18/01/2014 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, James Yorston, Richard Pattison, Brendon Anderson, Alan Osland, Cat Omal
Having already had two cracks at King George Brook - albeit not seriously aiming for the lower sections - James and I were pretty keen to try and finish the whole thing. Rich had put the trip on the SBW summer program and extended the invite to James. At least with the benefit of hindsight, we knew where to try and drop in to hit the upper canyon with a minimum of creek bashing.
While we all packed wetsuits, no-one bothered with them in the upper section. My memory of this section was of a single deep wade, though it was in fact much longer than I remembered, and there were several deep wades - or perhaps swims if you were short. The weather was warm, and a bit of water wasn't too much of a worry.
A late morning tea was had at the start of the second canyon section, which was as far as any of us had descended the creek before, while we did a bit of scouting for routes down. Rich found a way in without needed rope, but needing a likely swim. Everyone except me and James suited up. All bar Rich took the short hand over hand from downstream on the right, while Rich made the most of his wetsuit and swam!
The canyon section was reasonable but a bit intermittent, and not as long as I'd hoped. With more creek walking, Rich eventually had enough of his wetsuit and returned to usual outfit. Another kilometre or so of pleasant creek, then a scramble down a waterfall led to the final section of canyon, starting with an abseil off a very bright orange sling. A second abseil followed shortly after, into a deepish pool. There was some discussion of a jump, but the landing area wasn't much more than waist deep. I took the option of jumping while on the rope for a safer landing. A large open rock platform just downstream became our lunch spot, with Alan having a nap in the sun in his full steamer!
Then it was down through the final canyon section. We explored up a minor creek checking for an exit, only for it to head into canyon and a waterfall that would be tricky to climb. Our preferred exit was on to Banks Ridge, but after spreading out and exploring, the two most likely options headed north on to scrubby Carmarthen Ridge. Rich had seen something that he thought might go south, and promptly headed up with a rope tied around his waist. I'm not entirely sure how Rich even got up, given that most of the holds seemed to consist of dirt and sticks, but somehow he did and let down some ropes. The steep, 30m dirt-filled chute has probably not been used as an exit before, and after most of the dirt was knocked out by scrabbling, scrambling climbers, will probably never be used again!
We set a rope for one more steep scramble, and then we were on easier ground. It took us the best part of two hours from bottom, the only benefit of which was that it was late in the afternoon, and the heat had dropped. Banks Ridge had fairly mild scrub, and the walk back in the late afternoon light was beautiful, with views over the back of Mt Tomah, and across the Grose to Mt Hay and the Butterbox. A great day in the bush.