HAWKESBURY RIVER – 18 January 2020
You know you’re hard up for an adventure when the prospect of 20-50ml of rain doesn’t deter you. With our weekend of canyoning cancelled due to Parks being closed, Jeff B (trying to prove he hadn’t turned soft) and Heather (who’ll go anywhere with me), decided to ignore the fact that it was going to rain cats and dogs to do a recce and potentially set up a prussic rope so that we could do the Hawkesbury 80m Abseil over the coming months.
Back in November 1996, as a member of BWOC, I did an 80m abseil from cliffs above the Hawkesbury River. We’d parked our vehicles on the southbound side of the M1 (then called the F3) and crossed over to the northbound side of the freeway … obviously there was a lot less traffic than there is today. I suspect that we followed a ridge line around to the abseil point, did the abseil and then we walked a short distance to where a set of ladders were. The ladders had been removed by ’96, so we had to prussic up through the cliff line to our exit creek. We were back at our vehicles by 3.30pm (and we were a group of 12, so wasn’t a long day – either that or we were really efficient). I don’t remember much about this trip other than the abseil, and crossing the freeway!
Over the last 15 years, I’d often thought about putting the trip on for MSS and/or BWOC, I didn’t particularly note where we’d gone, but after pouring over maps for a couple of days, Jeff did a recce to where Jeff believed you could access the cliffs (Recce #1). We found a good safe spot to park the car (there wouldn’t be any crossing of the M1 ever again!) and then set off cross country, eventually dropping down into the creek we would have to cross to get to the abseil site (and then turning back).
Today (Recce #2), we parked in the same safe spot and found that there was a fairly well trodden path that we were able to follow and eventually came to a cairn which marked our entry for the track down to the creek.
We were back at the car by 12.15pm – considering we started at 9am that’s pretty good. Exiting from the top of the main waterfall (where it goes over through the cliff-line), took us about 1 hour. We headed off to a road-house for lunch to reward ourselves.
So, Heather and I have come up with another trip, Recce #3, all we need is a date – we still have to put in the fixed lines to prussic up – and it’s too big a day for us to do that and then do the abseil (lol). We’ll take abseil gear and have a fun day abseiling down through the cliff-line (not usual route in the creek), then, setting up two static ropes we’ll abseiling down and prussicing out, then exit up the creek. We’ll leave the prussic ropes in place and then go and do the full Hawkesbury 80m Abseil trip in the next couple of months!
Thanks Heather and Jeff for joining me on this adventure, wouldn’t have been half as much fun without you guys.