Party: Paul, Sam, Leah, Jeremie, Kyle, Ruell, Tony Guo, Tony Le, Ofer
The weather forecast for Sunday was not promising – Max 9 and winds gusting to 60kmh – a march of folly indeed. Despite this, nine brave souls arrived outside the Main Quad to share cars. At that point there was no wind at all in Sydney, and in fact it turned out to be a nice day in the mountains – bright and sunny, reaching a tropical 12 degrees at one point, and nothing like those windspeeds.
Clear Sunday morning roads saw us in Medlow Bath for coffee in record time and on the (very) short walk to the canyon by 10.30. We scrambled the first two waterfalls and arrived at the first abseil just behind a Katoomba Adventures tour group. The resulting delay was used to teach basic technique to the beginners. This was originally announced as a beginner’s canyoning trip, and we had three true beginners, three relatively inexperienced canyoners, and three experienced. Much thanks is due to Jeremie for doing almost all the belaying, and for much helpful advice from below (“bum DOWN”). We put the beginners on a separate top belay as an additional safety measure while they abseiled. What with that and making everyone run through safety checks more thorough than a space launch before each abseil, this may have been the slowest ever trip through Jugglers Canyon, but that’s the price of safety, and I hope people found it a good learning experience.
Another interesting but delaying factor was someone’s new descender, a device none of us had seen before called the “Alpine Up”. The Alpine Up, now forever known as the Hold Up, is described on it’s manufacturer’s website as “the most complete and versatile belay/rappel device ever produced”. It’s a descender, it’s an ascender, it can belay multiple climbers at once, it can chop lettuce, make mayonnaise and I am fairly sure I saw one last time I looked under the bonnet of my car. The manufacturer promises “absolute safety, even if the rope is incorrectly inserted”, which is a good thing, because it is a fiendishly complicated. Attempts to install it often resembled a game of cats cradle. However, it has to be said that once you get it on a rope it seems to work very nicely.