Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thurat Spires

The Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness area has always been an area that’s intrigued me. Its rugged mountains, steep gullies and striking cliff lines make this area absolutely beautiful.

Part of this area is Thurat Spires. In terms of distance its not very far from the Kanangra Walls lookout, it rises up from the valley floor like two pimples on a rocky ridge. At its highest point it would be 950m above sea level and some 600m from the valley below. It has a knife-edge ridgeline that runs the length of it, sheer cliffs either side and in parts is extremely steep.

On Saturday 15th Aug a group of us set out on a walk in an attempt to reach the 2nd Spire in search of a geocache. We left the Kanangra Walls carpark at 6.00am with blue skies and very cool wind blowing through the trees. The sun had even touched the area as we made our way out onto the plateau. After 1 hours walking, some through recently burnt vegetation we reached a point just west of Craft Walls where we left the track and headed down towards Kanangra Ck. Once again we walked through burnt vegetation, the steepness of the slope and lack of undergrowth made our descent quiet slippery with each footing disturbing many loose rocks.
After a 45min descent we reached the valley floor and after a bit of rock hopping we were across the creek and looking at the challenge that lay ahead. We soon started heading up and up, the steepness and loose under footing was the first thing to catch our attention. Each step had to be checked and large rocks rolling down the hill was a constant danger.

Slowly but surely we made our way up, each step would reveal more and more of the spectacular views that behold this area. The knife-edge spur becoming more prominent as we ascended the ridgeline. As we neared the top of the 1st Spire the exposure and steepness of the climb hits you (literally). With the adrenalin pumping and a few shaky legs we finally made it to the top of the 1st Spire. After catching our breath and filling our stomachs we looked at what lie ahead and collectively agreed that the 2nd Spire was beyond our ability.

After taking in more of the vista we turned and commenced our descent. Once again we were reminded of the exposure as we headed down some very steep rock faces. At times we had to take cover, as a large rock would go whistling past us. On 2 separate occasions members of the team took heavy falls, both occasions reminded us of how vulnerable we can be to the elements when out in the wilderness.

Just over an hour after leaving the top we were sitting at the junction of Danae and Kanangra creeks enjoying a late lunch. Our bodies craving to be filled, but they soon would be screaming at us as we took on the final climb back up to the plateau. After one and half hours of uphill climbing we eventually made it up onto the plateau and headed back towards the car. Once again the Spires seemed so close, we stopped to take a few final photos as the Spires faded into the shades.

Eleven hours after starting our walk we were back at the car. Our Thurat Spires walk had been a very physical challenge but also very rewarding. Its beauty will keep bringing me back here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

State Rescue Comp 09

This years State Rescue Comp was held within the confines of the Bombo quarry. Teams from all over the state came to enjoy the 2 days of competition. For the first time there was a night component to the event which ensured all the teams were on their toes.

I was a judge on the lifting and stabilising stand. Here teams were confronted with the scenario of having to retrieve a deceased who’d been crushed under a number of very large boulders. What added to the scenario was that fantastic cas-sim which added that touch of realism to the situation. Our manikin who was pinned under a number of 1-tonne blocks had a pigs head, beef mince and blood added to him to give the real affect that he’d been seriously crushed.
Teams had to preserve the crime scene while endeavouring to remove the deceased as quickly and as safely as possible. Each team was assessed on their leadership, teamwork and extrication techniques. Amongst the 7 teams who did our stand there were a vast array of techniques used.

At the conclusion of the competition Waverley-Woollahra was crowned the winner of the “State rescue comp” for the first time.