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My Big Trip

Posted at: 2006-08-05 @ 09:59:59

The main reason I wanted to start this outdoor journal was for my trip to north Queensland, where I will be walking over Hinchinbrook island and then travelling onto Chillagoe caves for 2 weeks Caving.
The trip was originally just Caving but the walk got added on and almost all the people who went Caving also did the walk.
Both Hinchinbrook and Chillagoe are in North Queensland which is a state in Australia.

I had planned to post from the road however I have discovered that, one, when you are on the road time seems to be limited and second, that easy to find wireless can be easier said than done.

So I am going to post bits and pieces about the trip just like I would have on the road, the only difference is that I am in fact back at home!

The trip was amazing and I had a great time!



Caving - Bungonia - Acoustic Pot and Blowfly

Posted at: 2006-06-27 @ 13:20:26

The first outdoors post! These might not be quite what you expect. Think travel dairy and trip notes.

My third trip to Bungonia caves on 17-18 / June / 2006.

Weather was cold, -5 at around 7:30am on the highway on the Saturday morning is what I call a little cold.

The aim of the weekend was to assess/train the rope skills of the group. Both in "simple" style rigging and for the more advanced SRT rigging.
Once we arrived gear was sorted and we moved off to do Acoustic Pot.
Acoustic Pot has a 30+ metre abseil around 30 metres into the cave.
The actual drop is protected by a 1 metre high rock wall, which makes it easier to rig and have people at the pitch top without worrying about them being on somekind of safety line. The safety is only needed for people who are over the rock wall.

The main and normal way to rig Acoustic Pot is a 30 metre abseil rope and 100foot of ladder.
While the main group discussed anchor points (of which there are many) and setup ladders another group followed the rock wall further down and around the corner to try and rig a SRT rope.
Unfortunately you lose the advantage of the rock wall and therefore we setup a traverse line from the corner edge to the pitch start.
After much looking and hunting (why can you never find a good anchor when you need it) we decided to use a column and the bolt from the first pitch, lead through a hole in the floor to the "other" pitch.
At the other pitch we had a re-belay on a bollard right at the pitch edge, which we looped a piece of tape over. This anchor did have one fault which was being below the pitch edge however it was good apart from that.
The next re-belay was a thread in the wall around a metre past the first ledge. This was a nice solid looking anchor and we just put a tape through it.
The third re-belay was a very small rock ledge on the wall, to call it a bollard would be overkill. We put a small (50cm long) stitched 18mm sling over this point. Once loaded it was a solid anchor however care was taken to ensure that we did not "pop" the re-belay coming up by Prusiking violently. Care was also taken when passing the re-belay in both directions to ensure that it was still set correctly after passing it.
From the third re-belay its straight down to the bottom.

In hindsight I would probably would not have had the first anchor point (the bolts and column from the first pitch), but would stead have used multiple anchors just on the corner to the pitch edge as the start point. This would have made traversing to the pitch easier and probably used less rope. We used a 50m.

Sunday morning was cold. Note to self don't leave your pack on the car roof racks overnight unless you want an icy pack.....

We decided to escape the cold and go caving! The cave Blowfly has 3 pitches. The first is a 30 metre abseil with a tight start that has several "steps". The other two pitches are at the other entrance. The first is around 50foot (a 50foot ladder covered it) the second is about a 20 or 30 foot. This is normally the exit and therefore the ladders are rigged first. The first ladder can be rigged of the huge bolts in the rock or the large concert block with a metal hoop. Then someone climbs down and rigs the second ladder. The second ladder is normally rigged from a large rock outcrop around and above the top of the pitch.
In this case the person who rigged then climbs back out and goes down the 30 metre abseil, which would be a hard ladder out of.
From the bottom of the abseil you climb up through was looks like a mouth but its not the dragons teeth. Then from a largeish chamber you climb the wall to a hole halfway up the back wall, this is the dragons teeth. When you come to a large hole (solution tube looking) we rigged a handline and then climbed down, but NOT to the bottom, instead we went through a "window" in the far side of the "solution tube".
From here you end up in a wide rift which you follow for probably 10 metres (the rift keeps going but gets very tight). Then on your left hand side there is a horizontal tunnel at floor level that goes through to a small chamber and the second ladder pitch rigged before.
Both ladder climbs out are fairly easy, in our case we rigged for a self belay up, however there is room at both pitches for a belayer.

Once back in the sun, we packed up camp, did some practise climbing trees and made the move back to Sydney.
A good fun weekend!

Caveman



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