Present: Paul Griffiths, Adrian Spragg, Stephen Ziman, Peggy Huang, Elena Walsh, Thomas Dougherty (guest)
Leader: Paul Griffiths
We met up at Boars Rock at 08.00 on a warm, windless but overcast Sunday morning wearing close to the full range of Suboir T-shirts colours. The straightforward abseil behind Boars Rock soon had us at the justly famous slot, where we discovered we had left the bolt plates in the car! However, there are enough ring bolts there and we soon had a safety line rigged and Adrian out at the end of the traverse to set up the two-stage abseil down the slot. This was definitely the highlight of the trip, featuring Peggy’s infectious enthusiasm about the view where you feel as if you are just swinging out over the Jamison Valley and, on a less positive note, the rope getting under Tom’s shirt and giving him rope burn on his hip!
At this point we met two other very friendly groups, a large group of experienced abseilers, mostly from Bathurst, and a couple of UTS climbers. Without any definite decision we sort of merged, sharing ropes, anecdote swapping and engaging in general chit-chat. This slowed us (and more them) down, but in the lovely weather there was no reason not to hang around and enjoy the mountain. We got some valuable information about the climbing route back up to Boars Head, which is definitely on the to-do list.
Two more abseils and the walk up through Devils Hole had us back at the cars a bit before 13.00. The UTS guys had headed up for the climb, and some of the others had to leave, but the rest invited us to join them for a trip down Malaita Point. We accepted this very friendly offer, happily abandoning our earlier idea of looking for the elusive Whore’s Bed Canyon, had a bite to eat and a coffee at Scenic World and headed off. Our new acquaintances had a lot of experience leading large groups, and used ‘high through-put’ abseiling techniques, leapfrogging ropes forward and rigging two single ropes with a stone-knot for each abseil. As well as learning some good tricks, this made for minimal fussing about, just one long drop after another. Many thanks to Terry, Tim, George and the others – another example of how the people you meet on bush walks are often a cut above the average.
The set up was so efficient that we got down twelve people down Malaita Pt in about 2.5 hrs, and were back at the cars by 17.00, in time for hot spiced cider and hearty organic fare at a well-known middle-earth venue in Katoomba.
Hard to imagine a better day. Good weather, good company, old and new, and 270m of abseiling!