For a long while I was hell bent on trying to create a unique photograph of the Three Sisters in Katoomba. So I sort out some unusual angles. This one is from the road between Leura Forest and Kings Tableland. An easy but long walk. I drove it once while I was one of the safety and first aid officers for one of those 100km marathons. I had to drive through the middle of the crowd. One of those embarrassing moments. People said hello and were understanding. We’d pick up the ones with the worst blisters and evacuate them.
Just another one of those times I got paid to sit in the beautiful Australian bush and do nothing much unless something went wrong. I did three or four of these events over the years. Sometimes hired for my 4WD skills, other times for my qualifications in Wilderness First Aid, and others just to be on call.
On one of these events, a guy tripped over at the mad scramble over Katoomba oval that is called the start. He broke his finger with a compound fracture. This means the bone was sticking out through the wound. He wouldn’t stop the race. Adrenaline had kicked in and he wrapped it up and kept running. I was with Tom Williams. A climber and ambulance driver - whom happened to be one of two friends who looked after John Hunt after his fatal fall at Frog Buttress climbing - such a small world.
Tim Carrol and I became good friends and climbing buddies years afterwards when I discovered both him and Tom were the ones that tried to save John. John was one of my closest mentor / friends in my late teens and early twenties. Climbing buddy. Social Worker and brilliant counselor. I saw him nearly die twice, once in a climbing fall at the Wolgan Valley and the other paddling the Nymboida River where he nearly drowned.
I was deeply effected by his death as it was a trip I had pulled out off, and I felt guilty for years that I wasn’t there.
John gave me some of the most profound and accurate feedback, about who I am, that I ever have had the blessing to receive. About my highly developed skills in helping others, and following my intuition.
hmmm… long aside…
Back to the main story…
When Tom found out that this guy wouldn’t stop the race he made it our mission to find him, stop him and get him to hospital. 30 or so kilometres later we found him. Tom disqualified him and eventually sent him to hospital. I did a lot of driving that day.
Photographs trigger memories. Isn’t that beautiful. It doesn’t even need to be a great photograph.
John, you have been missed…
The Three Sisters. Film. Circa 2008 approximately. Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2019