Home‎ > ‎BRC Trip Reports‎ > ‎

Mt Kaputar 2002 – Rain Hail or Shine

posted May 30, 2008, 4:32 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 30, 2008, 4:45 AM ]

Mt Kaputar – Rain Hail or Shine

The Easter break promised, and delivered, its usual load of good rain. Driving down from Goondiwindi on Thursday, we could see masses of grey clouds ahead, lit by frequent lightning. The news on the radio of severe storms in the area the day before (Toowoomba was still blacked out in parts), and the water lying in deep puddles along the road, made us think about alternative accommodation, rather than camping that night. At lunchtime in Moree, there was a genuinely torrential fall, with little streams coming out of the light fittings as we walked under the shopfronts, and a lightning strike, "just up at the corner" according to the chatter of the locals. Fortunately, it eased a bit after that, and we caught occasional views of Kaputar as the clouds kept streaming north. We decided to press on.

Of course, by the time we got there, it was raining steadily. Impressive little creeks were running across most of the campsites at Bark Hut, so we eventually picked the one dry looking spot under some trees. As I struggled to put up our big tarp, Gabriella strolled over to where Laurie and Clay were sitting in their van, with Jenny Tannoch-Bland alongside. They had got in earlier. Jenny, thinking the rain had well and truly set in, had already set up her tent in the car park next to the van, and was waiting for the interior to dry out. Eventually the rain eased, and I kept repeating the forecast that it was supposed to clear for the weekend.

Later that night, most of the rest of us rolled in: Steve Waite and Alison Greenhalgh, along with Dennis Reaves; Mark Gamble as well as his cousin and nieces; James Pfrunder and John de Bont. And by Friday 10 am, Graham Baxter and family. The rain had stopped, although there were plenty of threatening clouds. We took over the shelter shed for breakfast and decided to vist Lindesay Rock Tops as the spot most likely to dry out fastest. And in fact, they were pretty dry, so foregoing top-roping (well I set one up on Slip, Slop, Slap), everyone started leading up a range of climbs from Thanks for the Mammaries (15 m 10, "all natural") to The Hippy Hippy Shake (18 m 21, 3 BRs). The only disappointment was that Mis Led was too wet. As the day progressed, three parties, from the Sydney Rockies, and Guy and friends joined us. Coming back to camp, we found it had been raining there for the previous hour or two, while we had been nice and dry up at the top (Bark Hut camp is at 1200 m, and Mt Lindesay about 1400 m, by the way). My in-laws (Ian and Margo) had also arrived, a day early; they had been the last car through a flooded section of road between Inglewood and Goondiwindi before it was closed.

Jenny T-B: All abreast on Thanks for the Mammaries

Saturday, we went down to Euglah Rock. John had offended his neighbours, he thought, on Friday morning by complaining that they made too much noise early in the morning (they of course were on NSW time). After checking with the ranger, and being told that 7 am was a reasonable time to start making a racket (this I heard myself), they retaliated by banging all their pans together at precisely 6 am Qld time. Fortunately, John had already moved his tent, while Lauren and Ashley (Graham's kids) had already woken us up asking whether the toilet block could be moved a little closer.

Sunday, the clocks were all turned back, but there was no repeat performance. James and John headed off early, and constructed a second cairn in the middle of the fire road at the turnoff to Euglah "just in case". They should have known that we never get lost. Those two immediately headed around to do Yummikins (33 m 17, apparently living up to its name), Bridge over Troubled Waters (30 m 17) and Swiss Made (30 m 17), being joined by Mark later.

The team, contemplating the days climbing at the bottom of the Governor

The rest of us, arriving in a more leisurely fashion, wandered around the more easterly sections first, where some cracks were a bit wet. There was still plenty of "Scotch mist" wrapping around the Rock, making it almost an alpine experience. Graham and Jenny set off up Wild is the Wind (35 m 14), while Dennis and I strolled up Lost World Layback (25 m 12, 2 p). The latter (described as "harder than it looks") was complicated by not being able to get into the lost layback crack because of a small tree, and the leader dropping a ringtail possum, mother and baby onto the second, probably from said tree. Dennis yelled "rock," and I was very pleased when the impact onto my back was so gentle. Mother and baby are well (ran off, baby looking back at me).

up and up…… Steve and Alison enjoying the delights of Kaputar Alison & Dennis with Governor behind

Steve and Alison worked over Too Pooped to Pop (50 m 20) and Joys of the Flesh (47 m 22). In the afternoon, we moved around to where the track hits the rock: Dennis and I went up Devilled Sloth (28 m 17, 2 p) where I managed to pull off and then catch the biggest flake I have seen for a while. The audience below were kakking themselves as I yelled out "bloody BIG rock" before dropping it a few seconds later. Fortunately I was standing on the big tree trunk that comes out horizontally half way up the second pitch. John led the adjacent Protocol (27 m 17) as one pitch: the bottom was quite strenuous and some other climbers who had been up it earlier suggested that section might be that of a 20 (Crack the Gripper). Everyone who followed up thought the top was pretty hard too.

Sunday was spent at the Governor. The weather became finer and finer, so we were getting hot on the rock now. Graham and Jenny powered up the obligatory Patient Scruff (30 m 16), which Dennis and myself then repeated. James and John started on the enjoyable Clandestiny (72 m 16), while Steve and Alison did the adjacent three-star Sago Entree (75 m 19). This was followed by musical chairs, with Graham and Jenny on Clandestiny, James and John on the Sago. Graham had a couple of falls, no harm done but a bit unsettling. Dennis, Mark and myself went up Guided Missile (80 m 17, 3p) at Alison's recommendation. After spending too much time setting up the first belay, the afternoon started slipping away. Jenny, wanting to get back into it, came up the first pitch, at which time we realised that we would really need three ropes. So, first Jenny rapped off, then cunning Dennis, seeing a late exit looming, slipped away as well. Fortunately, I had enough presence of mind to remind him that if he wanted a lift (Jenny and Gabriella were planning to walk back), he might wait for us with a torch. As a result, although we finished after dark, it was an easy stroll off with our trusty guide, who also had shuttled our packs from the base of the climb up to the tourist track (a most civilised epic).

Monday, Mark and I retrieved a piece from the evening before, then went up Sunset Strip (60 m 17, 2 p), Mark taking the brunt, as the second 15 m pitch included several metres up a grassy gully! Despite having two stars, I thought it nowhere as nice as GM. Steve and Alison went up Iconoclast (80 m 20 ***) and scurried off home after lunch. Graham and Jenny did some more leads at Lindesay, including the delicious Madrigal. Laurie returned after a visit to her brother that evening, and we all headed home Tuesday uneventfully, except for Graham puncturing his tyre on an echidna!?

Graham going Wild in the Wind

A good time all round. The only bad occurrence was that both Gabriella and Graham lost their wedding rings, Graham possibly at Lindesay. My brother-in-law, Ian, suggested maybe two wallabies were having a secret ceremony (exchanging rings) even now, the thought of which made Graham want to gag. The Narrabri NPS office worker was slightly bemused to get two reports of lost rings, but said one of the staff was a climber, and would tell all her mates to keep an eye out for Graham's on the rock! My only complaint is I still haven't been to Yulludinida Crater despite three climbing visits now. Or Mt Ningadhun (as seen on television, see P 30 of guide). Or...

David Duffy