On not descending McGregor Falls
On a fine Saturday a few years ago three of us – Colin Cook, David McNabb and I – walked to Powell Hut, then on. A little beyond the turnoff to High Ridge, we dropped off the ridge and down into the headwaters of Holdsworth Stream. Our goal was to get to the major waterfall further downstream. As we continued, sliding down steep banks and slippery rock, I wondered if we could reverse some of these steps if we needed to. Suddenly our stream dropped off into nothing. It was the top of the falls. Without ropes, we could only imagine a complete view of the falls and its airy descent.
We headed into forest on the left and then down a steep slope covered in slippery keikei. Care was needed to avoid a slip. At the bottom of this slope was a three-metre wall, so we traversed around to the right and onto a ledge that allowed us to jump down and back into the stream bed. Attempting to get back to the base of the falls we proceeded back upstream to be faced with a three-metre waterfall bounded on both sides by slippery vertical walls. No further progress possible. The bottom of the big fall not reached. The big waterfall not seen.
We continued downstream a little to a confluence with another stream that came in from under East Holdsworth Peak. Up this stream a little we got to the bush line. We scrambled up through the forest just inside the edge of the bush. On reaching the East Holdsworth track we descended and returned to Holdsworth Lodge. A great day of adventure.
A few days ago Colin Cook sent me a link to an account from another group. Early this year on a good forecast they took ropes, slings, wetsuits and helmets and followed our route to the top of the falls. They then set up an abseil, descended the falls and continued downstream. A fascinating account with beautiful photos.
Here is the link to their account. Holdsworth Creek first descent.html
- Party members
- Mike Wespel-Rose (scribe).