Katoomba abseiling (14-15 Oct 23)

The cold which I’d had at the Aus Rogaine Champs had lingered, to the point that I cancelled the club trip I was meant to be leading this weekend. I was starting to feel a bit better by Thursday and a house stay in Katoomba seemed a good option. If need be I could just curl up on the couch and read my book.

Saturday was sunny and very windy. “Where is the rope bag?” I asked Tom as we prepared – wind and loose 60m ropes sounded like a recipe for entanglement. Rope bag was at home in the garage, so we’d just have to deal with it.

Jon getting us started

I was a bit apprehensive about the high traverse – it was one of the few details I remembered from this trip. Not having done a lot of scrambling of late I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. Having got there I declared we didn’t need to set a safety and then promptly ushered Jon through to set the ropes. The strong wind definitely added an extra level of mental challenge.

High bridging!

Glimpses of the view

Jon abseiling

For the final and longest abseil we turned my pack into a rope bag. While setting it all up took a bit of time it was definitely worth it – no rope issues and a very smooth abseil for me.

Jon on the final abseil

By the time we were down I was feeling a bit tired so didn’t have any enthusiasm for another abseil trip. We had a long lunch on the tops before heading back to the car. Later that afternoon Jon & Tom went off and did another trip and I curled up on the couch with my book.

Relaxed lunch spot

Having been pretty wiped out by Saturday’s easy trip I wasn’t sure that I had enough in me for Castle Head. But the last (only) time I’d done it was in 2008, which was a long time ago. It looked pretty spectacular so I figured I could at least walk out along Narrow Neck and see how I was feeling. Sunday was notable for its almost complete lack of wind – particularly contrasted with the day before.

On the way to Castle Head

Castle Cliff Trig looking to Mt Solitary

Getting to the top of the first abseil was a bit exposed in places and it was good to actually get on rope and start heading down. Jon and I had a long wait at the top of the first abseil as we didn’t hear Tom’s whistle.

Tom on the first abseil

Slowly picking our way down

Cunningham’s Skink??

Looking back at our route – we started at the top of that pinnacle

Beatific Tom

Once through the abseils we had lunch in an overhang out of the sun. With no wind it was a warm day. Then Tom insisted we visit Ruined Castle on “the way” back to the Golden Stairs.

Jon & Tom on the Ruined Castle

Having overtaken a group of tourists not long before the base of the Golden Stairs Jon was adamant they weren’t going to overtake us on the way up. Not relevant that we were carrying far more gear than them, so it was a quick march up back to Narrow Neck.

Racing tourists to the top of the Golden Stairs

A great weekend out in nature.