Are we there yet?

GLENROCK, NSW – 1-3 October 2022
The last time I visited this caving area was five years ago.  I remembered it being small squeezy holes and thinking that I probably wouldn’t bother to go back.  But Marcia and Diana were keen to go on this trip, and there was the opportunity of SRT practice, so we agreed to drive up together.  After four hours of driving, and still no sign of the gate, we’d all agreed that it was probably a “once off”, I’d forgotten how long it took to get there.

Not to mention that the directions were a bit ambiguous, although everyone else didn’t have a problem getting there.  Diana had driven up to my house from Wollongong, so she’d added an extra 2.5 hours onto her trip.  I have to admit that I thought we were hopelessly lost, until we came to the big sign at the cattle grid “Glenrock Station”, it was with relief that we drove down the road and knew that we’d finally arrived.

Mind you we got to the “gate” that we were supposed to open and there was no sign of the cars, so we gingerly drove down the paddock until eventually we saw Brian walking towards us, thank goodness that he was there to lead us through the long grass and avoid the rocks!

We set up camp in the fading light and then settled in for dinner in front of the fire that Brian (our fearless leader) had set up before we arrived. Jodie and Onni had arrived before us and were already settled in. (photo:  Diana)

The plan for the weekend was to give Onni some training in rigging for vertical caves and using ladders and for Cheryl and Diana to learn how to prussic using mechanical ascenders and also how to use a ladder!

Next morning Brian set up a rope for us at the campsite for us to practice mechanical prussiking and for those who hadn’t done it before (Diana and Cheryl who would arrive later in the day) to learn the technique (here’s Diana having her first go).

Once Diana and Onni had perfected their technique, I set myself up to do a little practice.  I wasn’t happy about my prussiking the last time I went to Tasmania, so I was keen to see how I’d go (after doing some muscle strengthening at the gym).  Thankfully I nailed it, such a relief to know that I don’t have to stop doing vertical caves.

Cheryl turned up at lunchtime and after lunch we all headed over to our first cave of the day, Figtree.  I’d been down this cave the last time I was here, but was happy to give it another go.

Diana checking out the big hole that we’d be going down.

Brian giving Diana and Onni a lesson on rigging a caving ladder (they’d be using a ladder for the first time).

Diana rigging up the abseil rope and also the belay rope under Brian’s watchful eye.

As I was the most experienced caver there (apart from Brian who wouldn’t be going underground), I had to go down first. (photo: Diana)

This would be Cheryl’s first abseil into a cave, she looks a bit excited! (photo: Diana)

And Marcia on her ay down (photo Diana)

Cheryl at the bottom of the abseil.

It’s a very small cave, we went down a small passage and then made our way up a different passage. Onni took the opportunity to test out crawling through a small hole – I’d tried the hole but couldn’t get a foothold for it so gave up.

Cheryl, Diana and Onni then went along another small passage with a hole at the end, Onni (being bigger than Diana and Cheryl), had a little more trouble getting through the hole so needed a bit of a pull through.

At the bottom of the cave, some formation (not much), but a good shot (photo: Diana)

Marcia with a belay, climbed up the ladder (photo: Diana).

Onni climbing out (photo: Diana).  Everyone nailed climbing the ladder which is no mean feat!

I prussiked out and was really happy to get to the top (photo: Diana)

Time for lunch (photo: Diana)

This is the next hole we went down, there’s no passage at the bottom, just ladder/SRT practice.

Me prussicing up, am pretty sure it’s the 2nd cave, or maybe it’s the first one (they all seem to look alike). (photo: Diana)

Cheryl about to climb the ladder, she’s pretty excited (photo: Diana)

We were back at the campsite by late afternoon (no big surprise there, the caves were less than 100m from the campsite). Marcia and I had brought along our camp ovens for a roast dinner – pretty good for our first go, burned the meat a bit and the vegies were soggier than I’d like, but still a good dinner!

Next morning we were off to see one of the best “decorated” caves in the area, a short walk through the paddocks.

Macia in middle distance, the walking was really nice.

Then we went down the side of a creek and there was a forest of grass trees.

Heading down off the side of the ridge, more grass trees.

And arrived at the cave, a squeezy hole. I sent everyone down and there were so many comments of how squeezy it was and a nasty downclimb that I decided that I wouldn’t bother!

Apparently the decoration of the cave was as “advertised”, very special. (photo:  Diana)

More of the formations (very good) (photo: Diana)

More of the formations, damn … this is pretty good, now I’m going to have to go back and do this cave! (photo: Diana). Apparently, the climb up/down isn’t as bad as they all said it was (lol)

Diana on the climb out, it looks like it took quite a while to climb out.

Marcia, so happy to have made it up the climb without being snagged.

Onni climbing out – he was the only one who said he’d “do it again”.

The walk out – easy as, just 1/2 an hour back to the campsite.

Back at camp for lunch. After lunch, Onni and Cheryl went off to do another cave (good on you guys!), Marci, Diana and I stayed in camp setting up the fire ready for our sausage sizzle.

Onni about to go down the “bonus cave”.

Cheryl going down into the abyss.

Another great night around the campfire, one of the great things about Glenrock is the campsite and the site for the campfire.

We were all up at 7.30am next morning and then Diana, Marcia and I packed up for the trip home.

When we’d arrived on Friday afternoon/evening, the three of us were pretty much over Glenrock.  The drive was too long, and tedious, and we weren’t sure that the caves would be worth the long drive.

Now, as we’re all getting ready to leave, the whole group (Onni, Cheryl, Marcia and I) agreed that it was worth a repeat visit.  The tedious drive was forgotten (sort of like childbirth).  The campsite is great, with a stunning outlook over the hills and valleys, great set-up (the fire-place, rainwater and a latrine), and the caves were way better than expected. Plus, we all did heaps of ladder climbing and SRT practice – perfect venue for this sort of thing! So, we’ll be back.

Big thanks to Brian R and Jodie R from NHVSS to putting on the trip and generously giving your time to do some SRT training, we loved the trip, thank you so much!

This entry was posted in Bushwalking, Caving, MSS, NHVSS. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.