Kanangra Main via The Slot

17-01-2021

Russ, Madie, Leo, Jeremey, Jeremey and meeeeeeee!!!

After being devastated by fires, ravaged by flood and generally off limits with COVID restriction Russ and Libby looked like they were finally going to get hitched… Wait that’s a different story, I mean the Kanangra-Boyd NP was quietly reopenned to remote activities on Christmas eve 2020. That meant access to the Kanangra canyons was back on. Woot Woot!

‘Cept the weather was miserable and water levels kept most sensible parties away.

But water levels began to recede and reports started coming in that well equipt groups with white water experience and skill had successfully begun negotiating a couple of the more popular ones or, at least, parts there of.

We needed to get the gang back together for sumfink big before Russ had to take a break to keep himself pretty for the nuptials or sumfink and photos from Kanangra Main to the emergency exit below pitch 3 looked ace. So plans started to be planned in our very unplanned, half planned, let’s solidify the plan as we go kinda planning routine.

The Kanangra area tends to hold it’s water levels longer than the typical Blue Mountain canyons but a week of sunny weather had things easing off a bit and a bunch of different options were optioned up before we finally opted a full run of K-Main via the Slot option.

Eager Beavers setting off in glorious sunshine and the vivid Kanangra-Boyd regrowth
Views out over Kanangra Gorge towards the Thurat Spires on a Blue Bird morning ©Madie

Last time I attempted a trip through the Slot things did not quiet go to plan and eerily as we traversed across the top of the usual entry there was once again another group were setting off down the main wall

Same anchor different angles 14months apart

We slip past the main entrance and gear up above the slot. There is a buzz of excitement as I set the rope and one by one the others make their way down

Myself and Sterlo were the last to arrive at the start of pitch 2 and relieve Leo off anchor duties so that he can head down to lead the money pitch

Leo heading down Pitch 2, you may be able to make out Madie, Gibbo and Russ way down below

The roar of the falls and the spray at the start of pitch 3 was intense.

Leo heads off grinning as I reach the anchor.

Flynn, You’re up next. Says Madie

Who made her the boss?

Tingles. Nervous excitement. Stoopid grin. I rope up and head on down.

White noise.

But not what I was expecting. P3 crosses through the falls but as it has tumbled down the 100m above the water has bounced of the walls and spread out, dissipating the full force into a wide mist.

Hitting the pool below I was surprised it wasn’t a torrent of flow. I make my way through the mist to once again relieve Leo at the anchor. He continues down the next drop where the other group are just setting their anchor

Even though short, P4 was probably the trickiest. There was a bit of flow in the pool at the bottom with a wash over risk if you were not careful. Leo set a guide line to help the rest of us across.

I man the anchor and enjoy the spray and wind as the others make their way first to me and on to Leo

Russ heading down P4 on the guided abseil while I pack up the anchor in the spray ©Madie

From here down we are on the standard route though the extra water make s it seem anything but standard

We soon leap frog the other group and continue our way down

Madie disappearing into the froth
This one is optional or you can walk around and jump…
And after abseiling to the halfway ledge and jumping this beauty we haul out into the sun for lunch

So the usual exit is to continue down 45mon or so to the Kalang (Kanangra Creek and Kanangra brook) junction and then mudering gully or manslaughter ridge. We though we might try another option

We head up a steep rocky gully that at times blurred the line between scrambling and rock climbing

We make good time and eat the elevation but are nervous we will get cliffed out. The map wasn’t exactly inspiring. About half way up I spot a vegetated gully coming in to the side. I reckon that will go. Says I

We have a bit of a pow wow and Russ checks the map.

I think he could be right says, Russ. The side gully looks more promising on the contours than the main gully

Should we take Flynny’s gull or stay in the main one.

Whoa there. If the gully goes it can be Flynny’s gully. If it doesn’t it’s Russ’s gully. Say I

We head up the side gully.

It’s steep and loose. Think manslaughter ridge but looser and no room to traverse. Crawl up 2 steps. Slide back one. Shower your mates below with pebbles, rocks and the occasional boulder.

Sometime later we reach the base of the top cliff and begin to traverse around hoping that it will peter out.

Peter, peter. Pumkin eater.

But soon it appears out way is going to be barred by cliff dropping back into the gully below.

The nose always goes, sometimes.

Leo fines a weakness in the nose and manages to get up and drops a rope back down for us. Gibbo heads up. Followed by Madie.

Where’s Sterlo?

Hey there’s a gully around the corner you can walk up… Sterlo is up top. Me and Russ. Follow him up

Flynny’s gully is renamed Craigs Crying Crack. It goes but it has some hair on it and it ain’t fun and we’re not sure if it saved us any time

How ’bout dem views thou

party size: 6

Time: 8hr car to car with along lunch

Remember your comfort zone is a very dangerous place to be

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Lake Gooch

Tal and me

ding ding. I get a message.

Heads up

There’s a photo attached. My eyes light up

Many years ago I came across a video of a little lake that had formed in Goochs crater and and ever since I have wanted to see it in the same state . \

Many times Mandy and I have headed up in the pouring rain in the hopes of witnessing this rare phenomena (Do doo be-do-do) without luck

Now here I am looking at a photo of it full

As soon as I can get out of work I do

Grab your shoes, I say to Mandy.

I have to work this afternoon lets’ do it tomorrow

Oooooo. But it might be empty by then. pouty face.

Take Tal

Woohooo.

We head on up, anticipation grows

What will we find? will it blow my mind or disappoint me a again?

Looking down on the “Crater” It’s full of brown water” I the video that first inspired me shoed crystal clear water. With run off from post fires and what not what greeted us was a murky brown lake.

but a lake non-the-less. Happy boy

The wild flowers are out too

We Phaff about

And finally we duck down to check out a nearby canyonette

Do do do dodo

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NYD 2021 Wollangambe

01/01/2021

Ed, Ethan, Dick, Russ, Libby, Jared and Paul and me

So New Years Day we have developed a bit of a tradition of doing an “easy, recovery” canyon. This year the families ditched us but other mates came along.

All photos here a copy write to Ed as my camera still needs repairing

We meet up at the car park and head off down the trail. Post fires the trail is very overgrown with grass at the moment and despite knowing it reasonably well there were a couple of spots at the start where we really had to look for it.

Some off us were smart enough to don wetties at the car park. We were soon soaked from pushng through the grass

But soon we reach the river ad crossed over

©Edwin

And then scramble up the small broken clifflines up the other side aiming for the short but pretty Horseshoe canyon

 ©Edwin

And then it’s time to blow up the floaties and get a floating.

©Edwin: Some people were their own floatie
©Edwin: Occasionally we climbed out only to jump back in. This one is a good 3 arm twirls high

With the usual banter, laughs and good times we continue down the river

Logs wedged high in the rocks above were a reminder of how much the water levels can rise in the ‘Gambe. But it hadn’t properly rained for a few days and even after the wet conditions we had experienced earlier in the week the water levels were fairly normal.

I’d say the river at the usual entry and exit beaches was up about 50-100mm on what it was in 2019 at the end of the long dry spell but the mighty ‘Gambe, usually viewed as a benign, casual family trip was about to remind us that even in these conditions our water playgrounds should never be taken for granted.

The following day tragedy would strike.

There had been no more rain. Water levels had not risen. But a change in hydrology had caused a dangerous, and hidden siphon to develop and unfortunately 2 canyoners lost their lives, 1 in an attempt to save the other.

My heart goes out to their family, friends and party members. It is a sad reminder that there is inherent risk in everything we do.

Stay safe and I hope to catch you out there somewhere

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