Monday, January 24, 2011

Mirror Ball cache - GCX5TV

I had been eyeing off this cache ever since it’d been published way back in 2006. When a recent invite passed my way I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to tackle this cache as its certainly not one that I’d tackle by myself.

With a group of experienced abseilers gathered a date was locked in. The 22nd Jan would hopefully provide clear skies and a perfect opportunity. Sure enough, as the day dawned we couldn’t have asked for more perfect conditions. Having spent the night over at Mt Wilson we made our way to Pierces Pass carpark for an early start.

By 8am we were heading off towards “Walls Lookout”. Just before the lookout a small track branches off while leads down into the gully and out onto the halfway ledge. Prior to turning off we took time out to check out the view from Walls Lookout. The views of the Grose Valley and its towering sandstone cliffs were spectacular but reminded us of the adventure that lye ahead. From our vantage point the halfway ledge looked rather narrow and at no point did we feel keen to continue.

Swallowing all emotions and fear we started don the side trail and out onto the halfway ledge. The vegetation obscured our view of the 110m cliff just metres to our right. In what only seemed like minutes we had reached the point where it was time to don our equipment. After some gear checks we proceeded out to the first abseil point. It was here that we were pleasantly surprised to be joined by some climbers who were out on the face for a day of climbing.

Having rigged our ropes, doubled checked our gear and knots it was time to descend our first abseil. Its at this point, regardless of how well you’re trained and how confident you are that you have to have a lot of faith in your gear cause there’s only a piece of rope which holds you from certain death. Overcoming these fears it was soon my turn and I was soon dangling off a rope 100+m above the valley floor.

No sooner had I started down the rock-face and I was touching down atop the Mirrorball pinnacle and half of my abseiling adventure was complete. From this vantage point you feel so dwarfed by your surroundings, but that is quickly forgotten as you take in the views and orra of this place.

Once we were all on the pinnacle our top rope was retrieved and a short search revealed the next set of coordinates, which were for GZ. We then set about rigging ropes to do it all again and thus reach the bottom. The next abseil is a little bit more difficult pitch and you quickly end up in a chimney/slot where you’re bounced from one wall to the other before touching down on terra firma.

By the time I’d reached the bottom, the goal of our expedition had been retrieved and it was a simple matter of me adding my name to the log. After basking in our achievements we re-hid the cache and set off to complete the next stage of our adventure – the walk out.

Various logs on this cache talk about heading down to the creek V’s staying up against the base of the cliff. We chose to head downwards and while we were confronted with some of the worst lawyer vine and abrasive vegetation I believe it was the right way. After a 30min hard slog we were in a nice cool creek enjoying some lunch. Setting off again it was a short trek to the spur where we picked up the Hungerfords track and a seemingly easier way out to the car.

5½ hours after setting off we made it back to the cars. Our adventure was complete. Its certainly a memorable, but not one for everybody. Thanks to my fellow cachers for allowing me to tag-along and thanks to Foundem, the cache owner.