BLUE MOUNTAINS – David Crevasse – 14 April 2019
Many, many years ago, when I first started canyoning, I suggested to Lindsay B that we do David Crevasse. He shook his head firmly, if he’d had jowls at that time they would have quivered, “NO, no, definitely not, too much lawyer vine”. Well, 25 years later I finally got to do it, and without having to battle the lawyer vine.
Up until a year or so ago, it was usually an overnight trip; that was another deterrent, lawyer vine, boulder hopping AND an overnight pack. Plus, you had to walk upstream on the Grose to Pierces Pass and climb a really big hill to get out, again with a heavy overnight pack. Of course, some fit people (unlike me) did it in a day, usually in the summer with long daylight hours.
Over the years, I’d camped down on the Grose opposite the Crevasse and looked at it longingly, but the thought of lawyer vine and carting an overnight pack through the trip just turned me off.
Then, I heard that you could now do it as a day trip, there was a route and all you had to do was prussik up 12m or so and then it was an easy walk out. How hard could it be? With potential rain forecast on Sunday (which didn’t eventuate), I cancelled my day walk to Mogo (sorry Len), and met up with Rod S, Chris J, Heather R, Chin and Cecile at Mt Banks to do, what would be for us, an exploratory trip, none of us had done it before! Very exciting.
I was unsure as to whether or not we were on the exit route (it’s apparently a “secret” route). But I continued along what I though might be the route and sure enough eventually found a small handline. We stopped for lunch and then tackled the handline which I didn’t like at all, very exposed on one side.
Just beyond the handline we spied the fixed rope. Nice, 11mm and looked new, so we were all confident of using it. Chris and Heather had brought their mechanical ascenders, Rod and I had our prussik loops. Chin, who’d only learned prussiking at the recent Field Day, had new prussik loops to try out.
It would be Cecile’s first go at prussiking, not the best place to learn, but she’s running out of time to do canyons with us as she’s going back to France in July, so we figured we’d top belay her. I prussiked up first, took a while with my prussik loops, and wasn’t at all happy at the top on the teeny tiny ledge that you had to stand on to get off the rope. I set up a safety for everyone to make it safer. Rod came up next and then Heather (with mechanical ascenders) came up very quickly. She then sent the mechanical ascenders down for Cecile.
Once we were all up, we headed up the gully. There was one spot that was a bit exposed, but there were lots of trees to hang onto so I was quickly past that. The rocks in the gully were quite loose, evidence that not many have used the exit yet, after a couple of years, all the loose rocks will have fallen down the gully and the route would be bare rock or hard packed dirt.
The walk out wasn’t too bad, although by the end I was really, really tired. Car to car it was about 9 hours, we could have shaved an hour off that if we’d been more efficient setting up ropes etc, but we wanted to enjoy the trip with each other (it was a great group) and couldn’t see the point in leap-frogging. The walk in/out was 14k so was a good fitness walk for me as there were a few small hills.
Whoever discovered this route in, and put in the fixed rope, a big THANKS! And, thanks Rod for suggesting the trip and agreeing that David Crevasse was a good one to do; thanks everyone for your great company; and thanks Heather for driving to/from the Coast with me (2.5 hours there and back is a long drive for a day trip!).
Banner: the Crevasse was very green with lots of ferns and moss.
Thumbnail: Chin, one of our newest members, waiting with me for the guys on the exit route.
Looks like a nice trip!
Yes, was a good trip, but wouldn’t rush back to do it again, so many other trips out there.
Beautiful scenery! Thanks for sharing!
Yes, the overall feeling I had was of green-ness, very pretty and a nice trip to end the summer canyoning season on.
This is a great article! I didn’t realise that the walk in and out was 10k, pretty intense.
I’d love to get the pictures you took then, do you think you could send them to me?
I can give you my email address.
No problem Cecile, I’ll get the photos to you.
The exit route (the eastern gully of David Crevasse) has been discovered in 1960s and routinely done as a scrambling exit from Grose Valley until 1990s:
So either the bushwalkers of that time have been stronger than today (because today they need to prussik up the fixed rope to ascend what used to be a ropeless scramble) or a rockfall transformed the gully so that it’s no longer climbable without rope.
Yes, before doing the trip I’d read this forum post, and checked out the photo. Not sure if there was a rockfall or not, definitely the vegetation is different (not as much), and it looked exposed (to me, but these days I have exposure issues since a small fall). Others that have done the pass have said that it was a grade 18 climb (but I think that might be too high), for me, I hate climbing so would have used a rope one way or another regardless. I think the bushwalkers of that time probably were either stronger or more fearless, certainly more fearless than me, and a lot of us these days seem to be risk-averse. Plus, (judging from the photo), they were at that time definitely way younger when they did this than me at this point in time (lol), so, am wondering, would the guy in the photo (in his 20s), be expecting his grandmother (me), to do the same climb? I asked someone a similar question a few years ago and the answer was “my mother (or grandmother) wouldn’t be silly enough to do this sort of thing”.
Thanks Marilyn. I agree about your considerations about age vs ability of doing”crazy” stuff. Except that the guy on the picture from 90s is not your grandson but your peer. He’s about my age actually. So likely, he’s still with us and if he reads it & eventually does speak up and shed some light on it, we would very much appreciate this first hand assessment. Was his scramble really grade 18? Did bushwalking clubs of 60s up to 90s organise regular outings involving grade 18 climb unprotected? Hard to believe.
But meanwhile I think the landscape of that exit crevasse must have changed due to rockfall, otherwise why did the route go into oblivion since early 90s and be “re-discovered” only recently as 12m of prussiking up fixed rope?
sorry mate, what route did you travel down?
you came up the David Crevasse?
have you treked in from Mt Hay at all or been down ZObels gully?
can you flick me back to my email incase i miss website post
Hi Tim, as per the blog post, we went down David Crevasse, accessing it via Mt Banks, and then we exited by going up a side gully. I haven’t done Zobels Gully.
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I stumbled onto this post and it revived a lot of memories.
A friend and I set up the first abseil route down Mt Banks, including the bolts (!), and yes, there were 10 pitches about 50m each.
Such a shame it’s now banned, it was a sensational trip.
This is one photo on the overhang on the 7th pitch.
Was going to add a photo, but couldn’t work out how to post it.
I have older friends who did that Mt Banks multi pitch and they told me what a great trip it was, made me very envious, it is a pity that they took out all the bolts/anchors etc. Thanks for your comment!