Tal, Edwin, me
Whungee Wheengee was named by Tony Norman to be deliberately confusing with the, at the time, better known Wheengee Whungee creek out at the Kanangra area.
Wheengee Whungee, in turn, was named after the daughter of Goondel, the head of a Gangangara tribe who was befriended by Barrallier and assisted him in his 1802 attempt at crossing the Blue Mts. Wheengeewhungee was promised to one of Barralliers men as a sign of good will. On learning this she promptly pissed off in to the rugged terrain.. See ya!
Ironically Whungee Wheengee is now the better known and more popular of the 2 canyons.
Ed had ear marked this trip as a must do this season. Whungee Wheenge was another canyon I’d heard a lot about but somehow had never got around to doing before. I’d hadn’t heard much about Waterfall of Moss so I was looking forward to it.
We met Ed at the camp ground early. It was crowded, little tents every where and lots of wetsuits hanging on make shift clothes lines. I’ve never seen that many people there. “Might get a little crowded in there today.” Says I. But once again we encountered relatively few people once in the canyons.
We walk in the usual Wollengambe 1 exit track. Heading down it seems a lot shorter, though I found the steeper bits harsh on knees and ankles. It’s already very muggy but we make short work of it and scramble down the last bit to reach the ‘Gambe.
A quick wade across and then straight up the other side, regaining all the elevation we had just lost.
By the time we get to the top I’m coated in sweat, the views over the ‘Gambe and back up to Mt Wilson are grand. Ed disturbs a tiny copperhead. Only about 12cm long it had a gleaming copper body and grey head. It quickly disappears into the scrub. Next up its a small dragon, either Mountain or Jacky it was too small for me to tell. It evades me and Ed by running up Tallis’ shoe and into his hand
The trail out along the ridge is well defined and it doesn’t take long before we scramble back down to the cliffline for our first abseil. We suit up and another group arrive just as I rope up and head down.
The guys behind seem to be moving quick, says Ed, they had the wetties on for the walk up. Might need to let them pass.
Sure enough they catch us as we are contemplating which anchor to use to drop into the first of the tight constrictions. They thank us for letting them through but choose to bypass this abseil by scrambling along ledges above the waterline as they pass I see a familiar face, while I’d never met him before Richard’s videos have been a source of inspiration and extra trip knowledge since getting back into this canyoning craze.
We have a quick chat, the reason they are traveling fast is they set a goal of doing all the Mt Wilson canyons starting with W in one weekend. Even if you class the the different sections of the ‘Gambe as one that’s 6 or 7 canyons in 2 days… I’m stuffed after 2 canyons and half a ‘Gambe section in one day. More power to them.
Anyhoo, they continue on and we opt to drop into the depths. The upper section of Whungee Wheenge has several tight, tunnel-like sections. All of them can be bypassed by following the ledges above but unless you’ve done them before you’d be mad to miss any of them. The constriction might not be as deep and consistent as, say, Claustral or Rocky Crk but is made up for it in the number of “wow” moments.
We’re greeted almost straightway by one of the infamous “duck-unders”. Spots where chock stones hang down almost to water level and you have to ‘duck under’ water to get past them. A narrow tunnel section follows.
Chock stones form a low roof and occasional wider chambers are home to constellations of glowworms.
There are some drier cave like squeezes, up, over and down chock stones inter-spaced with some wider creek walking.
We must nearly be back to the Wollangambe, says Tal as the canyon opens out into a wider gorge. There’s another constriction yet, says I.
And what a constriction.
The lower constriction is deep and narrow and sustained right through to the Wollangambe. We pass a large party (10 or more) exploring up the lower reachs from the Wollangambe. Luckily the stinking dead roo reported a couple of weeks ago has either been flushed out or eaten. No stink today.
A flotilla of lilos line the banks where Whungee meets the wider Wollangambe a bit over halfway through the Greg Section, more commonly referred to as Wollangambe 2 or the ‘Lower tourist section’.
Tal in the “Greg” section
It’s about 11.30 and both the air and water temps are much higher now we are out of the confines of Whungee Wheegee. We swim, wade and scramble about 1km down stream to the usual “Greg” exit.
After a quick lunch we cross back over the ‘Gambe and head up a steep pass towards the top of Waterfall of Moss. The original plan was to ditch the wetuits here and leave them out to dry but we reconsider, opting to keep them on as abrasion resistance on the abseils/slides.
We gain the ridge top quickly. The trail peters out at the base of the cliff line but it’s fairly straight forward once you spy the break in the cliffs. Someone has placed the occasional bit orange tape to guide the way. This wasn’t really needed but was very handy when looking for the anchor to the first abseil, a black tape around a blackened tree… We didn’t seem to be very far back from the ‘Gambe so we’re expecting a lot of small drops close together
I hadn’t heard much about WoM except it was short. I think it was the old Jameson guide that gave a grid reference with a comment along the lines of more an abseil trip in a gully than a proper canyon so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of a constriction.
We rapped into a scrubbie creek and it wasn’t promising much. Scrambling around the side a second drop we opted to abseil of a tree to the right. In hindsight this would have been an easy down climb to the next anchor point, though the creek bed was very slippery.
Next 2 drops were done as one and the second stage went down through a nice sandstone arch. On the bottom of this one I decided to display my grace by sliding backward off a little ledge where by the weight of my pack caused me to do nice a 360 spin on the rope. All style me.
And the next down a slippery dip into a shallow pool
A short walk and the walls closed in to a nice constricted section, made all the nicer as I wasn’t expecting it.
Not to be out done by my acrobatics under the arch Tal decided to go inverted off the start of this one when his foot slipped up as he was looking for his next foot placement. He recovered well and continued down.
Several drops occur one after the other in a very nice, if short, section of canyon.
And then it was one final sloping abseil down the Waterfall of Moss to the Wollangambe. Even at the top of this drop you could feel the heat emanating up from the wider Wollangambe, it was going to be a hot walk out
It was good to reach the deeper water of the ‘Gambe. 200m back down to the exit point where we hung wetsuits and ropes out to dry while we cooled off in the water, had a bit more to eat and then packed up all the gear and began the walk out.
Party Size: 3 all experienced and capable abseilers
Time: 9.5hrs car to car fairly steady pace.
It’s a little rough but video footage