Return to Glenrock

GLENROCK STATION, NSW – 9-12 June 2023
In the past, each time I’ve visited Glenrock I’ve said “pretty sure I wont be going back again”, but then I find myself on yet another trip there.  This time I think I’ve finally come to realise that this is a really good place to go, yes the caves are small, but they’re pretty much all vertical, and I SHOULD be doing more vertical caves. Plus, it’s a nice place to just chill out.

So, Jim and Onni called by my place at 6.30pm on Friday night and we squeezed all our gear into my car (the one with the most storage room), then we headed off, expecting to get there around 9.30pm.  What we didn’t factor in was a detour around Muswellbrook because of an accident.  This saw us going in entirely the opposite direction, but eventually we were back on track – adding an additional hour to our ETA.

We arrived around 10.30pm and called Brian on the walkie-talkie so that he could guide us through the paddock to the campsite.  Poor Brian got out of bed and with flashlights we managed to navigate the route to the campsite (bypassing sharp rocks and possible holes in the paddock LOL).  We were all soon in bed.

Next morning after a quick breakfast, we headed off for some caving.

Our first cave, Fig Tree, GR1. The plan for the weekend was that Jim and Onni would do all the rigging, here’s Jim setting up a “diversion” so that the rope would fall straight down and not touch the walls (avoiding any rub points).

Onni rigged the pitch. And then Onni and Jim both went down and I followed.

I think this is GR1.

We had a look around the cave and Jim and Onni pretended that I was a newbie, so they could get the idea of “leading”.  The prussic out was pretty straight forward for the three of us.  Then Onni and Jim had to de-rig everything.

Whilst we were having lunch, Rod S, Cathi and Rod O’B turned up.  Now everyone was there who would be coming so we chatted about what cave to do next.  We selected Corkscrew GR 84, because it was unfinished business for me. Cathi and I had done it years ago and chickened out because we didn’t have a rope, there were only the two of us and we couldn’t see the bottom (lol).

We decided to use a rope this time, as we weren’t sure what was there, Onni and Jim created an anchor and then fed the rope down.

You can see how tight the entrance is.

Jim going down.

Now it was my turn.  Going down was easy, gravity played a big role and I easily slid down the 45º rock, although it was quite tight.  Then I got to the first ledge about 2m from the entrance, and looked down.  Jim was still descending, chimney-ing down this hole, about 6m deep.  I gingerly chimneyed down after him but when I got to the first spot where I could stand safely, I decided I wasn’t going any further, wasn’t sure I’d be able to get back up to where I was standing.  The guys had a look around, and I sussed out the climb out and decided it just wasn’t safe for me to chimney back up, regardless of all the hand and foot holds.  So, I called out for Cathi to bring me my SRT gear and I’d prussic up, much safer!

Looking down at Onni from where I was standing, that hole had to be 1.5m I’d never be able to climb out!

All was going well until I got to that 45º slope, halfway up I decided that my helmet was getting in the way so I took it off and handed it through the entrance hole to those above.  Now gravity was working against me, it was a real struggle to get up that slope to the entrance and then when I got there, the hole was so tight that I struggled to get back out!  The guys offered to pull me out, but I decided if I was going to do caving, I’d have to do it by myself.  15 minutes later I was out!  what a schmozzle!

A lot of effort, and I was over caving now, so retreated to my car and changed into clean warm clothes!

We spent the rest of the evening stoking the fire to make the coals needed for our camp oven roast dinner. I made a camp oven bread and butter pudding for dessert, first time I’d made it and it was pretty good. Big thanks to Cathi and Rod S for providing all the food.

We had anticipated a freezing night, but it wasn’t all that bad, got up on Sunday to a beautiful day and after a quick breakfast headed out to find some more caves.

We had to walk about a k to get to the cave area we’d be at today. At the top of this hill was a big stand of grass trees, they seem to like limestone soil.

A close up of one of those grass trees.

Nice walking!

Eventually we found Red Napped GR17, and we abseiled down this lovely pitch, first to the ledge you can see behind me, and then another pitch, all up around 12m.

Here’s a photo of Brian (taken by Onni), on the next pitch down.  We didn’t go all the way to the bottom because there were bats flying around and we didn’t want to disturb them.

Me prussicing back up to the top, I was able to get back up to the entrance in about 7 minutes, pretty good for me, everyone else took from 3 – 6 minutes. (photo: Onni)

We then made our way over to Good Drop GR 32, supposedly it was an 18m pitch.  This is the set up that the guys rigged.

The guys went down first and then I followed, when I was about 3m down and they called up “don’t come any further, there’s foul air”.  So, I changed over from abseil to ascending and got myself out, quickly followed by Onni and Jim.  Good thing that they were able to recognise a build up of CO2.

Another stunning night around the campfire (great photo Onni), and another camp oven roast, no wonder I like it up here.

No caving this morning, the guys decided that they would help Brian out by “shaving” some rock off some of the rocks on the track to the campsite. Shaving involves drilling a hole in the limestone, then putting a cap down the hole and hitting it to create an explosion. It’s quite dangerous, I hid behind a big tree as you never know where the shards of rock are going to land. Shaving is sometimes used in cave rescue to widen passages to get a stretcher through.

We then decided that we’d help Brian out by chain-sawing a branch in a tree. The branch has been hanging there for years and it’s looking like it might come down (on someone’s car), so we talked Onni into going up and sawing it with a chain saw.  Onni getting ready to rig a rope.

Onni up where he’d stand, see the branch on the rh side of the photo, just hanging there.

In position to cut it down. Was nerve wracking seeing a person up a tree with a chain saw, we did have a lot of safety gear in place though.

After the excitement of the morning, we packed up to head home, this time with no detour.

Another great weekend at Glenrock, this time with some more interesting caves.  Thank you so much Brian for putting the weekend on!

This entry was posted in 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.