Blog

WhatWorkedForMe

Holbeachs Descent and Spring Creek Ridge Pass
Holbeachs Descent and Spring Creek Ridge Pass

Holbeachs Descent and Spring Creek Ridge Pass

Holbeachs Descent and Spring Creek Ridge Pass are both little traveled passes into the Kedumba Valley. This trip went to Lions Head, then down Holbeachs Descent and up Spring Creek Ridge.

Holbeachs Descent is little known pass into Kedumba Valley from Kings Tableland close to Lions Head. It is very steep and moderately exposed but easy to locate. The exit route is either back up the way you came down (provided you left a tape set to ascend the small quantity of verticality) or countouring around to the right and up the easy Lions Pass; or the option described below to descend the talus and ascend (the also little traveled) Spring Creek Pass only two kilometers further South.

Route

Start at Double Hill on Kings Tableland Road and find the unmarked start that climbs steeply for 200m up through the scrub to Double Hill. It still bears to charred vegetation from the December 2019 fires, but the well-used track is easy to follow. Follow it West, then South along to cliff edge for 3km as it undulates all the way to Lions Pass and then Lions Head.

Kedumba Valley from Lions Head track

To continue down the Pass, backtrack 50m from the Head and descend steeply at first down a short obvious ridge to the East and then very steeply into the first gully. Then descend even more steeply over loose rocks for 100m and 10m before an obvious drop off, contour left into the 2nd gully. There is immediately an eight meter almost vertical descent in the gully. Options include a tiny sloping ledge on the true right that leads to very slopey slabs or a couple of tape assisted almost vertical drops with scattered footholds next to a burnt out log resting in the gully.

The light rain and associated slipperyness of the slabs made the unspoken vote for the tape option unanimous.

Above crux of Holbeachs Descent

Below crux of Holbeachs Descent

After a further 10m of descent it’s sensible to contour back into the righthand gully. A glance up that gully will reveal the wise decision just made in choosing to descend the 8m of verticalness.

The going gets a little easier with an almost imperceptable reduction in the proportion of the objects underfoot collapsing or moving. Soon after the two gullys merge.

Close to the bottom of Holbeachs Descent

Follow a narrow (but not especially exposed) ledge to the left and the talus is reached. The lack of upper storey vegetation offered filtered views towards Reedy Creek Falls.

Then descend steeply over rocks and boulders to Reedy Creek.

Descending talus near Holbeachs Descent

Battle through the huge boulders in the creek, and head straight towards the base of point that is occasionally visible through the canopy. After 300m there’s a small gully crossing, after which the going gets significantly easier along a broad level terrace and then slowly ascend the talus to reach it within 150m of the point.

Continue right around the point until it faces South West along a spine. Ascend to the spine where you’ll find a nearly ascendable wall. Don’t ascend there, but descend 10m to the East and only there scramble up the steep ramp, and following the line of least resistance. Looking back down at the ramp, its’ only steep and loose, nothing especially tricky.

Ascending ramp at Spring Creek

Immediately head Eastwards and find a small, forked (and dead) Cassuarina that assists up a 1.5m rock step to a large gum tree. It looks a little exposed, but doesn’t feel it.

Small step up

From there follow easy ledges to the West through a small orange overhang, and locate a straightforward 4m rock face full of big ledges.

Easy climb up Spring Creek Ridge

The ascent is very straightforward with trivial exposure and that’s the top. Before continuing, have a quick glance back to see how hard it is to locate this small steep climb from above. There are a couple of well placed cairns along this ascent route, including one at the top of this climb.

From the lookout a further 100m North there are good views of the route of Lions Head and the Holbeach descent into the valley.

Holbeachs Descent as seen from top of Spring Creek Ridge

And finally follow your nose North and East across the tops for 4km to rejoin the fire trail. This is the scrubbiest part of the trip, almost all of it is densely vegetated featureless plateau.

Aerial Image of route to Holbeachs Descent

The route taken was anti clockwise from the North

Holbeachs Descent GPS Trace

With detail of Holbeachs Descent…

Holbeachs Descent GPS Trace

… and detail of Spring Creek Ridge Pass Ascent

Spring Creek Ridge Ascent GPS Trace

Timing

  1. Left Car on Kings Tableland at 7:05AM
  2. At Lions Head Pass by 7:45
  3. At Lions Head by 7:55
  4. Down to bottom of Holbeachs Descent by 8:45
  5. Bush bash down to Reedy Creek, cross it, and bash 1.5km and ascend to the Spring Creek Point spine by 9:50
  6. Ascend to plateau by 10:52
  7. 4km bush bash over tops to fire trail by 11:40
  8. 2km Kings Tableland Road jog to car by 11:55

Stats

Approx 12km
Approx 750m of ascent 2km on fire trail, 3km on foot pad, remainder offtrack

Care

The descent of Holbeachs Gully is steep, exposed and mostly over loose rocks and dirt - a tape should be taken in case of unacceptable or changed conditions in the gully. The rest of the trip is lower risk with only bushbashing and scrambing ability required.

  • 01/10/2021