A quick afternoon climb where Jez and Madie blew me and Russ away again
Before setting off Libby dubbed us the Six Pack.
Half a Coopers, Bottle of St Rieul, Pint of Stella, Glass of Chardonnay, a Wild Yak and a Tooghey’s Old or sumfink
The weather was shite, windy as all get up and a grass fire was raging across the Wolgan road.
Our plans had changed and changed again before settling on a quick trip out to Kanangra-Boyd to do Dione Dell. Well sort of
The wind was still raging. There was snow on Oberon Hill and Mt Trickett, but Madie declared, We’re not Pussies! and Leo confirmed, We press on.
I’m not scared.
No really, I’ve done Dione Dell in snow before.
Still, I got slightly concerned when all the others pulled out wetsuits and put them on… At the car. Um are we setting up wet?
Don’t you get wet?
You can but I’ll be staying dry.
Before leaving the car park a familiar car pulled up. Hi Flynny. Ah Phil Clegg and co had the same idea, he’d actually invited me on the trip weeks ago but at that stage we had other unformed plans. We have a chat before we set off.
Dione Dell has some very pretty waterfalls but in between there is a bit of walking across loose Kanangra scree.
At the top of the first abseil we run into Dylan Jones and co. Popular little spot today.
As expected it was fairly sheltered in the gully and warm in the sunshine
After a bit of a walk we reach the top of Wallarra falls. We consider doing the big abseil starting on the left, crossing the fall and finishing on the right but opt to stay dry, So scramble the first pitch, where Dylan graciously offers to let us leap frog his group and we drop in beside the falls. I still think this is one of the prettiest waterfalls going
And then there’s more scrambling and boulder hopping down to the top of Margaret Falls. This is what we are here for. Abseiling beside the 110m waterfall has become a popular option lately. Previously it involved silly long ropes and/or passing knots so not many people contemplated it. New rebelay options make it more appealing but please note it’s not simple and you need to be familiar with hanging belays and advanced techniques. Just getting to the anchors is not straight forward.
It is goddamn spectacular thou
And then we were down.
It took the 6 of us about an 1hr to do the pitch, that’s almost as long as it took us to do the rest of the canyon. We used single rope techniques to string out all 3 pitches with Leo aiding every one on the first rebelay and Madie looking after us on the second.
I got to the bottom first but now the issue, a slippery traverse to stay dry. I sidle my way around… I’m doing ok but there is 6m of blankness between me and keeping my socks dry… It’s slippery as snot. In the end I decide choosing wet feet is probably better then falling in and having wet everything…
Then its back up the hill where the wind nearly blows us off the tops…
Party size: 6
Time: 5hr 50min car to car
Don’t try to understand life. Live it
Mandy and Meeeee
We thought we’d make the most of the pleasant first day of spring weather with a little jaunt down to Deep Pass AKA Gawaymbanha Ngurambenggu
After a quick bite to eat in the warm sun at the camp ground we poke around some of our other hidden gems
There are various pieces of rock art around the site. A lot of it is genuine
“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”
― Terry Pratchett,
Jeremy, Aleasha, Russ, Madie and Me
For one reason or another I find myself picking up Madie and Russ and pointing our wheels south to meet up with Jez and Aleasha for some climbing at a popular little crag near Mittagong.
It was a perfect winters day and for a while we had the crag all to ourselves.
Madie, Russ and I set up on a nice looking 14, Selective Cleansing. It was a nice way to warm up
Again Madie places the gear, then we pull the rope and each have a lead and leave the gear in place to swap routes with the others
Mean while had Jez and Aleasha set up on a more ambitious 21…. Crimp a Buttock They both have a quiet, smooth style. They are nice to watch.
Jez would eventually follow her on lead while Madie and Russ manage the direct route on top rope.
Feeling confident after the top rope we decide to have a lead on something a little more challenging, 17 or 18 would be nice… A slight miss read of the guide saw Madie leading up Silver Fox, 20
Now a just a few weeks ago we dragged each other up a 15 on top rope and were over the moon…. Well, I’ve never known her to back off a challenge and bang, she leads her first 20. While Gibbo and Aleasha are quiet and precise, The Mad One is pure determination, power and self belief, oh and a “little” more vocal 🙂
The challenge is out and I surprise myself by following her to bag the hardest climb I’ve done in over 20 years.
But that would pretty much be my last win for the day. With blown forearms I attempt to follow the others up a few more routes but fail.
Still stoked for the day. If you’d have asked me on the way down I would have said I’d be happy if a managed to second a 17. Bagging a 20 (with pre-placed gear) was a pleasant surprise.
Mt Alexandra is such a cool crag. Interesting routes on nice rock with a good mix of grades. No doubt we’ll be back.
Selective Cleansing 14: Madie, Russ, me
Open to Public Scrutiny: 14 Madie, Me, Russ, Aleasha, Jez
Crimp a Buttock 21: Aleasha, Jez (17 variant on lead). Top rope: Madie, Russ Jez (Direct route) Me (17 Variant)
Silver Fox, 20: Madie, Me, Russ, Jez, Aleasha
Three and a Half Thousand 20: Jez, Madie Aleasha. Top rope Russ, Me (Failed)
Corner from Heaven 18: Aleasha, Jez, Madie: Top rope Russ
Madie and Jez then lead some pumpy little over hung route in the cave. Aleasha had a fair crack on top rope. Me and Rus were done
Make sure you become part of the glorious past in someone else’s future: A Penny
Tim, Ev, Allie, Roy. Chardi, Peter, Richard and meeeee
It’s been awhile since I’ve managed to head out with Tim and his crew but thankfully they let me jump in on this one at the last minute.
We sort gear at the NP gate and amidst much banter waste no time heading off, down toward the ruins, across the river and, up everyone fav access trail, The Pipeline track.
It was a glorious winters day and the rest of the walk in was uneventful. Before long we find ourselves scrambling down through the small, broken cliffline immediately above the start of the canyon.
We opt to traverse to the right along the top of the canyon to the wall abseil. This avoids the two stage drop we did last time. It’s nice but often has a pool at the bottom and a difficult pull down. Going right gets you a long abseil directly above the narrow crack abseil and keeps your feet dry
From there it’s into the fun… or horror… or sumfink
Next up is a short drop with a diabolical start. Not really, it’s fairly simple…
And then we come to the log.
There’s an anchor here. Says Allie
Na I couldn’t be bothered, reply I. I’m just going to hump the log.
Is that a thing?
Oh course it is. Reluctantly she decides to give it a go
Of course Roy has to out do every one by walking down the log instead of humping it. He’s only broken his neck twice, but never while canyoning….
Another magnificent day out in the bush with wonderful people.
Party Size: 8
Time 6hr 14min car to car relaxed pace.
Being normal is the ultimate goal of the boring
Jen, Jodie, Diana, Joel, Ed, Russ, Chewy and meeeeeeee
In an effort keeping positive vibes flowing on the Australian Canyoners FB group through the “Off season” (And to break up the flood of stunning photos Madie’s been posting about European Canyoning. Not that we are jealous. Not us. No…) I put out a Xmas in July canyoning challenge, So far Kylie and Colin had lead trips resulting in awesome photos.. Now it was our turn.
After a round of photos it was into our first canyon, Zorro
And then it was back up to the tops for a lovely Xmas lunch over looking the One and Only Emerites Wolgan resort
Then it’s back to the cars for a short drive around to our next destination. Not so much a canyon as a crack.
And then it was around to have a look at a bigger crack/micro canyon. Catherdral Canyon. AKA The diamond cavern
From there we make our way back to our exit slot, The Crack of Doom 2.
All in all a great day in the bush decking the halls, prancing about, jingling bells and generally having a laugh with seriously awesome people.
Group Size: 8
Time: Is meaningless on Xmas
Tomorrow owes you the sum of your yesterday. Nothing more than that.:-Robin Hobb
Mark, Ed, Ethan, Rob, Russ, Mick, David and meeeeeeee
I’d first visited the Minotaurs lair (AKA Bell Minor canyon) with Ed in 2016. It was a hot dry winters day and too be honest I didn’t think much off it.
But on the way out we spotted a tight slot that’s looked like it may be interesting. Being short on rope and time we didn’t descend it that day so I guess it was time to go back for another look.
Also Geoff Fox had told me about a slot up above the lair that he said was worth visiting so after a cold wet week we set off for a bit of an explore.
Then we head around the corner and into the gully. We cross over and avoid the worst of the scrub by traversing the base of the cliff.
And then we scramble out to look for the slot Yuri ad Geoff labelled Ariadne slot. Just when we thought we’d have to be too high another set of clifflines rise above us and we follow them around.
Its a pretty slot and would make a great abseil in from the top but no Athenian princesses were found so we make our way back down to the junction with Minotaur’s lair and fight our way through tree fall up the other side.
It was about now we hear the dreaded whoosh, crack, kaboom.
With the exception of possibly soiled pants every one was fine. Russ had looked up in time to see a baby head size rock tumbling in slow motion down the canyon. It hit the wall then exploded on the ground where he had been standing moments before….
One more little abseil and we reach the junction with the main gully
Some dense scrub
Some complex boulder hopping….Sliding
And then an easy walk down the nose to the road.
All up a good day in the bush with great people. It was a fairly long complex walk with plenty of scrub and elevation for 3 fairly short slots but I love this shit and heading out with others likewise inclined sooth the soul and clears the mind.
Party Size: 8
Time: 6hr 15min car to car with a bit of a car shuffle
The hardest thing is to find a black cat in a dark room. Especially if there is no cat:- Confucius
Little Miss Sunshine, The Russian Gangster, The Dare Devil, Badass Barbie, Archie, White Water Wizard and Meeeeeee (the eeejiot)
When Kylie said her crew were keen on a trip to this area and invited me along I jumped at the chance and then pretty much rearranged the trip… But they were cool with it.
There has been a lot of good discussion on the Australian Canyoners group about rigging releasable contingency anchors and with Mark’s guidance we took the opportunity to practice setting up with a figure 8 block. A method I’ve not used before but one I’ll make use of in the future.
I’ve always like the idea of releasable anchors and have used munter-mule knots in the past but found them too much of a pain in the arse to bother with on most recreational trips, however there are a bunch of devices out now that take the hassle out of the equation. And for those not into buying more gear (weirdos) most people would have a spare figure 8 in the gear bag somewhere. I was surprised at how simple and quick the figure 8 block was to rig.
But I get ahead of myself.
It’s -4 when Little Miss Sunshine arrives at my place, minus the sunshine, and we head off to meet Mark and the others. I know the others only from online interactions so it’s cool to finally meet them in person.
After a gentle stroll up the hill, wait. No, that’s not right. After slogging up the hill we dump bags and set off for a side trip to our first canyon of the day, slipping up the usual pass and short cutting through the scrub to the top of the slot
An hour or so later we are back at the bags and make our way around to visit the next slot/micro canyon
And then it is up my pass and onto the tops for some views followed by more scrub
1 abseil to go and as I was pulling rope across for Mark to feed it through the anchor there was an almighty rumble, the world shook and a car sized boulder broke off the cliff above and went sailing past about 10m to the right of us….. It was impressive to witness but scary AF when it happened
And then its a combination of walking, stumbling and dirt skiing back down to the cars
Another great day in the bush with great people visiting 3 short but very different canyons
Party Size: 7
Time: 7hr 15 car to car
There’s no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there’s no excuse for boredom. Ever!: Viggo Mortensen
Russ, Stu, Ethan and meeeeeee
Despite (or possibly because) starting the year doing some amazingly awesome and epic trips I’ve been struggling to get out lately. Trying to find that balance between family, canyoning, the mountain bike club, work and all the other crap I do has needed a bit of tending.
Anyhooo I had a weekend free and the guys were keen. Our plans to do something in the Wolgan took a dive when I remembered the glowworm tunnel marathon was on and the valley would be packed.
Shall we go one valley over and do Coinslot.
It’s really short shall we follow up with Doomsday (AKA Bull Ant)
They are an argumentative bunch…
Anyhooo, We converge at my place, load gear in ute and head off.
I’d considered doing the climbing route as I know all the guys are competent but then thought if we wanted to do another canyon none of us had done before it might be best to take the quicker way up thus we take the not quiet climbing route.
Previously with different groups, some of whom needed roping up, the climb up to Coinslot always seemed a longer expedition but in no time we were up and into it.
And then it’s back down to the hill to the car, it’s barely lunch time.
I’ve got some vague track notes to get us to the start of Doomsday and after a bite to eat we head off up the other side of the valley. The climb up starts steep and gets steeper. Some dodgy not-quiet-rock-climbing sees us standing on a summit over looking the valley.
Down into a gap and up the other side then steadily up a ridge.
The canyon must start fairly high up in the system….
We reach the point were the notes say to turn towards the creek and need to drop back down through a fair portion of the elevation we just ascended.
I’m already thinking of Chardie and Autal’s comments on my complex bush bashes to visit not so awesome canyons…
Not sure if Madie told you guys but I have a reputation for this shit, say I
Canyon better be good, says they. And I have to agree
Ethan regales them with the tale of our scrub bash to nowhere
This involves an abseil into a pool and then a duck under a low arch. The bottom of the arch is only a couple of inches above the top of the water. As I was already wet I strip off my shirt and volunteer to go first. It was freaking cold
And then we boulder hop, abseil and stumble back down the hill to the maintenance trail and thus back to the car.
It’s not often I finish a canyon wondering whether it was worth it but I doubt I’d rush back to do Doomsday. I know other friends enjoy it and to be fair on a warmer, wetter day it might be more appealing but today it didn’t grab me as anything special.
Everyone wants to experience the view at the top of the mountain. Very few realise the magic, wonder and growth happens while you are climbing it
Party Size: 4 all experienced
Time: Coinslot 2.5 hours car to car. Doomsday 4.5hrs car to car