07-08/11/2003 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Richard Wood, Alex Debono
Note that this old trip report is not an indication that the activities depicted are permitted. As per the current Blue Mountains NP Plan of Management, abseiling Govetts Leap Falls is not permitted. From the Plan of Management: "Closed to Abseiling & Climbing: Grose Valley cliff line from Horseshoe Falls to 50m south of Govetts Leap Waterfall".
Even meeting at Blackheath turned out to be a bit of an epic. Richard and Alex missed the train and didn't have any way of contacting me. Then, just as they arrived on the next train, I locked my keys in the car and had to call the NRMA. Finally we were sorted and headed out to Hanging Rock on bikes.
After quite a while of setting up anchors, we tied the 200m roll to the end and threw it off. Good fun, apart from the fact that it snarled up half way down and was an absolute bastard to unknot. Two more throws later and we finally got it to the bottom. Sounds simple, but I think it ended up taking nearly three hours just to get the rope and anchor sorted.
The plan was to abseil down and prussik back up. This was pretty ambitious as the abseil was about 120m. Richard got to the bottom, and managed to prussik back up about ten metres before his prussiks started slipping. At this point we had a bit of a problem since there was no other obvious way out. Richard tried climbing, but it was rather dodgy. After a lot of shouting, not all of it audible, I rode back to the car to get a few 60m ropes.
By the time I came back, Alex and Richard had decided that we would all just abseil down, and try and force a pass up one of the creeks, or failing that, walk down to the Grose and exit somewhere else. As it turned out, some crawling along narrow shale ledges brought us around into Crayfish Creek, and we quickly found a side canyon back out to the ridge.
After dinner in Blackheath, Alex and Richard raided the Vinnies bin for blankets and we camped in the Pumping Station Cave on Narrowneck.
The next morning we headed to Govetts Leap and did Bridal Veil Falls. All our experience from yesterday paid off and we had the abseil rigged in quick time, mostly from a tree near the edge. The fact that the abseil was wet made it a lot easier, as you didn't have to crawl down the rope to stop it from overheating. We had a pleasant 180m drop to the bottom. We exited up the Govetts Leap track, which was actually closed due to a couple of landslides that had damaged the handrails in places.
I dropped Richard and Alex off in Penrith for a bit of kayaking at the Whitewater Stadium.