Shoalhaven scrambling (19-20 Jan 2019)

Another weekend, another SBW trip… NSW got a brief respite from a week-long heatwave so we only had a warm weekend (high 20s?) rather than a very hot one (mid 30s). Regardless we were in the right place for cooling down, a creek with water albeit not as much water as the previous time the leader visited. Initially the creek was fairly easy going with a few pools and easily negotiated drops.

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Paul taking the plunge

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Nic scrambling a dryfall

After a late morning tea (11:30am) we had to leave the creek to get around a larger drop. There was lots of traversing loose slopes, some scree slope descents and some hand-lining. By the time we all got back into the creek (1pm) it was time for lunch!

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Sketchy shale slopes

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Daniel mid way down a long scree slope (photo doesn’t really illustrate the ‘fun’!)

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The final descent back to the creek

After lunch we were able to stay in the creek, with various scrambling descents. I managed to keep my pack dry all day. Most of the others didn’t bother (in one case probably with regret!).

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Swarming down a drop, while Alex never misses a chance to throw rocks into water

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Paul: “Alex don’t you dare jump”…

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More scrambling

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Partner assists down a drop (there were multiple ways down)

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Damon lying down on the job

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Wading time

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Avoiding a swim

At some point a grass tree stem was acquired and it provided a focus for charades. Many uses were identified for it from broomstick to boom mic to butter churner. Amazing how many hours of entertainment one burnt stem can give.

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“The stick” in action as a bat

We got to camp around 4pm. Our leader was lagging behind a little. Turns out he’d not shut one of his dry bags properly and had been carrying an extra few litres of water in the dry bag. Oops. At least his food was in a different dry bag.

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Jump rock!

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Not the sleeping bag state you want… right Paul?

Most of us took to the very warm water and stayed in for a while. Alex decided he needed some flotation, so took his bag in and happily floated around on it for quite a long time… Funnily enough when your food is just in a grocery bag submerging it in water for hours is probably not the best way to keep it dry.

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Or the food state you want… right Alex?

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Shoalhaven reflections

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My very comfortable spot (really should return that borrowed bivvy)

The next morning we made good time along the Shoalhaven soon reaching the compulsory swim.

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Pack swim time

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Getting around the bluffs

Then it was into another creek, which was narrower than the previous day. Lots of scrambling ensued, including a couple of drops where we needed to use the hand line (thanks Alex for getting up without it).

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Nic climbing while everyone looks on

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Ross on his way up

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Damo’s so strong!

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Up, up, up we go

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Waiting for the traffic to clear

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Delightful slopey dirt bank to cross

It was some of my favourite sort of terrain; lots of choices and problem-solving to determine how you were going to get up the various drops.

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You take the high road, I’ll take the low road

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Now where?

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More route options

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Swim time!

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Not where I’d expect to find a wombat?!

We got to lunch at a waterfall which we apparently couldn’t get up. There was a scree slope on the true right, and a dirt bank on the true left. Neither looked great to me. Paul went off bashing up the left to investigate. After what seemed like hours later both him and Alex (who had gone right) were at the top of the waterfall. At which point Alex easily scrambled down it and we all then went up it…

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Climbing the impassable waterfall :)

Only to then encounter a much larger waterfall!

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This one looks a bit more impassable :(

This time we did scramble out. It was more delightful loose slopes and rocks. We got so high above the creek that Paul decided we’d just go up to the ridge and traverse rather than do any more scrambling.

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Long way back to the creek

A couple of hours of easy walking had us back at the cars at 4pm.

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Very open ridge walking

The drama for the day wasn’t over though! Paul couldn’t find his car key. His pack was emptied and searched, and searched again. Just as he was about to give up hope the key was located in his billy. Phew!

A great weekend in the bush.