Claustrophobia (S 33° 33.606, E 150° 24.749)
Welcome to a genuine Blocko & Badge Geocacheä .
This one isn’t easy, but well worth doing if you have the necessary skills & equipment. The risks include long falls, hypothermia, flash floods, and getting lost, so do not attempt this unless you know what you are doing and accept these risks.
Abseiling; rock-climbing (ability to rope up and traverse grade 13-15 safely); rock scrambling; swimming; map & compass navigation.
You must be fit & have plenty of stamina. This can be a long day (we took 10 hours). Do not start after 0900 and go in summer. Don’t attempt after heavy rain or if rain is forecast. This is a popular route so going on a weekday will speed things up. Don’t do this on your own, and don’t have a huge party either (2 – 3 is ideal). Tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be returning.
One rope suitable for abseiling and traversing (we used a relatively new 50m 9mm dynamic dry rope). If you take a heavy rope, bear in mind that it will be soaked through & therefore even heavier for most of the time.
Climbing harness, karabiner and belay device for everyone. Spare karabiners. Two quick-draws. Prusik loops or rope ascenders. Spare slings in case fixed belay points are suspect.
Wet-suit. Rubber-soled sneakers or basketball shoes are best (they may be ruined). Walking boots can be heavy when sodden.
Food & 2-3 L of water each (I wouldn’t drink the water in this place). Backpack.
Dry-bag for food, change of clothes and camera, GPS, etc. Keep in mind that anything you take may get completely soaked and/or ruined. You will be submerged in water as will all your stuff. Double garbage bags can sometimes work but are not as reliable as a dry-bag.
Mount Wilson 1:25,000 topo map & compass. A torch might get you out of trouble if you become benighted.
Park near S 33° 33.500, E 150° 25.370. Follow the track to S 33° 33.728, E 150° 24.751. At or near this point there is a well-worn track leaving the main track on the right – follow this track toward the cache waypoint.
Note that this waypoint is not where the cache is – it’s just the last time we could receive any satellites. After this point your GPS will not work, so put it in your dry-bag, and get out your map…
Follow the creek (and the track) downstream, scrambling, swimming and jumping as required. You will eventually come upon a rockfall all but blocking the way. Just downstream look for two slings around a tree (orange and black). Now look for a split rock – the cache is in here!! If you look carefully you will find steel rings in the cliff – use them, the traverse isn’t difficult but quite exposed.
If you are faced with an abseil into a deep black hole then you have come about 50m too far.
Once you have bagged the cache head for that deep black hole. Three abseils in a row (10m, 10m and 15m) will take you into the deeps. Follow the obvious route for a kilometre, looking for a canyon joining from the right (map ref KH588827). In under 1km more you come to a 40m swim through cold dark deep water ("tunnel swim"). The first ravine on the left after this is your exit point (Rainbow Ravine). If the climb up the waterfall is difficult, there is a steep gully 100m downstream which can be accessed and then traverse back to the ravine. Keep a sharp eye out for this exit, as we missed it first time, with much backtracking & unpleasantness. Scramble up the track out. Your GPS will start working soon, so get it out of your dry bag, dust it off and head back home…to a warm bed.
Blocko & Badge.