Abseiling the Shark Hole

CATHERINE HILL BAY – 10 November 2019
Years ago, we’d talked about abseiling into the slot at the Shark Hole, but we never got around to it, possibly because we figured you’d have to prussik out of it, or, I had hoped that you could get out at a really low tide by walking around the rocks.  Turns out the slot is a bit longer than I remembered, there’d be no walking out via the Shark Hole.

AND, someone has kindly put a good solid ladder at the exit route and a good solid rope (on a ring bolt for goodness sake), to use as a handline.  So, it was easy-as!

We had stunning weather! Helena crossing the creek just to the north of Catherine Hill Bay.

Heavily rutted fire trail.  You could probably access this from the beach but you’d need a Big Arse 4WD.  We did see 4WDs on the fire trails we walked along, not sure how they got in there and we were envious as the walk up the couple of hills we had to do were pretty hard, and it was really hot.  Was also way dangerous walking down this as it was like walking on ball bearings.

The ladder we’ll use as the exit – it took about half an hour to set up a safety line to use with the ladder as it was a risk with all the lose rock at the top (photo:  Penny)

Then we set up two pitches, only to discover that it was a little longer than the 30m we expected.  So, Owen (who was first over), had to come back up to the top while we re-rigged our ropes (one double 9 and one single 9mm).

Chris on the double rope.

Me on the abseil, between 35 – 40m (photo: Penny)

Rod and his nephew looking out the end of the slot – what was I thinking imagining that you could walk out the end and around the rocks!

Someone on the double 9 and someone on the single 9.

Penny about to abseil using the single 9mm rope, using my VT prussic!

John G walked around to the rock shelf at the eastern end of the slot and took a photo looking up towards where we were abseiling. I guess, if you were super adventurous, you could swim into the slot, but the sea would have to be super calm and low tide!

After we’d all had our fill of the Shark Hole (some of us doing the abseil a couple of times), we headed over to the rock pool for lunch and then three of us decided to abseil into the Pirate’s Cove.  The Shark Hole was dramatic but the Pirate’s Cove was just as good and in some ways better.

Penny on the abseil, probably about 20m, and mostly overhung.

Alan on the abseil, it was so nice looking out to the ocean.

Photo of Alan taken from inside the sea cave.

The sea cave, probably about 10m deep and would fill with water at high tide.

Looking out from the cave.

Penny and Alan near the mouth of the cave.

Really interesting stuff growing in the rock pools, purple/pink, definitely vegetable (not animal).

The one problem with the Pirate’s Cove is the exit route, up a rock pile and then you are in a gully. There is seepage from somewhere (a spring maybe) which means that the small gully is wet and incredibly muddy and slippery. We did the abseil twice (finding a better way back to the entry track), but our feet were muddy-as by the time we were back up the top, would not have liked a large group going through! (photo:  Penny)

Thank you everyone for joining me on this adventure, and a particular thank you to Alan and Penny for staying for the Pirate’s Cove!



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6 Responses to Abseiling the Shark Hole

  1. Roy Cotton says:

    Thank you M. Did not realise there was such good abseiling so close. Looks like a great time was had by all.

  2. john L'Estrange says:

    A word in your shell-like (I don’t know if you were there when BWOC abseiled there):
    The cliffs in that area are mainly conglomerate and there is a lot of flint. We were using a single rope and an abseiler was rotating on the way down. The rope was bearing against, probably, a sharp flint and it very neatly cut the “mantel” without damaging the “kern”. The next person down arrived at that point and, from the bottom, one could see the “kern” appearing above the abseiler as the descent continued as the device stripped the “mantel”. Some serious prusicking ensued when the “kern” jammed the device.
    You obviously had a great day with superb weather.`

    • marilyn says:

      Yes, I do recall that rope being cut but we weren’t told how it was cut. On Sunday, we weren’t at all happy with the rock, and sadly my rope protectors were in a pack that wasn’t with us! We also weren’t at all happy with the bolts, not sure how long they were, so elected to rig some bomb-proof anchors. It is nasty rock, wont but rushing back there without serious rope protectors.

  3. Jenny hughes says:

    Wow! That sound so exciting! what a great way to spend a hot summers day. I do like the idea of swimming in to make it a real adventure! You could pool pony it Marilyn!

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