Present: Lisa Redwood, Campbell McLauchlan, Hendrik Bethke, Adam George, Avram Winston, Samantha Marriott, Zi Hui Lie, Charlie Chen, Maria Kempe, Zachary Wollman, Adam Kaplan, Eva Liebentritt, Maria Petersson, Mingda Xiao, Mark Kabbara, Samantha Waldon, Frances Feasey, Warwick Counsell, Robyn Counsell, Ron Sandoval, Marty Frappell, Ankit Thangasamy, Rebecca Hill, Paul Griffiths (trip leader), David Braddon-Mitchell (Guest)
Date: 10/3/2018

This is the third year we have run this introductory trip at the beginning of semester one. We had a record 24 members and one guest!

Fitting six vehicles into the tiny Clover Hill Rd carpark at 9.30 on Saturday posed a few challenges, but with Marty skilfully directing traffic we were soon ready to hand out the very large collection of club gear that Ankit and Rebecca had brought with them. We divided into eight teams, each with an experienced leader and two beginners, and set off down the old road.

Thirty minutes walk brought us to Clover Hill Falls, a short but spectacular canyon section of the creek where we had planned to do a demonstration abseil before walking around the falls to our usual spot for training beginners. We had a short safety lecture and then Ron abseiled down into the slot. The plan was for the experienced people to do this, slightly harder section for fun while the beginners followed the track around the side, but our very enthusiastic group all insisted on having a go, and managed it with aplomb. In fact, two teams insisted on walking back up and doing it again!

The rest of us set off on a short creek walk to the usual starting point. It’s a very pretty creek, with water-sculpted rock platforms, tiny waterfalls and overhanging rainforest full of vines and epiphytes. Our usual training area has two levels of pretty, sloping waterfalls, each of about 10m, with easy scrambles back up on the right bank. We set up two ropes on each level and everyone was encouraged to go around and around until they were really comfortable with abseiling. After an hour we had a staggered lunch, with the first teams to start eating keen to do more abseiling while the rest of us finished.

After lunch we set up two ropes for the final abseils into another real canyon slot section where people could practice getting off the rope while swimming. This short slot ends with a waterfall into a big pool, where we all did the 3m jump.

More pretty creek walking followed, until we reached a boulder-filled section where we did some easy downclimbs. Finally, we reached the pool that locals and tourists visit for the natural waterslide (which we all did) and water jumps. Most of us did the 6m water jump, but two intrepid members did the 10m jump – with seriously impressive splashes!

When we had all jumped to our heart’s content it was a steep half-hour walk back to the cars. Many of us took up Marty’s kind offer to come and eat pizza on his deck with a sea view before the drive back to Sydney.

Thanks to all the patient leaders and fearless beginners for our best introductory trip yet!

Photos here (more to come):