Abseil / Canyoning Reports

Here is a collection of Abseil / Canyoning Activity Reports for 2021

Others may be found under their year.

Black Hand Mountain W1 Abseil Recce 16th, 17th and 18th April 2021

Participants; Alan G, Karl S, Brendan W and Leader Shane M.

Friday after a month of planning and surveying and contacting owners we finally got to do this but it was still touch and go with a heavy rain forecast for Saturday. Brendan and myself arrived around lunchtime on Friday set up camp at the base of Black Hand Mountain and then went into the bush looking for a good spot to practise with a few new pieces of equipment. We arrived back at camp around 3:30 just in time for Karl to arrive in his troopie. Evening meal was under clear skies and the mosquitoes had their dinner at the same time. Soon after dark Alan arrived and we all were in sleeping bags soon after 7:00.

Saturday morning we started before daylight at 5:30 and packed our gear for the day's adventure, piled into two cars for the trip back down from Black Hand and up to the top of the range. The drive took one hour. We then headed down from the road near a culvert which is actually the source of the creek, there was no flow at the top and it was about half an hour before the stream actually started. The slope became steeper as we progressed. At 8:30 we were at the precipice looking at a very beautiful 40m cascade above the main drop. The next task was the selection of an anchoring tree. A 30cm tree was found about 5m back from the edge but poorly positioned for purpose. With the use of redirecting slings we were able to get the rope positioned perfectly. We were carrying a brand new 150m Tendon Canyon Dry 9mm. Was it going to be long enough? How to deploy it without a mid cliff tangle. The rope was flayed into several coils and the end coil was thrown over the edge. Swish as the coils disappear one after another. I was the first to get on the rope and I was relieved to see the rope in the pool at the bottom and no tangles in between. For me the drop was well controlled for about the first 40m with the weight of the rope supplying a lot of extra friction. This changed rapidly after that with a few runaways that I let the self belay catch. They each required a leg loop restart which was an effort while dangling 80m in the air within meters of the wall. My last 5m was a lot faster than I would have liked, landing on my rear end. However down safely and now really feeling the cold from the mist and updraft. Next was Karl, a complete contrast to my drop, very controlled and calm. I believe it took him about 25 minutes to get down. Likewise Brendan and Alan both then followed with each inturn providing a backup bottom belay. At 11:45 the rope was left in situ and we headed off scrambling and rock hopping down stream. We took the left/port bank and tried to remain on the contour. It proved a little harder than the route we had surveyed and with time slipping away we dropped down 80m to be on our previous track and then the pace picked up. We arrived back at our camp at 4:30 as the rain started. We huddled together under the tarp for a few hours with the usual debrief and were off to bed early as we were all quite exhausted.

Sunday we rose 6:00 ish and packed up our gear and loaded the two remaining cars for the trip down from Black Hand and up to the top of the range and the other two cars that were left up there overnight. Karl and Alan volunteered to go down to the cliff edge and pull up the rope. I for one was most grateful for that as I had no great desire to go bashing down there again. So Brendan headed off home and I lingered long enough to decide it was too cold to wait around. My car's thermometer was reading 10c as I left for the bottom. I passed through Sheep Station Creek in 45minutes and it was a balmy 20c down there. At home there was an anxious wait to hear that all went well with the rope recovery. Karl arrived back in Lismore at 4:30.

Conclusion we had a fantastic couple of days in the bush but would have been better with less rain and longer days. No doubt we will be back before the end of the year. Statistics, 8.35km and 1283m descent and it took 9:23 hours from go to whoa.

Well it has now been done. It can only be done the first time once and that was us. Thanks to the crew for their company and competency. Shane

Warrazambil Creek to the Falls 2021-01-30

Participants Debbie G, Karl S, Alan G and Leader Shane M.

The preliminaries involved contacting Hurfords Forests to obtain permission to drive through their property along Black Hand Mountain Road. First contact was Jim R and finally was contacted by Andrew H. Both of these contacts were most helpful and even expressed a desire to join us in our adventure.

So we met at Lynchs and Warrazambil roads and started off up Warrazambil Creek Road and through the two ornate gates and on to Shah Mohamed Saddle. So far so good a rough well used 4WD track. Then the drive up Black Hand Mountain Road. Through the gate onto a not so used (seldom used about 6 mth) into waist high grass. Proceeding slowly as we were not sure what logs/debris lurked in the grass. After about 35 minutes we arrived at the start below the end of Black Hand Mountain.

It was time to saddle up and hit the bush. It started quite easily with open forest with the occasional vines and surprisingly three small flowing creeks. Soon we were on the verandah below 'The Hand' on a narrow (70m wide) fairly level shelf that runs parallel to the creek below. We maintained that contour for some kilometres as the creek gradually rose to meet us 2.7km along at GDA 103 504 it was then 11:00, so you could say the going was slow. We were then boulder hopping and wading with 1 km to go to the falls. The next 700m took 1.5 hours and there was still 300m to go but the falls were in sight. The turnaround time was set at 1:00 and it looked like it would take at least another 1.5 hours to get there so it was decided that Karl and Alan (the fastest of the four) should proceed and the others wait for their return. At 2:00 Alan and Karl arrived back with the mission accomplished and the photographic evidence. After a short break we headed back the way that we had come. It proved to be much faster on the return arriving back at the cars at 5:30.

Then it was off to the debriefing at Wyangary Park and a well earned beverage.

What a good crew.