15 and a final 40m. Each drop had suitable natural anchors. All looked good enough to add to our repertoire. After Ooohing and Awwing for a short time it was suddenly 1:35 and time to think about our exit. We followed the cliffline balcony along to our waiting tape and were all soon back at the top. The decision was then made to try something different and follow this creek back to Googarna Road. This was a wise decision: a pristine creek in a rainforest, a most enjoyable walk. At 2:40 we scrambled the last 30m vertical to Googarna Road. There was some confusion amongst the crew as their maps only showed the Pholis Gap track back to Mt Nardi. It was necessary to then take them to the Pholis Track to show the view into the mist below. At 2:50 we started the walk back up Googarna to the cars. That was the least enjoyable part of the day, 1.4km with 128m ascent at 9% grade, not that hard without the abseiling gear but worth considering when carrying. We arrived back at the cars at 3:25, so we would have to allow at least two hours for the return. Gear required 60~70m for the first, 20~30m for the second and 50~60m for the last that is allowing for enough rope for the anchor tieing, plus the usual rope protectors. All up a rewarding day out with good company. 6km 392m ascent . Shane

K2 Recce 2020 June 25

Participants Debbie Gooley, Shane Malone and leader John Millard.

A chilly morning turns into a stunning day as we three ventured into Koonyum Range then down the steepest ever fire trail, that is Rayners Track, with us all looking more like that shaky US president on his tottering ramp walk. The reward was a spectacular, sparkling clear view over Mullum to the Pacific coast line.

This was a recce of some new cliffs after a recent walk there had discovered many climbing bolt in the rock face suggesting that this had been a favoured rock-climbing crag.

The recce was well worth the effort after several 40m descents and some valuable ascent training by the old dude, under the wise guidances of the other two, proved that this new site, christened ’K2’, was a great addition to the club’s abseiling repertoire. There is something special when half way down a cliff face you then look out on a vast spectacular vista below and beyond … just Wowww !

We all just enjoyed hanging out in this delightful setting and will undoubtedly return with greater numbers to work over these crags. Thanks once again for Shane’s tireless efforts and guidance that helps activate these great abseiling moments. John M.

Abseiling Report for G1 on 2020 June 17

Particpants Debbie Gooley, Nigel Allen, Gary White and Leader Shane Malone

It was the usual 8:30 Start at Federal and after getting our caffeine fix we were off. We walked to the start of G1, a down hill along roads/tracks of only some hundreds of metres. We decided on where we would drop off and then went further along the escarpment looking for a suitable exit slope. Nigel went down and laid the 80m rope for our return. With Nigel there at the end of the rope so he could direct us on our return we returned to the top of the falls. The drop at the fall did not appear to be more than 60m but the 100m rope was deployed through some of the foliage and to the bottom of the falls. It was a smooth ride down with some really spectacular views of the waterfall and the valley below. There was 39m of excess rope at the bottom so we could have used a 60m with an alternate archor system. The climb out was a real surprice, as we traversed the ledge at the bottom of the cliffs looking for Nigel we found a ramp that took us about 3/4 of the way back to the top. Unfortunately it became a little tricky without a top rope. So we summoned Nigel to bring the rope that he had been patiently minding. Soon we were all back at the top and ready for another go at the main drop. Why not the rope assisted climb out was a breeze. The 80m was used for the rope assisted climb out and there was 24m of that unused so really a 60m for that purpose would be fine. All up a wonderful day in the bush finding another venue for our members. Next time two 60m ropes and some anchor slings. Shane

Goonengerry Abseil/Ascent Training 11 June 2020 - Trip Report

Participants - Shane M, Catherine T, Debbie G, Nigel A, Riley V, John M, Leader Peter Wly

It is hard to know where to start with our trip report. As a summary, this was an incredible day out. We could not have picked a better day. The early fog cleared to a crystal clear sky with amazing views across the valley, from the top of our descent, to a waterfall in Nightcap National Park that we do not normally see flowing. The recent rain contributed to the flow in all the creeks and made for some great scenery.

Our descent was the top of old climbing routes on the Goonengerry cliffs approximately 200 metres north of the second waterfall. The descent is marked by two anchor bolts that would have been previously been used by climbers. We opted for a combination of tree anchors and a high redirect that provided a clean descent option protecting our rope as we all descended the first 35m to a large ledge.

The ledge provided two descent options, the first, approximately 40m, was down through a chimney (crack) with ledges, chockstones, and other challenges that made for an interesting drop. The second was a more vertical 45m cliff face that made for a great abseil.

We then conducted a number of different ascents, both up through the chimney and the vertical cliff face, back to the ledge. A few opted to walk out and do another abseil down to the ledge to experience both descent options. Credit goes to Catherine who ascended the 45m to the ledge and then offered to ascend the remaining 35m to get our water bottles and return to the ledge for yet another descent.

The final walk out back to the top of our descent resulted in a quick vote to work out who would descend to the ledge to de rig all the ropes and anchors and do one more ascent back to the top. Catherine won the ballot with an interesting twist. The remainder of the group offered to setup a rescue system to bring Catherine back up the 35 cliff face. This proved to be a good training exercise that used hardware components from a number of attendees to create a 3:1 pulley system with progress capture to safely bring Catherine back to the top of the cliff.

This was a great day out. I am sure every attendee enjoyed the descents options and also picked up some ideas to help with more challenging outings in the future.

We still need to come up with a name for this descent. Catherine’s Folly is close, but not quite...I’ll leave it up to others to put other suggestions forward.

Thanks again to all who provided input and helped both Nigel and I create safe anchors and descent options for our group. I cannot think of a better way to spend a day out.


Boomerang Falls Abseil 7th June 2020 – Trip Report.

Particpants – Debbie G, Rick K, Catherine T, Shane M and Leader Peter Wly

Our group met on Old Mill Rd and completed our Club Activity/Attendance sign on before starting the short walk down to the top of the falls. Interesting point here is to let new members know that you can direct deposit the rope/gear fee into the Club account using the account details under the abseiling funds and equipment page, as an option to cash on the day.

A releasable anchor was setup and a number of options demonstrated to the group before we started the descent. Boomerang Falls is a spectacular abseil, with even the dry option being just a little bit wet! The direct descent through the falls is a definite wet suit, or summer option. The climb out is a bit of a scramble but is relatively quick and allows for multiple jumps to be had. Special mention goes out to Rick who managed five descents!

Boomerang Falls is a very accessible abseil, with just a short walk from the cars leading to a large area on the top of the falls well suited to a morning tea or lunch break on future trips. I highly recommend this trip to our new abseilers as a way to build waterfall skills for more advanced trips in the future.

Gary and Kath took the opportunity to walk in and say hello, given how close Boomerang Falls is to their home, and yes we took up their offer to call through for afternoon tea on the way out.

Thanks to the group for your support and constructive comments. Next time I will double check that my GoPro battery is not flat! Peter Wly

Sunday 8th March ~ Abseil Mackay's #3 , Nightcap NP

Participants: Debbie G, Catherine T, Brendan W, Rick K, Nigel A,Tony L and leader Shane M

We had the usual meeting at The Channon Tavern Car park at 8:30 and pooled cars to Terania. We were climbing the hill at 9:00 and after 56 minutes we were at the ford / bridge on number #3. We headed down to the creek, there was fire damage on the ridges parallel to the creek but it had seldom reached the actual creek. As we approached the escarpment we saw there were obviously easier routes down along the ridges, though nowhere near as pretty. At the top of the first pitch the fires had reached the anchor trees and consumed the anchors from the previous visits and deposited small tree debris everywhere. The anchors were replaced and most of the loose debris removed. The 70m was deployed as a double and I was off to the top shelf in a good flow of water. At the shelf the fire has also consumed the anchors and I busied myself replacing those and receiving the other ropes by flying fox, then Rick came down and joined me. All then came down passing the top shelf and going to the next a further 5m down. Rick then got back on the line and joined the group. I then tested the pulling of the top rope and was happy enough with that. I then deploy the two 100m ropes and tried them off at a short length to prevent spillage. I then got onto the 100m ropes and dropped to just below the anchors so that I would still be able to see the 70m rope up to the top anchor. I pulled down that first pitch quite easily. Lowering to the lower shelf and the crew, I set about installing a mat rope protector. With that done I attached the two 100m rope bags to me and head down the next 80m drop. It was a smooth ride with just a little water while the main waterfall pounded down beside. All then came down in quick succession and then the dreaded moment where we pull the two 100m. In the past it has been a real hassle and on few occasions has required a return to the top to retrieve the ropes. On this occasion it was a breeze, no trouble at all. So we may have finally sorted that. The scramble and then the walk down the creek was beautiful as always. We were at the cars and then back at the Channon Tavern by 3:30 having a good chin swag about future trips. All in a really wonderful day in great company. Shane

Sunday 1st March - Abseil Sphincter Falls Mt Jerusalem NP

Participants: Gary W, Nigel A, Debbie G, Catherine T, Graeme W, Rhonda W, Peter W, Jimi S, Jake S, Tomas H, Yuliana H, Rick K, Tim M, Peter Wly and Leader Shane M

We met at the corner of South Chowan and Mann Roads at 9:00 and drove to our start leaving a couple of cars at Unicorn Falls. It was the largest group that I had taken to these falls. We welcomed new club members Graeme and Rhonda and Yuliana from BAQ the rest were old faces. With so many the intention was to lay three ropes so that the queuing would be reduced. I laid the 25m x 11mm to the shelf on the eastern face in the stream and then the new Petzl Club 10.1mm from that shelf to the valley below. While the crew were taking turns on that run I went to the cave side of the stream and laid the 70m x 10.5 Edrid above the cave. We all then had several goes at each of the pitches. The pitches were totally different, one a wet and wild canyoning and the other more sedate straight abseil. It was a good mixture. The third rope was not deployed. The crew spent the next few hours going down and climbing back. About 3:00 we packed up and headed for the debrief at the Main Arm Store. Parting company at 4:00. A most enjoyable day was had in good company. Shane

Saturday 15th Feb 2020 Abseil/canyoning Kinnanes Falls Carney Creek Main Range National Park

Participants: Gary W, Nigel A, Kaitlin A, Alan G and Leader Shane M

We started at 5:30 in Lismore and arrived at the bottom of the cliffs at 9:30. There was little fire damage in the lower slopes but the area we scrambled up to the verandah ledge and to the creek entry had all been burned severely. I could see on the approach that there was a large flow out of the top pool and down to the second pitch and debated whether it was safe to proceed. Decision made we went down to the fast following creek and donned our wetsuits and gear. There were new tree obstacles that took some getting around but we were at the 5m log drop soon enough. The 50m rope was deployed and I used it as a safety before the slipway unfortunately it was not long enough to reach either the bottom of the slipway or the top of the second pitch. The problem was that the four rope bags had to be secured lest they disappear, along with me down the falls. So I tied one of the 70m ropes to the end of the 50m and then watched as it disappeared around the corner leaving a trail of rope. I slid down the slipway and saw that the bag had disappear over the edge. Unable to completely pull up the bag due to the bag catching and all the waterflow. I managed to get enough up and do an Alpine Butterfly and secure the rope to the fixed anchor points, this relieved the tension on the 50m rope enabling Gary to come down to the top pool. The other bags were then sent down and secured. Then the 70m was released from the 50m which enabled it to be pulled down. A second 70m was then secured to the loose end above the butterfly, once that was done they were then thrown over the edge and the butterfly was released. We now had the middle pitch setup and I proceeded to do the middle pitch. The water flow was incredibly powerful putting a lot of pressure on the rope below the hydrobot requiring a two handed feeding of the device. Approaching the second shelf the force was even more intense as the water had accelerated down from 50m above. The other two rope bags were then flying foxed down. Unfortunately one of the bags split on impact and became disconnected from the rope from above. I managed to secure one of the ropes but watched helplessly as the split bag disappear below. We all came down and congregated at the pool on the second ledge. This was an anxious time waiting to see if we could pull those top ropes. We had one of the first pitch ropes over the edge and down on the bottom pitch and were unable to pull it back. I had placed a link on the pull side of the ropes and was super thankful that it was on the stuck rope. The ropes from above pulled down with a little effort and were rethreaded through the bottom fixed anchors. So we have now two surplus ropes, 50m and 70m which were sent down ahead. All that remained to do was the bottom pitch. It was a lot easier than the previous as it was possible to have a rest for a couple of times in or out of waterflow on the way down. We were all soon down safely after a most exhilarating and very challenging couple of drops. There were a lot of lessons learnt. From the top of the log pitch down the slipway and across the pool to the top of the middle pitch requires a 70m. There is no other exit possible from this point except ascending the rope back to the top. From the top of the bottom pitch it would be possible to exit using a 50m rope and reach a ridge line running to the gorge floor.. A week or two later after big storms would be much safer. For safety this abseil requires 4 x 70m ropes at least, preferably floating rope. At no time were we ever unable to proceed as there was always the option of using a single rope and leaving recovery of them for another day. This was the most challenging day that we have faced, and all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Thanks to my very competent abseiling mates. Shane

Sunday 2020-02-09 Boogarem Falls Abseil Koonyum Range

Participants Nigel A, Gary G, Catherine T, Dave Adams, and leader Shane M.

We met at the corner of Koonyum Range Road and Wilsons Creek Road at 9:00 and pooled into two cars. We were soon parked next to a raging creek. Loaded up we headed, mostly by wading down, to the escarpment. The first job was to setup the recovery rope. The place is about 75m south of the creek before the next gully and stream and below a small bluff. We used a 50m rope in a deployment bag, endeavouring to get it down as low as possible. As it happened, I still had to abseil down a bit to ensure a good deployment. It was then back to the top of the falls. Two 100m ropes were deployed each as a single independent rope from the available anchor bolts. The reasoning for the two ropes being much safer and easier on the ropes. The abseil descent line was not quite right so we offset around a small tree to get us clear of the main flow. One of the two 100m ropes was in a deployment bag and the other a brand spanking new one was coiled. The bagged rope deployed well and the new one was flayed at the top twice before it was deployed. It was a surprise on going down to find that we really had not missed the main falls by much and were in for a bucketing. About 30m down the new rope had turned in an almighty knot and there was no way of pulling up the end of it which was caught in some minor tree debris. I believe it was at least twenty minutes of hanging in mid air untangling it before I could finally descent the remaining 60m. At the bottom the spray and breeze from the falls was wonderful for about the next two down and from then on it was getting a bit chilly waiting. Gary and Nigel headed off up the scramble independently and then the rest of us. It was an easy scramble up the south face to the base of a bluff where our return rope was perfectly positioned. There was at least 20m excess rope at the bottom so next time a 30m rope will suffice. Gary had already negotiated the rope by the time we reached it. Nigel was using a prusik with difficulty. Dave acquired a new skill with an ascender and his Hydrobot in reverse mode. Catherine followed and then myself. By the time we got back to the top of the falls the ropes had been pulled and returned to the cars. What an amazing day in our wonderful area, excellent company on what would have been a dreary wet day at home. Shane

Sunday 2nd February 2020 Hell Hole Mt Jerusalum NP

Participants: Gary W, Peter W, Nigel A Leader: Debbie G

Our group of 4 experienced abseilers gathered at 9am on Middle Ridge Road for a leisurely stroll down hill to the falls. The swimming hole at the top of the falls looked very inviting on arrival but with the heat building we set the rope instead. Gary, Nigel and I descended the first pitch while Peter stayed behind to watch the gear as a steady stream of visitors were turning up to swim. We set the rope for the second drop which has previously been accessible from a fallen tree, a solid easy place to descend into the overhang. The tree has since been washed away resulting in a tight rock squeeze before dropping clear. On the second shelf after discussing the alternatives it was decided to follow the water flow and abseil the overhang, a more challenging but fun drop. Safely at the base we proceeded to find the trail back to the top which had been covered by a number of fallen trees resulting in a wall of lawyer vine to negotiate. Back at the top as Peter descended there was time for a swim before packing the ropes in preparation for the uphill haul back to the cars. A totally enjoyable day as always. It should be noted that this is not a beginners abseil as both confidence and skill are needed to negotiate both the 2nd and 3rd pitch. Debbie

Friday 31 Jan 2020 Mackays #4 Abseil Rope Retrieval

Participants: Debbie G, Catherine T, Gary W, Nigel A, Brendan W, and Leader Shane M

9:00 at the Channon Tavern Carpark. Up that hill with all the gear and arrived at 11:30 at the creek. The water flow was considerably down on the previous weekend, but still a good steady flow. The scramble to the escarpment was easy as all the tangles had been consumed by the fires. The object was to find why the ropes on the second pitch had failed to pull down. The simplest of blockages, a small piece of wood had wedged itself in the shackle at the end of the anchor. It was decided to move the anchor point back to the previous position and add a little more chain to get the rope end over the edge away from the rocks. Unfortunately we were still about 300mm short of the desired location. Needs must, we put a rope tube protector on the 300mm and all did the pitch to the second shelf but before the last had left the top an attempt was made to pull the rope to ensure that it would come down. The length of excess rope from the second pitch was measured at 26mm. So that pitch was only 44m. That accomplished and with Brendan last man down, the First and Second pitch ropes were pulled bundelled and sent to the bottom. The last drop was completed and the rope pulled successfully. The First pitch was a 50m doubled with about 1m excess, so a 24m drop. On the previous visit the excess on the bottom ropes was measured at 26m and the top drop was 24m. So 70m + 70m + 24 - ( 24m + 26m) = 114m total. For the record 5 x 50m of rope are required for the venue. A good day with plenty of action and a good result. Shane

Sunday 26th January 2020 Mackay's #4 Abseil

Participants Catherine T, Rachael H, Nigel A, Gary W, Debbie G and Leader Shane M.

Started at the Channon Tavern Car Park at 8:30 and then off to Terania. We were all loaded up with 4 x 70m and 1 x 50m of 10.2mm Salamander canyoning rope which is quite a load on top of all our personal abseiling gear. We took an hour or so to reach the top of the hill and then a moment or two break next to the cascade next to the track. I had decided to avoid the sub 10m falls between the track and the escarpment to save time. I usually do them to judge the performance of participant before the real thing, there was no need on this occasion. So we went a further 100m up the track to the fork that leads along the ridge line. The creek powering on our right. There was a really good flow and would have been worth doing the smaller one. Before the end of the ridge we slipped down to the creek and waded along to the top of the big drops. Plenty of water more than I had seen on my many previous visits. The near vertical sides of the creek completely naked and burned to black must have been horrific when it happened. At the escarpment the 50m was deployed around the horizontal tree at the top and I went down to the first ledge. There was barely a metre or two left at the bottom of the rope so the 50m was the right choice. At the ledge a sling was retrieved from a previous expedition and a new easier anchor point was sort. This took some time. The next drop was done on two 70m to the next ledge while above the crew came down to the first ledge. Arriving at the second ledge I was mortified to find one of the anchors there had been hit by a large boulder and was deformed considerably. Testing it took some time but it did appear serviceable and there was a backup second anchor which was perfect. The second set of 70m were deployed to the valley floor and the abseil to the bottom was done. The use of rope deployment bags definitely made life easier for the first person down, no untangling of ropes at all. Debbie pulled the top 50m when all had reached at least the 2 ledge without incident and then Debbie and Catherine tried to pull the first set of 70m from the second ledge but unfortunately it was a no go, still not sure why. It was decided to leave them and retrieve from above at a later date. All down the bottom 70m set was pulled without incident. It was noted that there was 24m of excess rope on the last pitch so it could have been a 50m set. There was also a fair amount of excess on the second pitch although the excess was not measured, will have to check next time. All down and ropes packed we headed for the exit. Possibly one of the most beautiful creeks that I know of, especially on this day with all that water. A really great day a pity it was spoiled by leaving a set of ropes behind. On the other hand great because now we have an excuse to do it all over again. Thanks to the crew for a safe enjoyable day. Shane

Thursday 23rd January Goonengerry Abseil Training

Participants Catherine T , Peter W, and leader Shane

A low key day of doing rescues. Ascending using different methods and passing a knot in the rope. We also did a few transfers of an incapacitated abseiler from a rope and lowering to the ground. The number of participants on day definitely added to the productivity of the event. We will have to do this exercise much more often. Shane

Saturday Sunday 4th & 5th January 2020 Iron Pot Creek Abseil Camp

Participants Alan G, Isabel G, Gary W, Nigel A, Kaitlin A, Paul L, David H, Phil S, Yuliana H, Catherine T, Peter W, Rick K and Leader Shane M

With so many parks closed due to the fires it was surprising we found Toonumbar NP open, and it was decided to do something that had long been on the agenda. Some arrived on Friday afternoon and made themselves comfortable and the rest arrived Saturday morning before 9:00. The two days that followed were 38C, so it was hot!

Saturday: A 9:30 start at the overgrown Poor Bullock Road we loaded up with all the gear went for 2 km before we left the track and headed down the slope to above the top falls. That distance was only 1 km, we had about 500m of open forest before we met the vines, then it was a struggle. That 1km took us from 11:00 to 12:25. Then it was lunch and rigging the anchors. Deploying the rope there was much debate about how high the drop was. It is very deceptive from above. So with a little anxiety I went down the 70m rope hoping that I would not have to lengthen the rope on the fly with an additional rope. There were several ledges on the way down which afforded a respite and an untangling of the rope. It was pleasing reaching the end of the rope exactly at the bottom. The 2.5m stretch under my load being just enough to get me there. It was then everyone in turn which took the rest of the usable day. Leaving all in position we all climbed back up the right side wall arriving back at the anchors at the top at 5:00. We packed up our gear and headed back to the track by our route from a previous time, much easier. We were at the cars at 6:30 and the weary souls (and soles) were relaxing at camp at 7:00.

Sunday: We all decided on an early finish so we abbreviated the proposed Recce and just walked 1.1km along an unmarked track along the ridge line above Smith's Creek. Then it was an easy descent to the creek, 660m with a 145m descent arriving at 755-453, which was 300m upstream from where we found the waterfalls on the previous visit. There was a trickle and some water in pools. Morning tea and a walk up the creek looking for some desirable features. None were found after 1.7m of rock hopping. Then it was the ascent back to the ridge track, 227m with 80m ascent. We were in our cars at 12:00 and pleased to have finished.

Notes: For Eden Creek Upper. Required 25m ~ 30m for anchors and 80m for the descent both 11mm. One mat protector for the top ledge. Could end in water pool.

We had originally intended doing upper and lower. Time constraints caused a curtailing of the lower.

Thanks to the participants for a pleasant weekend doing what we love. Shane