I spent today spent in the wonderful Blue Mountains, just to the west of Sydney, doing a multi-pitch abseil and hike out. And what a wonderful playground to develop a high level of rope handling proficiency.
Over the past two weekends I have concentrated on multi-pitch abseils of at least 250 metres done in sections (pitches) of around 40-50 metres each. And I’ve had my fair share of self-rescues thrown in without warning to ensure I have the necessary skills to do just that, rescue myself, or someone else, with confidence!
I want to achieve an extremely high standard to ensure that when I am in Nepal next year, and eventually on an 8,000 peak, that my rope handling skills are completely second nature and can be done, quickly, safely, and confidently…
Under the watchful eye of the Shane and the fantastic team from the Australian School of Mountaineering I am well on my way to achieving this standard.
In less then two months I will be back in New Zealand for an attempt on the summit of Mt Aspiring, and without wanting to wish my life away – I can’t wait! But the journey can only be made one day at a time, and what a day it was.
There is nothing better than putting yourself in a position where you must simply trust the set-up you have built and locked yourself onto it…
The confidence to do this comes from practice, and the rewards are great. Simply lying back “into thin air” and going over the edge is exhilarating.
The Blue Mountains provides such a wonderful natural backdrop to pursue this activity.
Boar’s Head, a natural rock formation was our abseiling destination of choice today. It is a short walk-in from the main cliff-drive not too far from downtown Katoomba. And the vista at the start of it is spectacular, overlooking Narrow Neck, a prominent plateau that stretches to the south…
The total abseil is around 250 metres and we used two 60 metre ropes to drop to the valley floor in five pitches. The walk-out required some “scrub bashing” to join up with the main Devil’s Hole track, that took us back up to our transport.
The thick undergrowth made for a humid traverse of the gullies, before we started our climb up through Devil’s Hole.