SPRING CREEK – Kings Tableland – May 13 & 14, 2017
You know you’re an optimist when someone says “nah nothing there” and still you go looking for a canyon! Following on from the great abseil trip down Blue Drum Creek on Kings Tableland, I got to thinking “there’s got to be some other multi pitch abseils in the area” (apart from Waterfall/Camp Cave Creek).
I contacted some of my network for any hints, specifically looking at Spring Creek and Reedy Creek. Undaunted by some “nah nothing there” comments I organised an exploratory trip for this weekend with Steve R and Trish M … they’ll go just about anywhere with me, trusting souls that they are!
One person (thank you Geoff F) forwarded me a trip report from 2012 which indicated that Spring Creek has a drop in it before the waterfall … “noted approx. 584 556 start of canyon”1, that in itself sounded promising. I knew from the outset that if it was any good, surely someone would have explored the area, but then again, back in the 90s and early 2000s, canyoning was in its infancy and there were so many other places to explore that maybe this area had been overlooked by everyone as there was more “low hanging fruit” to harvest with canyons easier to get to … that’s me, always hopeful.
So, the plan was, walk out on the Lions Head Track, and drop down into a little side creek to the east of the track (and Lions Head 4) and check that out. Then, at the end of that creek (“this ended in a substantial waterfall” 1), climb out the eastern side and see if there’s a ledge at the end of the waterfall in Spring Creek that we could get to. Apparently Spring Creek, is in a “semi circular arc of sandstone cliff … at least 200m high and stretching for some 500m” 2. So, we wanted to determine, if, after the start of the canyon, there was any way to exit out of the creek before you got to what might be a 200m drop.
We set off from the car at 9.30 after a wonderful 2nd breakfast at 2773 in Glenbrook and walked out on the Lions Head track.
We skirted around to the east for about 100m and finally were able to make our way down into the creek. There was quite a bit of water.
We tried to skirt around some of it, but there was no relief so just had to deal with it as best we could. Eventually, I knew we were close to the track and so just headed west to it. We reached the track, shook ourselves off and made a bee-line for the car. What had we learned …
- The little creek to the east of Lions Head Track, whilst nice, isn’t worthy of taking ropes and abseil gear for only 1 abseil, and 40m at best.
- Spring Creek in the summer might be ok but the banks were too scrubby and the pools too big to consider doing it in the winter.
- If the scrub around the upper reaches of Spring Creek is anything like the scrub on the plateau, we weren’t going there, so the only way in that’s half-way decent is via our little creek to the east of Lions Head Track. And, the quickest route for that is to go to the saddle immediately before Lions Head and drop 200m into the creek.
- There’s no way to go past the part of Spring Creek which needs a rope and not abseil the waterfall (unless you want to reverse the abseil by prussicing out and who wants to do that!).
So, the only way that you could abseil Spring Creek is if the abseil was less than 60m (cause there’s not many abseilers who’d consider carrying 2 ropes longer than 60m for a couple of hours just to do one abseil!).
Around the campfire, we reassessed the situation and decided that if it was raining in the morning we’d go back to 2773 for a nice breakfast (reward for me dragging them through that horrific scrub), but if it wasn’t raining, then we’d go out to Lions Head Pass and drop down to the base of the cliff line and traverse around to get a look at Spring Creek waterfall from the bottom and determine just how high it was, and if there was the possibility of a multi pitch decent … “close up the falls are not so spectacular, they comprise a number of small falls, dropping short distances and separated by areas of rock”3.
We were up at the top of the Pass with time to spare so thought we’d head over to Lions Head and see if the waterfall could be viewed from there. We walked about 300m and could see Lions Head in front of us, boy that’s a big hill (the hill in the banner up above). We were pretty stuffed and so decided that we’d save Lions Head for another day.
We were back at the car by 3pm and headed off to Glenbrook. 2773 was full of people (Mother’s Day), so we ended up somewhere else!
So, I’m not giving up, I still think that this is a possibility, so I’m heading back either with my camera or with DS and his drone (when he’s mastered it because I don’t want to go down into the valley looking for a drone that’s crashed!). The route in to Spring Creek that I’d take is damned easy, an hour on track, then drop down into the small creek and up the other side, an hour at most. The abseils are the big question (which is why we need the drone), but after that, it’s probably a 2 hour walk at the base of the cliff to Lions Head pass, 1/2 hour up the pass and an hour back to the car – sounds do-able, right?
1 August 1992 – Graeme Holbeach (Sutherland Bushwalking Club) trip notes
2 & 3 May 2012 – Michael Keats (The Bush Club) trip notes
4 On the Topo Map, Lions Head is actually mis-placed (between a small unnamed creek and Spring Creek). It’s actually right on the cliff-line before the cliff heads east over to Spring Creek. So, the one shown on the map is now referred to as False Lions Head.