25/03/2005 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay
After fighting Easter Friday morning traffic through to Leura, Rachel and I jumped on to the back roads to Katoomba and headed for a welcome bakery. Replenished with cheese and bacon rolls, we drove to the bottom of the Glowworm Tunnel track at Newnes, and headed up the Old Coach Road. At a convenient point, we wandered off into the bush, and had a bit of a scrub bash to a canyon that I knew only a little about. Reaching the start of the canyon, I was surprised to see a man climb over the top of the next pagoda. It turned out he had been climbing on the clifflines below - and he was about as surprised to see us!
Setting up off a dodgy tree anchor, we dropped down into a shallow pool, and down the little canyon. A tricky climb down awaited us next, which I had some trouble getting down. I tried to help Rachel get down, only to almost end in disaster when I lost my balance and let her fall. Luckily she was mostly uninjured apart from shock, and we were soon able to continue. We could see the end of the canyon from the next drop, and despite a tricky start off an anchor a long way back, we were soon out in the sunlight.
However, we weren't finished as we were still a long way up on the cliffs. We traversed around on the halfway ledge for quite some distance, looking for a spot that the ropes would reach, and eventually finding one that had clearly been used before. At the bottom, we wandered to Bell's Grotto Canyon, which always disappoints as it ends just as you think it should be starting, and had a stroll through the Glowworm Tunnel, which was much more impressive than last time. Then it was back down the track to the car, and laying in a bit of firewood for the rest of the weekend.
Arriving just on dark at Newnes, we were lucky to find James and Ella amongst the hordes of families with their monster tents, generators and 4wds. They had already located the two Andys' car - the Andys were off climbing - and stuck a note on it. The Andys had a bit of an epic day, and turned up well after dark with much of their climbing gear still half way up the cliff. I looked around for Caoimhin - in particular, his van - but the couple of people sitting next to the only likely van turned out to be rather old.