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King's Gully

Date: 20th Nov 2010
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
Having read Alan's report on the Singekang expedition this wee report will pale in comparison but I'll batter on anyway. PJ and I had planned a secret trip to stick a Christmas tree somewhere "extreme" for the club compeition, but that plan fell through due to the heavy rains recently.

So we ended up heading down to Valli's with a stop off to do King's Mountain on the way. There's a lovely green, wide and grassy path up and we dropped the packs near the fissure of King's Gully before dropping to the other side of the valley to do the peak. It was a fine day with an autumnal feel and warm going but for a bit of breeze on top. We couldn't find the "turf ladder" though...

Back at the gully I was awestruck at this amazing cleft. If you've never been, make a point of doing so. Huge parallel walls loom over you as you make your way down into the belly of the mountain. Half way along you have to abseil down into a darkened chimney, 3 rusted pitons providing the anchorage but they proved sturdy enough for this fat boy, even if I did back them up with a sling and cam initially.

I'd brought a 50m static for the abseil and then left the figure-eight devices in the car so that PJ and I had to squeeze the stiff rope into the small belay plates. There were many squeals and frustrated shrieks from above as I waited for PJ to follow me down!

You can continue the abseil in 2 more pitches but it was getting dark so we elected for popping out of the side of the hill and traversing along the cliff tops, scant feet from the edge on slippy grass. A little nerve-wracking to begin with.

Down at Valli's we got stuck into beer, wine and seafood pasta with Ivan, Karen and Eve, ending the night around the camp fire outside. Next morning there were a few heavy heads as we toddled over to the crag. It was bright and sunny so we didn't want to waste the day. Valli's friends Karen and Peter turned up too.

The rock was damp in a lot of places though and I couldn't do the crux move on Orange Hat (HVS 5a), and ended up backing off onto Muck On Top (S 4a). The hangover didn't help either. Then the rope got wedged in a crack and I couldn't take in the slack for PJ. Some anchor adjustment and faffing later PJ finally topped out. Valli came over and announced she was feeling under the weather too and had also backed off something so we just trooped back for coffee and goodbyes. That's what you get for partying to the wee hours!

Photo of Route