Participants: Matt Dowle, Anthony Dowle, Peter Gardner, Rhys Hearne, Dave Vadas, Ken Shepherd, Tom Brennan
Trip report by Ken
Last Saturday was a great day. The Rhysmobile was in action again and we headed west early. Dave, Rhys, myself met up with Matt, Pete, Ant and Tom in Katoomba. After grabbing supplies we journeyed onward to Narrowneck, a cosy little cliff face looking out west. After Tom's introduction to abseiling we got stuck into it. I was a bit rusty to say the least, donning a bright green helmet to appease my nervous skull. After a few abseils and a superb throw of the disc by Rhys to Pete across a 60m gap in the path we set off again to the main cliff face. (Pete can tell you in greater detail, but basically Rhys threw a forehand to Pete who was standing on a very small rock outcrop with a 3m drop off on all sides. And Pete didn't have to move at all. It would have been even more remarkable if I wasn't half asleep.)
The main descent was just outside Katoomba, above the tourist skyway cable car. Luckily we were far away enough to enjoy the serenity.
We scrambled down a little way from the road and found Tom standing at the edge of a drop off of about 250m. We were looking out over the huge valley with the Three Sisters off to our left, the Ruined Castle 10km ahead, and the distant end of the valley to our right.
I was left to embark on the descent second last, made to wait and bite my nails. Going over the edge was always the difficult part for me. Once I got going I was pretty sweet.
We (Ant, Matt and Tom) were carrying about 5 or 6 ropes with us. The first abseil was about 20m which required a mid length rope. The second or third abseil required longer ropes and some knotting action. It was over 40m down and hard to hear the calls of those who had already made it. I was reluctant to stop and take in the view while on the rope, just concerned with reaching the bottom.
There were about 5 or 6 abseils in total. All real good. It took a few hours to get down. We'd taken lunch and supplies with us and had lunch at about 2. Not satified with the 6 abseils, Tom pointed out that we could abseil down the rock face we were sitting atop. Apparently it was ideal for 'fours'. But I'd misheard him. It was 'forwards'. Forwards abseiling. I scurried around and down to the bottom of the cliff to see what it looked like. Matt got ready and ran down the rock wall, face first. It took him only 10 seconds to abseil about 10-15 metres. Incredible. Tom then had a go, as did Pete. Rhys and Dave also did it. I was impressed, and feeling the pressure. Ant was up next and outshone everyone, making it down in about 6 seconds, jumping in 3 metre intervals. He then had another go so we could take some photos. He jumped down in 3 bounds. Choosing not to be completely embarassed, I passed, happy with my decision.
After lunch we walked down the track and back to civilisation. There were many tourists to contend with on the way back up the stairs. We got back to the cars and then went to the pub for a few beers. Nice one.
Thanks to Matt and Tom and Ant for organising and helping out, and Pete and Rhys and Dave for making the trip real grouse.
It was a great social outing, and something I can highly recommend.