09/01/2005 - report - photos - Fortress Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Tom Gleeson, Pete Harvey, Jacqui Knox, Jamal, Greg Salway, Anne Nguyen, Miranda, James Bevan

From James Bevan

I met Tom G, Jacqui, Pete, Greg, Anne, Jamal & Anne at Hazelbrook station at 9 and we headed out to a rock near my place for some abseiling practice. With Greg & Pete's help we got Tom, Jacqui & Anne up to speed and confident but Miranda couldn't quite get the hang of getting over the edge. So Greg dropped her at the Con Hut for some bushwalking and the rest of us headed up to Fortress Ridge to meet Tom B & Rachel.

I'd forgotten to book the sun the night before so we set out in slightly overcast conditions along fortress ridge. After a short trot up the fire trail we turned off and were soon wetting up and walking through the shallow waters of Fortress Creek. We soon arrived at the first climb down/water jump. It was only chest deep so we had to scramble down.

Then it was some more creeking before we arrived at the main water jump. The old fixed rope has been removed so Greg abseiled down to check the depth. It was very deep so we all enjoyed a good splash into a nice constricted section. A longish swim followed and took us through some of the best parts of the canyon.

By the time we reached the abseil everyone wqs getting a bit chilly (especially Tom B who didn't even have a shirt on!). The abseiling practice paid off with everyone getting through without any problems. A short section of bouldery canyon brought us to the end - a big waterfall overlooking the Grose Valley.

We all tucked in hungrily. After lunch we ascended the gully and met Dave and Martin (who'd just finished climbing the Fortress). We all wandered back to the carpark amidst pretty flowers and splendid views.

Though it was getting on Jacqui, Pete, Tom G & I headed off to do empress canyon. It was a nice end to the day, with some fun climb downs. As the pools were all crystal clear and the water level down a bit conditions were nice and easy. We all enjoyed the waterfall abseil (a first for jacqui & tom - congrats!) and headed back to the carpark very pleased after a fine day.