SUNNYSIDE RIDGE – 25 August 2019 Day 3 of our Sunnyside Ridge Trifecta. A couple of years ago John and I (and others) had explored Gang Gang creek and its uninspiring canyon. But, we did come across a major side creek that had a big cavern formed by a massive rock fall. We couldn’t go any further but determined that we’d come back from upstream of the rock fall to check out the creek. So, here we were, off on another adventure.We were a relatively small group, John G, Min, Trish N, Heather R and me. We took abseil gear and ropes just in case, I seriously doubted we’d need them but as it turned out this turned out to be our most adventurous trip. I think the words that Trish and I muttered were “no way we’re getting up that!” but, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.
We parked on a fire trail and went looking for a trail bike track that John had spotted on Google Earth (what did we do before the internet?). Found the bike trail and followed it down until we came to the headwaters of the side creek.
Our first photo op was “Lot’s Wife” a feature named by the Michael Keates crew.
Basically, a bit of rock that’s standing away from the rest of the cliff face. It was interesting, but I wasn’t as willing to go that close to the edge as the others were.
We then headed further downstream and came to a side creek, surrounded by cliff-lines, so we decided to abseil down – the first of two abseils. Trish about to start off.
Heather on the really nice abseil, nothing technical.
Min about to abseil the second stage, again another nice abseil.
Heather about to go down.
A much better shot of Min on the second abseil. (Photo: John G)
And then Trish, a couple of overhang sections to drop over.
At the bottom of the abseils we were able to look at Gang Gang Falls, not that impressive, but they have been named. If we’d had longer ropes we could have abseiled the falls, but they weren’t impressive enough to consider coming back at a later date with longer ropes.
Beside the falls there was a bit of an overhang, or wind eroded cave, full of tree ferns, very pretty looking out to the cliff we’d just abseiled down.
We then got into the scrubby section of the creek and headed downstream looking out for the rock fall which was towards the end.
Heather on one of the logs that we walked over to avoid getting our feet wet.
We found a side creek that we thought looked canyon-like so we headed up. John thought that it would be good to come back at a later date to abseil from above, it did look like a good abseil.
Me on the short climb up to the waterfall. (Photo: John G)
A little further downstream and we came to a rock-fall. Looked like the entrance to our cavern. It was really dark inside (thank goodness a few of us had head torches), but it wasn’t the rock-fall we were looking for. It came opened out to another section with daylight.
And then we came to the rockfall that we recognised. Min went down first with a handline to make sure there wasn’t a gaping chasm below.
It was all good, Trish on the downclimb. I thought maybe we could have gotten down on the right but it was a no go. From the level I’m at, there’s no way that you could have walked upstream from here (but maybe from outside the rock fall there was a way up and over, who knows).
Part of the rock fall turned into a small dark cave.
So, we’d achieved all our objectives (Lots Wife, the Falls and the rock fall), now it was time to find a way out. John, looking at Google Earth, thought there were two possible gullies on the rh side going down stream. I had my doubts, but it was still early in the day, we had plenty of time to find a route up through the cliffs.
At the first gully/side creek, John and Min did a bit of a climb up to check it out. Trish and I just sat waiting for them to come back, we both thought no-way were we going to get around the small waterfall that we’d come too. Nevertheless, Min persevered and John came back with the news that there was a way … although Min had had to do a Jackie Chan move (if you’ve ever seen the movies you’d know what this means). I wasn’t keen at all – considering the Jackie Chan move, but thought I’d at least check it out. By the time I made my way to where Min said I was now on safe ground it was too late to go back. There were some very sketch hand and foot holds though.
We set up a hand-line for Trish, she’s just making her way around the rockface now with Heather giving her instructions.
Trish looks like I looked at the end of that climb up – just so glad to be in the safe zone!
But there was another challenge ahead, although thankfully this one had no exposure. Just chimney across a pool of water – and then a climb up. Heather made it look easy and in fact the chimney across the pool was dead easy.
Although Trish decided that it was way easier to just walk through the pool. We used the handline again here.
The next part was tricky, only a 1.5m climb but hardly and foot/hand holds. John very kindly let Trish and me use his knee and shoulder, and then it was easy.
Trish, very thankful to be past that little climb. It was then an easy walk up some pagodas.
View looking down into the side creek we’d just climbed out of.
And the view over Gang Gang Creek.
It was a simple walk out after we got onto the pagoda, probably only 1/2 an hour off track back to the fire trail and we were about 500m from our cars.
Great trip thanks John, and Trish and I are eternally grateful to you and Min for getting us past the climb out.
So, that’s another trip off the Wish List. Our next adventure with John will be in November when we hit Yarramun Creek for some unpublished canyons, can’t wait.
Banner: The wildflowers are starting go come out, there was a lovely little pink one but it was always up on a cliff or too far away for me to get a shot, maybe next time. Thumbnail: Heather on the 1st abseil.
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