BLUE MOUNTAINS – 6 November 2021
We were all headed up to the Blue Mountains for the MSS AGM and Annual Dinner, it seemed a waste of a road trip not to at least do a small half day activity as we’d be up there. So I put the hard word on Johan to take us on a nice multi pitch abseil. He settled on Sahara and Kilimanjaro – bonus, the last time I did Kilimanjaro it was a horrible abseil would be good to do it again and this time “get it right”.
It had been raining cats and little dogs for the week prior to the trip, and it was with trepidation that we arrived at the designated spot, we all anticipated getting wet during the day as rain was forecast.
As we wanted to be in Little Hartley in the early afternoon, we set the start time at 8am. Then Johan and I stood around and determined how long the trip would take, he estimated we’d be back at the cars by 11am – yep, maybe we didn’t need to start that early, but if something had gone wrong, we wanted a bit of time up or sleeve. Mind you, if something did go wrong, getting to Little Hartley on time would have been the least of our problems!
Ali worked with Johan, learning the ropes so to speak. Here she is deploying the rope for our first abseil, Sahara, 30m.
The rope became tangled in some trees below, so she had to deploy half of it again.
One of the nicest abseils I’ve ever done, 10m down a lovely rock face and then 20m of overhang, you can just hang in the rope and admire the scenery.
Good view of the overhang
Kathy about to land.
A 20m scramble through trees to the next anchor, and Johan kindly offered to go first just in case the rope was tangled in the tree tops. This is a hard take off, you have to sit on the edge and maneuver yourself over it to a small ledge, then get yourself ready to go down the abseil. It’s very exposed as you can see.
Ali ready to abseil.
Catherine nearing the edge, everyone was on a safety line so there was no issue with being this close.
Catherine always looks so happy when she’s abseiling.
Kathy at the bottom of the abseil (20m of cliff face then 30m of overhang). You have to be careful not to be tangled in the trees. When Johan and David first bolted this abseil, they dropped down into a canopy of tree branches, fortunately, Johan had a small tree saw with him and took out a few branches that were in the way, now you abseil into a hole in the canopy.
The last time I did this abseil, the rope was really twisted and I had a horrible time getting down, this time though it was a breeze, would definitely do this trip again.
All down safely and it’s time to retrieve the rope. Hard work pulling 120m of rope down.
The walk up the Devils Hole track, I hadn’t noticed this nice little crevasse before.
And I’d never walked along this ledge before either. Normally I just walk up the middle of the gully but this handy (exposed) ledge cuts out quite a bit of rock scrambling.
Kathy and John on the ledge.
From then on it was aa walk up the gully, although, unfit as I am, it took me for ages, really must work on my fitness. Amazingly, the rain held off all morning and the weather was perfect.
We arrived at the cars at 11am – right on the time that Johan had estimated we’d be back. We had a quick lunch and then separated, some to go down to Little Hartley, and some went shopping – I bought myself a brand new harness … does this mean I’m not giving up on abseiling/canyoning?
Down at Little Hartley now at the home of the Clyne’s who so generously offered their property for us all to camp on for the MSS AGM and Annual Dinner. They’ve just moved onto this property and they acquired 250+ rose bushes, absolutely beautiful. After dinner we were all entertained by David S and his 3D slides – amazing work!
Rob let us pick some roses before going home – I miss my roses from the Lakedge House!
Thanks JV for putting this trip on … we sussed out a few other spots to explore, so there’s some unfinished business out in that neck of the woods.
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