24/11/2007 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Caoimhin Ardren
Somehow from an 8 o'clock meeting time at my place, we ended up at Mt Wilson not much before 11:30am! The election booth at the community hall was well and truly open for business.
As seems to have been the norm recently, it had been pissing down with rain as we drove over Mt Tomah on the way up Bells Line of Road. I suggested that we perhaps give Lower Bowens Creek a miss and try Geronimo and Horseshoe instead. Caoimhin was happy with that, and so we set off in the rain down the track to the Wollangambe. We were both sweating in non-breathable rain jackets as the rain stopped and some heat squeezed through the solid grey clouds, and so we stopped at the pagodas and stripped them off.
For once I managed to stay on the track climbing up the ridge after crossing the Wollangambe. At the top of the ridge we headed down towards the creek, being thwarted by a small line of cliffs. A little scouting found no obvious way through so we abseiled down a small gully with a solid flow of water from the continuing rain. Another line of cliffs had to be bypassed to gain the creek, and then we waded downstream until we reached a small set of falls. A 3m drop into a deep pool repulsed us, and we did a short abseil, although reversing our route and traversing along the other side might have avoided this.
The creek dropped into rainforest, and a dark hole presented itself. At first glance I thought it would be the canyon starting, but instead an enormous chockstone was bridging the creek. Spectacular! A short scramble down the slippery waterfall took us under the chockstone. We negotiated another little drop with another short abseil, avoiding a chilly swim, before the bottom dropped out of the creek.
Caoimhin scrambled off along ledges precipitously poised above the canyon, while I took some photos. He came back after a while, having discovered a sling around a tree a little way along. However, getting to it involved a short traverse along a tree root above the chasm followed by a bold step across a small chockstone bridging the canyon, with the water rushing through some 20m below us.
The abseil was about 20m, just avoiding a long cold pool leading back to the start of the slot. I wandered down to the next abseil, where the water curved down a narrow groove into a cold dark pool.
I could see from the top of the the drop the point that we had walked up to two years earlier, so this would be the last. The anchor was a couple of bolts with sling tied around, a rusty washer stopping the sling from coming off! It was a little awkward getting to the anchor as the rock was wet and slippery from all of the rain. With the flow going over the falls, it was one of the most impressive waterfall abseils I have done. It was a good challenge to avoid the pouring water, and to get off the rope above the pool, before a short but chilly swim.
After a few more photos, it was a short walk out to the Wollangambe.
The Wollangambe was in superb flow. Caoimhin reckoned it was up about a foot, and moving at a decent pace. It was a pity we didn't have some lilos to take full advantage of it. Still, it made it very easy to get down to the exit. I just lay on my back on my pack and floated. Hardly had to paddle. A bit chilly without a wetsuit on - as usual it had sat in my pack from start to finish! We climbed back out to the pagodas at the junction with the tourist track for a late (>5pm) lunch. It was a short walk from there back to the Fire Station, where the election was all being packed up.
An excellent day.