Party: Leo, Chris, David and Scott.
We met David at Claustral car park at 8.00am on Saturday morning. The parking was already full of people getting ready to do Claustral, I think 4 or 5 groups did it that day. We drove to Mt Banks picnic area and left the second car at 8.25am. From there it was a short walk via the firetrail and a ridge that leaded us upstream of the wet section of King George Brook Canyon. The upper section has a few short wades/swims with some constrictions and an optional 1 meter jump.
At 10.15am we arrived at the dry section entrance. The canyon opened up with a cliff altering both sides for about 1h before we found a sling for an abseil. Checking around we found 2 paths to get lower, Scott intensionally(?) slided a 4 meters side creek while others scrambled down into another canyon section. It went for a while before to open up again. At 12.30pm we were at the top of a 5 meters abseil with the anchor a few meters back. At 1.00pm Chris abseiled the second and last abseil to check the depth and the rest of us jumped 5 meters. We saw a few other canyon sections before we arrived at the junction with Explorer Brook at 1.50pm. We ate our well deserved lunch there while the rain had stopped.
Explorer Brook is harder to go through with a lot of boulders, slippery rocks and climb down but we managed to have some fun slides in pools and spot some wild life. We finally arrived at the junction with Carmarthen Brook at 5.10pm. It took us about 1h to check different caves and select our home for the night. It was nice to put some dry clothes, have a fire and some warm food. We also ate 1/4 watermelon and one rock melon that David carried. A few hours after sunset we saw some fireflies illuminating the junction, it was the first time for some of us.
After a well rested night we left at 8.15am and started to reverse Thunder Gorge. The gorge was easy to walk, at least easier than Explorer Brook. The first hour was open with some small boulders, then the gorge closed on us and became a canyon, including swims and waterfalls, for most of the way. For the first time since the previous morning we saw Sun’s rays in the canyon but it felt that we couldn’t enjoy them for more than a few seconds at a time. We arrived at Claustral exit at 12.20pm. We had lunch half way up Camels Hump to eat all we had left including another rock melon from David. We slowly and painfully carry ourself to the top of Camels Hump then down to Claustral and up again. We stopped at the lookout just before the road where we enjoyed the views of our journey.
- We collected one cooking pot, a hat and a piece of plastic in different locations reversing Thunder Gorge.
- Via the Claustral’s log book the last known party to have reverse Thunder Gorge is Rachel Grindlay and Tom Brennan in January this year.
- One member broke his thumb on the first day but finished the trip, almost without complaining ;).