Time-To-Go, Sketchy, Marcula, BeerandScotch, Justadlib and meeeee
Ah Straylia! You’ve done it again. After all the devastation of the fires it’s pissing down rain.
Driving out of town I half expect to see a line of animals marching into an Ark two by two while a crazy dude calls out damnation from god.
I have to admit I was a little anxious. Empress is one canyon that always had me worried in rain. For a small canyon it has a large catchment and a relatively tight constriction. The Falls at the end have a rep for going from a gentle trickle to a wall of water in not much time. In 2005 Matthew Donovan lost his life when his party was hit with a storm burst part way through and he failed to negotiate the second last pool, being pinned under the sharply undercut wall by the sheer force of water.
While our canyoning cuzies from around the world often play in much higher water flows there are additional dangers of doing flooded canyons that don’t usually experience high flow. Canyons that see a lot of water generally clean themselves of the log jams and boulder chokes that feature in many Aussie canyons. Rising waters often pickup and sweep down stuff lying on previously dry banks creating hazards, both from solid impacts and hydraulic stoppers.
There’s definitely a skill to being able to spot and avoid hydraulic hazards, as well as speciality equipment, techniques and team work required to negotiate the canyon safely.
But I knew I was in good hands, people whose skills and judgement I trust. And overriding the nerves was an undertoe of excitement
I get to Mt Vic only for my brain to do this weird thing where it remembers it forgot to remind me to pick up my wetsuit! Some swearing happened. Passing cars probably thought the crazy dude in the ute had a bad case of road rage…
A quick phone call to Mandy and she offers to grab my wetty and meet me half way back home. She really is golden.
I’m slightly late as I pull into the car park and was surprised to see just Madie and Leo. It appears there was a little confusion over the late night change to the start time. They all know changing plans is what we do the best. Or sumfink
Anyhoo, we decide to head off for a look and if all goes well we’ll do a second run when the others arrive. But all agree it is probably going to be a none event today, we’ve had a lot of rain.
On the way down we discuss Go/No-Go indicators. If its below this rock at that point that section is good, If you can see such and such from that vantage… Blah Blah Blah. We also talk emergency exit options. The good thing about Empress is it is short and you can get many looks down into the canyon on the walk in and there are options to get out.
At each inspection point things look better. Time-To-Go’s been through at higher levels. A quick look at the radar and while there is going to be steady drizzle the heavy stuff isn’t due to hit until later. This thing looks like it is on. Woot Woot.
We are warned about which sections have siphons and whirlpools and where the water wants to force you into under cut walls and then we are in.
I’m a bit cautious as I go over the edge but I am grinning like an idiot. Dropping over the edge I get hit by a wall of water but I’m through it quick and behind the main brunt. Working my way down I’m being peppered but the main flow is to the left of me. At the halfway ledge I say hi to BeerandScotch
and then I’m into the flow.
It’s hard to describe the sensation. White water. White noise. It’s almost instant sensory derivation as the water pounds into you, pushing you down the rope. I feel a weird mix of being a passenger, being in control, being in consequential, being alive… I’m watching for the tail of the rope as I know Sketchy set up short so she could bleed rope out as I went. I see the bottom, Well I think I do and I let go and fling myself down. What A rush.
I float there being smashed by the spray and just enjoy the moment.
I hear the others calling and It’s-Time-To-Go hurls the throw bag. Perfect throw. I grab hold and they pull me across the pool. I’m still grinning like an idiot.
We laugh and high five and all that. The others are keen for their turn.
Damn phone rings and I’m stupid enough to check it…. Work. Looks like I’ll miss run 2:-(
By the time they get back to the start the water is up another 2 foot or so. Still doable and it looks like they had a ball.
The heavy rain hits a few hours later pushing water way up past safe levels. I’m glad we got in when we did. It was a great experience.
As usual there are a lot of opinions on the socials as to whether people should be out in these conditions.
Should people be encouraging others to do so. Most definitely not.
Personally with this group, at that time, in those conditions I felt perfectly safe, or as safe as usual when canyoning.
As stated earlier I trust their skill levels and their judgement. I think they are amongst the most safety conscious groups I have ever been out with. There is a level of skill across the group that we have worked to achieve and a level-headedness that I admire. I wouldn’t suggest others try to do it without building those attributes up first.
Was it risky? Yeah sure. But it was a calculated risk based on skill levels, knowledge of the canyon and escape routes, team dynamics, keeping a close track of weather apps and always being prepared to back out.
500 people die on the roads in NSW every year. What risk analysis did you do last time you hopped into a car?
“It’s in those quiet little towns, at the edge of the world, that you will find the salt of the earth people who make you feel right at home.” Aaron Lauritsen . Substitute “quiet little towns” for adventures and it captures this group prefectly
Madie and meee
I’d strained a tendon in my arm so hadn’t climbed for ages but with 99.99% of canyons closed due to the devastating bush fires that are raging across the country I was going a bit stir crazy.
I text The Mad One to see what she was up to over new years.
Want to go climbing now?
It’s like 6pm Monday afternoon. Sure
There’s an easy climb at Mt Boyce that I use to really enjoy that she hadn’t done yet so we decide to go give it a crack.
A quick look at the guide. You need bolt plates she says.
I have plates.
We meet at the car park. a quick check of the guide and we drive around to the new car park…. It’d been 20+ years since I’d climbed this one.
So we abseil in, and leave a rope in place. Good call
and head around to the start of the climb.
I can’t see many bolts, says she
I remember it being run out, say I
And up she goes to clip the first bolt 6 or 7 meters off the ground.
Um, Flynny. I can’t see any bolts above me.
I lock her off while she pulls out her phone to check the online guide .
Um this is a mixed route….
We didn’t pack any trad gear. Ooops
A delicate retreat was made and by the time we ascend our abseil line it’s dark… Bugger! shall we try something again tomorrow?
It’s New Years Eve and we skived off work early to see if we could find somewhere open.
Pulling into the car park we step out of the car… holy crap it’s hot.
Wanna do a quick run through Empress to cool off first?
Changing plans is what we do the best
Back in the car and out to the conservation hut
Back at the car we check online to see what crags are open then head off for the classic Sweet Dreams. A climb I’ve never done before
I totally sooked it and “let” Madie lead every pitch but I thoroughly enjoyed the climb,
Cheers 2019. you have been eventful.
Here’s to 2020
Geoff, Gabby, Kent, Ash, Gemma, Mick and meeeee
So before Christmas I had organised a trip to Luna Park canyon. It was suppose to be a big trip for a soso canyon but it’s one I wanted to check out.
Then Thing 1 and Thing 2 surprised me with tickets to see Paul Kelly at the Domain on the same day and I had to pull out.
Kent graciously offered to run the trip, they copped a stinking hot day and the majority of the group swore they’d never do that F$#%ing canyon ever again.
But I was still keen and so when Geoff asked me if I’d join him for a trip I rearranged some other commitments, scored a leave pass and jumped at the chance.
In contrast to the other group our day was cool and drizzly making perfect conditions for big day in steep terrain
Before long we leave the trail and head off into untracked scrub
It’s a big walk in, you have to drop down a steep ridge, cross the Bungleboori and climb an even steeper break in the cliff on the other side but the day was pleasant and the company was great so it didn’t see that big an ordeal. In fact I really enjoyed the walking.
Some 4 or so hours later we arrive at the start of the canyon, suit up, have a bite to eat then drop on in.
The first abseil has an awkward start into a small chamber. I go first, belay Gabby and Kent down and then me and Gabby go ahead to set up ropes on the next drop
And then comes the abseil Kent had been warning everyone about. Crowded start. Sharply over hung lip. I offer to be LPAR and wait at top with safety rope just in case.
Kent has no issues but most others have some difficulty. Geoff (a very experienced and capable abseiler) gets the rope jammed badly between device and the rock and needs assistance. Ash goes upside down off the start. Gemma almost gets into the same predicament as Geoff but manages to free herself. Mick gets a finger of his glove stuck under the rope and for a bit I thought we’d need to cut it off.
All this is made me a bit nervous but I go over without drama only to get through the difficult bit and then slip at the very bottom, ungraciously ending up on my butt under the water fall.
The canyon below this might be short but with the atmospheric drizzle adding to the ambience I thought it was outstanding
And then comes the “Luna park abseil” so called because the arch you abseil through is meant to look like the Luna Park Mouth. I don’t see it.
And then we have a long but pleasant walk up a magnificent section of the Southern Bungleboori.
Gemma is a bit of a fungi appreciator and had mentioned finding some rare blue specimens on a recent trip in the blue mountains. I don’t have a clue about fungi, or most things really, but told her I had seen blue mushrooms on a couple of trips in the bungleboori
And sure enough
Gemma assured us they were very rare but the seemed to be popping up everywhere along the banks of the ‘Borri today.
Before long we are changing back into not so dry clothes and making our way back up through the broken cliff lines back to civiliation
We’ve been going for about 10.5hrs at this stage. It’s been drizzling all day. I haven’t been dry since I got out of the car but I’m smiling like a simpleton.
I turn to Gemma and Mick, People must think we are insane. Say I. But I love this shit.
They laugh and agree. It’s been a great day
Part Size: 7 all experienced
Time: 11hr car to car steady pace.
Do what makes you happy and be happy with what you do
The draft Canyoning Good Practice Guide (“the Guide”) has been released under the Australian Adventure Activity Standards (AAAS). Feedback or submissions on the document are due by 12 November 2018.
While the standards are currently voluntary, they can be adopted by land owners, regulatory agencies such as National Parks and Wildlife Services, insurers, etc. They are also a bar against which a Court or Judge can compare a provider’s or leader’s negligence.
The Guide is clearly written by and intended for commercial providers, yet it applies to Clubs and any recreational trip with dependent participants. Most club members on a canyon trip would be considered dependents under the Guide.
Whilst the Guide is not legally binding at present, we can foresee a time when canyoning will be so popular that a permit system will be applied to many of our most visited canyons, like Empress and Claustral. If this document was enforced by National Parks and Wildlife Services for example, no Club trip would meet the standards for us to be able to visit these natural beauties freely. Canyoners would have no other choice but to pay a commercial provider to attend these canyons. For example, to comply with them the Club would be required to own, maintain, store and retire all the equipment used on canyoning trips such as harnesses, ropes, descenders, carabiners, etc. Leaders would have to be qualified in various units / courses and know the canyon being visited beforehand. It would effectively be the end of exploration and the bush would be covered in more unwanted red tape. This would of course be detrimental to every canyoner, member of a Club or not.
We believe canyoners, recreational organisations, clubs and its members should oppose the Guide.
We note that Bushwalking Australia recently issued a policy opposing the Bushwalking AAAS (link:http://www.bushwalkingaustralia.org/images/docos/Policies/Bushwalking_Australia_Policy_-_AAAS.pdf)
The same would be a desirable outcome from Clubs and Associations regarding the Canyoning Guide.
Commercial providers have a higher duty of care to their paying customers than volunteer groups. The Guide should only apply to them.
Below are Craig Flynn’s and my submissions on the Guide. If you agree with our objections, please copy (amend if you like) and paste the submissions in an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org (RE: Submissions on the Canyoning Good Practice Guide)
Here is the link to the full Guide:
It would be extremely difficult, daunting and in some cases even impossible for volunteer groups such as Bushwalking Clubs to comply with the provisions contained in the Canyoning Good Practice Guide.
The Guide has the following MANDATORY requirements for example:
1) Equipment MUST be checked that it is serviceable before each activity or before being used (Rule 6.5);
2) Appropriate procedures MUST be in place for inspections (Rule 6.5);
3) Equipment and inspections MUST conform with the law and regulations (Rule 6.5)
4) Equipment MUST be stored with reference to the manufacturer’s recommendations or instructions (Rule 6.6)
Analysis: On Club trips members purchase, provide and look after their own equipment, including storage. These provisions would be impossible to comply with.
5) Requiring certain Competencies from leaders (Rule 7.2)
Analysis: Requiring accreditation in certain units or courses to lead a canyon could only apply to Commercial Activity providers. Most clubs are constituted by volunteer hobbyists with no formal accreditation or qualification. This requirement would make leading a canyon by a recreational group extremely difficult.
6) Requiring knowledge of the site (Rule 7.5.2)
Analysis: This provision fails on 2 fronts for recreational groups:
a) It refers to factors the provider should consider when allocating activity leaders to a trip. However, in Clubs the trips are organised or volunteered by the members and NOT allocated;
b) While commercial groups are expected to have previous knowledge of a canyon, recreational canyoning frequently involves exploration. Again, this provision is an example of a requirement that cannot apply to a recreational group.
7) Unprotected climbing MUST only be used where the risk is acceptably low of a fall from height indicate the climb does not require the use of a fall protection system or spotter (Rule 7.6.3)
Analysis: Many climbs in canyons in the Blue Mountains involve exposure and unsafe heights. A fall protection system or spotter is many times not possible.
8) To reduce the potential for falls from height, procedures MUST include designating what areas that are not to be entered (Rule 7.6.7)
Analysis: Recreational groups would not be able to limit the members’ mobility in certain areas, even if unsafe.
9) Abseil belay systems MUST use at least one belay method to protect the abseiler if they lose control of the descent and the belay method used MUST be a releasable top belay system, unless other considerations indicate another belay method is more appropriate.(Rule 7.6.8)
Analysis: Requiring a belay system on every abseil is very onerous. Recreational groups may not belay the first person or use a top belay over a bottom belay in many instances.
An exclusion clause in the Guides would be appropriate, such as:
“The Canyoning Good Practice Guide does not apply to Independent (Non-Commercial) Participation in Canyoning Adventure Activities in NSW”
By Gabriela Faura
If you rated the Good Practice Guide ‘I cannot support this’, please provide your reason:
The document is poorly worded (It’s “voluntary” but you “must”) with no scope to define exactly who it applies to.
“Dependent” and “Activity Provider” are grey terms which the document fails to clearly define.
It appears written by commercial interests for commercial interests. Under current legislation it would be unenforceable towards volunteers and recreational groups however I foresee a time when canyoning becomes so popular a permit system will be applied to the most popular canyons and this document could then be used as a minimum requirement by land-managers when issuing permits.
Unfortunately, several sections of the document become completely impracticable in a recreational or club setting which may then exclude such groups from obtaining said permits.
3.2 Canyoning emergency management plan. A documented emergency plan is impracticable for recreational groups. Specific clauses such as escape route mapping are not practical when exploring rarely visited canyons.
6.2.1 “Training in the use of equipment used MUST be provided to activity leaders and participants”. In my recreational group who provides this training to the leader and participants? This is clearly written towards commercial parties or youth groups/clubs offering skills instruction.
6.4.5 “A procedure regarding participant supplied equipment SHOULD be developed.” Completely irrelevant to recreational groups
“6.4.6 Rescue systems Anchor systems and belay systems MUST be rigged for a timely and effective rescue. Abseils that involve running waterfalls MUST use releasable rigging” Again, less practicable for recreational groups where the level of “dependence” is far less than in a commercial setting
6.5 Maintenance of equipment Again, completely impractical for recreational groups where each person is expected to look after their own equipment.
6.6 Storage of equipment Again, completely impractical for a leader of recreational groups where each person is expected to look after their own equipment
7.1 Naming conventions. This is clearly written towards commercial parties or youth groups/clubs offering skills instruction with no relevance to recreational groups.
7.2 Competencies. Completely irrelevant to recreational groups
7.4 Supervision ratios. Irrelevant to recreational groups
7.4.2 Supervision of belay systems Less relevant to recreational groups
7.4.3 Assistant canyoning guides and supervision ratios Irrelevant to recreational groups
7.4.4 Single activity leader – all canyoning Irrelevant to recreational groups
7.4.5 Single activity leader – vertical canyoning Irrelevant to recreational groups
7.5.1 Progression through a canyon Procedures MUST be used to reduce the potential of: This is clearly written towards commercial parties or youth groups/clubs offering skills instruction and completely irrelevant to recreational groups
7.5.2 Knowledge of site Completely irrelevant to recreational groups who may be doing an exploratory trip or visiting a canyon for the first time (whether using a guide book or beta from others). If this clause was in play previously canyons would not have been explored in the first instance.
7.5.3 Canyoning activity information for participants This is clearly written towards commercial parties or youth groups/clubs offering skills instruction and less relevant to recreational groups
7.6.5 Deep-water belays Procedures to assess the suitability and safety of deep-water belays MUST be developed and used. This is clearly written towards commercial parties or youth groups/clubs offering skills instruction. Procedures are completely irrelevant and impracticable to recreational groups
7.6.7 Abseiling and Climbing To reduce the potential for falls from height, procedures MUST include: This is clearly written towards commercial parties or youth groups/clubs offering skills instruction. Procedures are completely irrelevant to recreational groups
7.6.8 through 7.6.18 While offering a handy guide of what should be done the use of the word “Must” limits it relevance to recreational groups who may choose to use different methods and systems.
7.7 Aquatic canyoning activity management. As above This is clearly written towards commercial parties or youth groups/clubs offering skills instruction. Most of the clause are less relevant/impracticable for recreational groups. Procedures are completely irrelevant to recreational groups
Are there any topics that should have been included but were not?
If the document is to be adopted in any from it requires a scope that clearly defines who it is intended for. My suggestion would be something along the lines of “This guide applies to Commercial groups, youth group such as scouts, rovers, guides, recreational clubs (but only when the primary purpose of the trip is skills instruction)…… While it is a handy guide for recreational canyoners it is not expected to be applied to independent or co-dependent recreational groups”
I also feel the definitions of “Dependent group” and “activity provider” provided in the core guide are vague at best and clearer definitions need to be developed.
Are there any topics that were covered that you do not think need to be?
There are 2 simple grading systems already in use in Australia, Jameison’s 1-5 and Brennan’s Easy,Medium, Hard
I feel these are more than enough to cover the relatively small diversity of difficulty in the Blue Mountains and the introduction of a new, more complex grading system only adds confusion.
What are your key concerns regarding the activity Good Practice Guide, if any?
A cynical person might suggest the guide is written by commercial interests to make it harder/less appealing for Recreational clubs and youth groups to compete with them.
My concern is if land managers decide to adopt the guide as a minimum standard for allowing recreational groups continued access to canyons. This decision could well be made by persons with little actual knowledge of canyoning who assume that as there is a published guide it would be applicable to all canyoning groups.
Other concerns include the document having an over use of the word “must” in a guide that is meant to be “voluntary” and the fact it tries to aim itself at groups and organisation that current legislation would view as exempt from it. Thus it is an impracticable document that exists for the sole purpose of existing.
Issues with the core guide
Incident reporting Not always practicable for recreational groups
Planning Management and approval of activities. Less relevant and practical for recreational groups
Activity plans . Less relevant and practical for recreational groups
Purpose of activity. Less relevant and practical for recreational groups. I’d like a clear purpose for this document though.
Emergency management planning Refers to procedures. Documented procedures are completely irrelevant to recreational groups
Reporting notifiable incidents Completely irrelevant to recreational groups
Work health and safety Completely irrelevant to recreational and volunteer club based groups
Activity leader required documentation Irrelevant to recreational groups
Consent Less relevant to recreational groups
Trigger points. Documented T.A.R.P.s and trigger points are not relevant to recreational groups
Equipment and logistics Less relevant to recreational groups with some clauses being impracticable.
Naming conventions and roles Less relevant to recreational groups with some clauses being impracticable.
Competencies Less relevant to recreational groups with some clauses being impracticable
By Craig Flynn
Flynny and Gabby
Access: A short walk to a great view over the Grose Valley.
Navigation: Navigation is fairly straight forward once on the trail
Map: Mt Wilson 8930-1N 1:25000
Time: It’s only 15-20min walk out to the look out from car park but the views are worth spending some more time at.
Walls Lookout is a nice spot near the Pierces Pass track that offers great views Down the Grose Valley
Getting There: Turn off the Bells Line of Road on to Pierces Pass road (In between the Mt Wilson and MT Banks turn offs). Either park at the Top and follow thew signs for Walls Look out or go down to the bottom car park (A bit steep and rough in places)
There are basic picnic facilities and toilets at the car park.
From the top the trail is sign posted. From the bottom it’s not but walk back up the road a few meters and go right towards the toilet block. The trail goes right before you get to the toilets.
Once on the trail it’s a pretty easy walk out to the end .
Return the same way
Note: The great outdoors is an ever changing place. Bush fires, changing weather, vegetation growth and forestry activities can all affect the trail conditions and thus the difficulty of the walk, or even the drive to the car park. These are a rough guide only and are by no means meant to be a definitive guide . They do not replace the need for adequate map reading and navigational skills
Note 1: Taking care While reasonably well known these spots are still wild places and care needs to be taken around cliff edges and on the steep trails. Carrying the right gear as well as having adequate food, water and clothing is important. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get back.
Cliffs in the area are seldom fenced off and are often under-cut. Fragile ironstone ledges can extend out a meter or more yet be only centimeters thick. the rule of thumb is no closer than a body length and a half to the edge without tying into a safety line.
On pagodas this is disastrous in a different way. It’s taken millions of years for the distinctive Platey pagodas to form but one careless footstep can damage the formation. Platey pagodas are unique to our area. Don’t ruin them from carelessness.
Emergency beckons (PLBs) can be hired from Katoomba Police or Blackheath NP office for very little.
Note 2: First aid A basic first aid kit is essential bit of kit whenever heading into the Aussie bush. First aid training is highly recommended
Note 3: Maps and Navigation Having the right map, a compass and knowing how to read them is very important when heading into the bush. If you are new to bush walking joining a club or accompanying more experienced walker for your first few outings is a very good idea. I found practicing map reading on well defined trails was helpful when I started out.
The Maps mentioned are the 1:25000 series. They can be purchase at Lithgow tourism information center, from outdoors shops or online for around $10 each.
Note 4: These are wild and beautiful places, respect them. If you are able to carry something in you can carry it out. Don’ be a tosser. Leaving your rubbish behind is a sure way to ruin it for every one else.
Madie, Autal, Catherine, Chris and meeeeee
With the weather turning cold it’s time to focus on dry trips. Depite popular opinion there are a number of dry(ish) canyons not to far from the usual summer trips that are worth a look. This one is a short day in the Wolgan.
The canyon itself isn’t that great in regards to length and depth of the constriction but it has a couple of standout features and great views.
We met at the servo bright and early and sorted car pools to drive down to the car park. Mick was joining us for the haul up through the cliff lines but then leaving as he had afternoon plans in the bigsmoke
Madie was running 5min late but, hey she had a 4hr drive to get here so no one blamed her. Oh, in a previous blog I stated she needed a constant supply of chips and chocolate. that was just a bit of fun after she brought a large pack of chips on the trip I didn’t mean it to sound like she was a snack scoffing fatty. She usually eats nothing but kale washed down with a cup of steam, or sumfink. I’m the fat guy on our trips.
The frost was lifting off the tops and down in the valley it was a glorious morning so we wasted little time in setting out up the hill.
Our path up is typically steep but relatively easy for the Wolgan.
Some Pretty section of creek and grand overhangs break up the climb
and soon we are bathing in sunshine on top of the stunning clifflines that seem so impenetrable from the valley below.
This is where Mick leaves us and heads back the way we came up. For the rest of us it’s a relatively easy stroll up through the scrub to intersect a faint trail along the ridge.
There is a pleasant bit along the ridge before we drop back down through the scrub to our first anchor point above a 30m abseil down through one of the highlights
Over the millenia water running down a sloping face have carved a deep groove into the rock befre hitting a band of iron stone that created a small pool halfway up the cliff line. Evenually this pool eroded deeper and deeper until it bored a hole staright through the cliff
From below the hole is stunningly circular
A short, dark cave section follows
Then there is some bounder hoping and scambling down beside the creek before it tries to canyon up
On our trip last year we were greeted with a deep, very cold pool here that soaked every up to their necks. Today we didn’t even get our feet wet.
click to enbiggen
And then the next highlight is a drop down through this stunning hole through the rock
At the bottom is usually a deep plunge pool that takes some manoeuvring to get across without falling in. Today it was nearly dry but I made them do the bridge anyway 🙂
The hole opens into a chamber with an amzing window out over the Wolgan
We have lunch in the sun light on the halfway ledge and then there is one more long abseil before the quick march down the hill to the cars
A day in the bush with a fun bunch of people is the perfect chatharsis for the stress of the modern world
Party Size: 5 all experienced
Time: 6hr car to car
Tim, Scott, Louise, John, Autal, Craig B, Peter and I
Canyoning out near Kanangra Walls generally means epic full or multi-day adventures in big terrain.
Dion Dell is a little more sedate trip than most out this way. That said the waterfalls are very pretty and the terrain is just as aweinpiring.
Party Size: 8, all experienced.
Time: 5hrs relaxed pace
To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, it’s the most valuable part: Aldo Leopold
Ed and me
Ed hadn’t done Yileen before and I thought it was good one for this time of year as its a nice trip and the swims are fairly short.
The walk in is a nice stroll down a ridge with great views out over the Grose Valley
And it’s not long before we reach the left branch of the creek with some of the clearest water you are likely to see.
There is a brief canyon in this section then the right branch joins and the creek opens out a bit before the canyon proper
We get to the first little drop. Apparently some people abseil it but it’s a fairly easy shimmy down a squeeze on the right or you can skirt along a high ledge on the left with one balancey move and then walk down just down stream. Some one has set up a hand line on the left that just looks dangerous.
What follows is a big abseil down to the back of the cliff line. This is one of the bigger canyon abseils in this part of the Blue Mtns
The usual method is to rap down to the big ledge then rebelay for the last 8m or so. As we had plenty of rope we did it in one drop.
For the first time ever I got a rope struck. I had carefully pulled the knot passed the vegetation at the top and then passed the lip on the ledge and thought it was all good, however as the end dropped down it threw a loop around a boulder at the back of the ledge….
Cheer to Ed who scampered up the sloping wall to the side of the drop to free the rope. No knots or tangles just the friction of the rope end looping around the rock.
All in all a pleasant day out in the bush
Party size: 2 both experienced
Time: 4hrs car to car relaxed pace