Glen Davis revisited

16-06-2018

Dick, Madie, Edwin, Ethan, Autal, Marchelle, Slava, and most importantly Ev.

 

Oh and me.

With tight schedules we managed to get in another trip into the Capertee valley to visit  A classic Glen Davis slot. This time we’d forego the climbing route for the quicker “Scrambling” route.

Or atleast that was the plan

The scrambling route has some exposure to it.

Exposure can do funny things to people.

 

One member of the group, who is a competent climber and who shall remain nameless, got a bit freaked out and we ended up roping up and belaying anyway.

Ev rocketted up the snotty chute of snottness (Where I’d had a BLM, Bowel Liquifying Moment, on a trip to a different canyon) and dropped a rope down to assist every one else.

We all got up safely.

It’s easy scrambling but on flakey rock and you are along way up. Nice views but

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Ethan on a narrow, sloping ledge High above the Capertee valley with Point Anderson, Canobla gap and Mt Gundangaroo in the distance
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Marchelle on the “Non-Climbing” route ©Madie
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Madie about to start a hair raising traverse along a ledge that is at times not much more and 6inches wide.
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The wider part of the Ledge
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The chute. I’m told there is a way around this but I couldn’t see it. I think maybe if we stayed lower and traverse a bit… maybe

Anyhoo we all make it up and in short time are back to doing what we like to do best. Coming back down.

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Autal on the first abseil
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Marchelle belaying Slava on Nivana’s Heart Shaped Rock
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She is a little shy but with some coaxing we got her to pose…. Madie
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Ev

And then we were into the slot proper

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Autal dropping in ©Ev
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©Madie
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Autal on rope

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It’s short but oh so grand
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I’m becoming a photo nerd and loving the colours

 

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The Coin Slot ©Madie
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Ed
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Ethan
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Dick
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Wait for meeeeeee.
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Ev
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Oh noes the rope it be stuck

Despite being careful at the top it seems the knot has jammed.

We try backwards and forewardsing it. We try setting a Z line from different angles and it just would not budge

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Meat anchored Z-pull to try and get the rope to come down… ©Madie

I stuff around trying to remember how Guy showed me to set up a super quick, efficient way to prusik but failed to remember a key aspect and Ev got sick of my fumbling, pushed me to the side and rigged up the old fashion way. And up she went. 30m of over hanging prusiking , fix the rope and back down in 20min. Top effort.

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Ev prusiking ©Autal
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Ev is everyones hero after rescuing the ropes. Thanks Ev, massive effort.
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Ethan

And then we are out into the open for 1 last impressive abseil

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Slava beneath some spectacularly coloured cliflines
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Ethan on the final abseil ©Edwin Emmerick Photography

And then it was a simple trudge back down to the camp ground. Another enjoyable day in the bush with great company

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The cliffs we had scaled and the slot we had descended

Group size: 8 all experienced

Time: 5hr 45min car to car which is only 40min shorter than when we had the big group and did the climbing route which just goes to show large groups can be  quick and efficient….. and, Kent is the consummate  ring leader

Don’t be another flower. Picked for your beauty and left to die. Be wild, difficult to find, and impossible to forget: Erin Van Vuren

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The Gang ©Autal

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I have a bit of video but I haven’t looked at it yet. I have some prusiking to practice

 

Butterbox

AKA, Mt Hay canyon, AKA Rocky Points Ravine

14-04-2018

Dick Madie and me

So it looked like we’d get another warm Autumn Saturday before the cold change was due to roll in so a good oportunity for another wet canyon. A few ideas were floated before Butterbox was settled on, as Julie hadn’t done it for ages and was super keen for a revisit.

Unfortunately She had to pull out last minute and so it was me Dick and Madie who set off from the car park amongst laughs and giggles. We spoke to another group in the car park who were leaving just behind us and a tour group was some where ahead of us.

With the other two offering to carry ropes I got to enjoy a relatively light pack. Winning!

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Dick on the first down climb
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Dick on the first Abseil

Madie was keen to show us some alternate ways down various obsticals. Like, instead of down climbing in the creek or abseiling from the side why not slide down this log

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It works.

Butterbox is an interesting creek with a very short canyon section. It’s normally the rock formations, greenery and play of light in the constriction that draws me to a canyon but the sheer amount of adventurous fun that Butterbox offers makes it a trip worthy of repeat visits

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Mind you, while short the main constriction is spectacular.

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We catch up to the group from Eagle Rock Adventures at the top of the main constriction.

2 tricky abseils with very little stance between them mean we are going to have a bit of a wait here.

Let’s do the Slide! Madie busies herself trying to wet down the sloping rock by using her helmet as a bail.

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The water isn’t normally that deep here and it looks lower than normal. A few of the clients in the tour group are not quiet sure what to make of it all and I’m sure the guides were wondering what the hell was going on.
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It’s really fun

Me and Dick have a couple of goes to amuse ourselves while waiting, it’s bit of an effort to climb back up. Madie must have doen it a dozen times.

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Did I mention the main constriction is spectacular?

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We emerge back into the sunlight with a jump into this stunning pool

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And that’s it for the short constriction. A bit of fun getting too it. Very stunning when you get there and the adventure isn’t over yet as the climb out, usually the most hated part of any canyon trip, holds a bit of adventure to it and is another highlight.

We follow the cliff line up hill and down dale, up and down and up again. But mostly up.

Until we find ourselfves on the halfway ledge. The halfway ledge is a feature found through out the Blue Mountains. A fault where different sandstone layers of the Narrabeen group such as the Banks Wall formation and the Burra Moko formation are separated by a thiner claystone layer, often resulting in a traversable ledge.

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Don’t fall right

Sometimes the ledge disappears, sometimes the claystone erodes in under the top layer of sandstone making for some interesting scrambling.

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Views like these don’t come cheap

Through the cave and then the ledge ends. Above us the sandstone cliff still towers.

A short rock climb is required to get us to the next ledge up.

photos thanks to Madie, click to enbiggen

and then it’s up a snotty little gully to the ridge line

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it was a tad windy but the views!
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Looking back down into the canyon
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The up hills not finished yet but ther are still smiling

A quick side trip to the top of Butterbox point for even more views and then an easy walk back to the cars.

Another great day in the great outdoors.

Party size 3. All experienced

Time: 6hrs car to car with about 30min mucking around on the slide waiting for the tour group to clear the chock stone abseil, a relaxed lunch, a bit of stuffing around on the climb and a bit of time at the lookouts.

You should be silly and do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.

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Lower Bell Creek Canyon

07/04/2018

Madie, Autal, Marchelle, Craig, Ev and me.

Madie told me she had trouble finding the entrance to the lower section of Bells creek on a solo mission. So we threw a few dates around. Nothing worked for us both

Poo i have to go to Zanzibar. Says she. I guess April wil be too late.

Na Aprils good. And shit Zanzibar!

Great Now I have a Hoodoo Guru song stuck in my head. And it’s not even one of my favourate Hoodoo Gurus songs

Anyhoo.

Man I’m back, keen for bells creek???

Apparently Madie’s back. We lock in a date. Others were invited. The weekend came and it was a warm one for this time of year. Perfect for Bells

I breifly considered a car shuffle from the Bells line of road out along the ridges but group size would make that awkward so I opted for the standard slog down to Du Faurs creek and over the ridge. A couple of people dropped out but any way it not a bad walk

I pull into the carpark next to the Mt Wilson fire shed. Marchelle, Ev and Craig are waiting. I look around sure Madie would have camped. Oh that looks like Autal down there.

Autal wanders up. Madie’s there. She is making coffee.

Yep she has a full on camp kitchen going on with a frying pan full of water on the boil. Anyone want coffee. I need coffee.

Sometime later we are all ready to go and set off along the fire trail.

It’s easy walking and with some friendly banter distracting us it seems like no time and we are making our way down the rope into Du Faurs creek

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Marchelle on the hand over hand

We reach the standard start point for Clatterteeth canyon but head straight across and make our way up through a series of little cliff lines on the oposite side

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Some interesting traverses are required

There is a slight track leading up to the ridge top but then we are on our own. The scrub has grown back since the last lot of fires but nowhere near the horror stories of yore.

I take a compass bearing and we make our way along the ridge and drop off the other side. I considered trying to drop into Little Bell but opted for the easy gully where a track comes and goes at random and soon we reach the start of Belfry Canyon.

It’s taken us just under 2hrs. Which is fairly good going.

For a trip that has a relative beginner rating of 2 in the guide book there are some tricky bits. The navigatioin being one and some interesting down climbs being another.

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In any other canyon this would be an abseil for most people.

No one wants to carry in abseiling gear if they don’thave too, despite the unnecessary ring bolt above a realy nice natural anchor….. It looks worse than it is. It’s a pretty simple down climb and a deep pool below, if you land in the right spot…

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After a warm/humid walk in this looks that inviting it’s not funny
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the Temptation is too much for some

Bellfry is such a pretty canyon in it’s own right and the early Autum sun light gave us some rays in the narrow bit

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The yellows and oranges of the sandstone som give way to lush greens

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sun beams starting to show through
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a lot of photos were snapped by the group in this section
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There are usually some very dark sections on this trip
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Last time this was pitch black. Such a nice light in here today thou

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We emerge from the dark swim and fnd ourselves at the junction with Bell Creek

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From here there is a bit of creek walking interspaced with some bounder scrambling and a couple of down climbs that have you scrtching your head at the beginner rating

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Again, I’ve seen abseils set up on easier down climbs. Autal and Craig giving Marchelle some tips while Ev takes photos and watchs with some apprehension

And then we descend into lower Bell Creek Canyon.

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The constrictions in Bell Creek are really top notch. It’s a high quality canyon for a long way

Hulks hand? The Angry green man seems to like canyons.

The canyon closes in.

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There are some big log jams that are tricky to negotiate. Testament to the raging power of this place in flood

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This time I decide not to make the same mistake as last time and suggest we blow the lilos up.

Oh, we didn’t bring any.

So me and Madie blow our lilos up and the others will be swimming

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You can see by the moss that the water level is down a bit 

Again there is so much more light in this section than on my previous visit.

longish lilo/swim sections are broken by some wading, down climbing and boulder hoping

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And then we get to the long dark tunnel like swim.

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some soft sun rays in the usually dark section

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Who needs a lilo? Not Autal, turning floating on his pack into an art

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and just when you think it’s opening out it goes from a narrow dark canyon to a deep grand gorge

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Madie and Craig adding some perspective to the scale

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Madie waiting on Autal, Marchelle and Ev. It’s well past lunch time. I think she is getting hungry.

What time’s lunch? I’m hangry

How about we get to the junction with Du Faurs, there might be more sun.

How far it that?

Just around the conrer…

It was a bit further. but we continue

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We eventually stop on a sandy beach and replenish energy supplies.

Then make our way up into the lower section of Du Faurs creek

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Traffic jam with another group coming down Du Faurs. AKA Clatterteeth Canyon
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There are so many cool rock formations in this trip. Every time you look up you see something cool
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Lots of options in Du Faurs to climb up the walls and jump back in

And then we exit up Joes canyon.

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From there it’s a quick walk around to meet the usual Wollangambe entrance track at the big Pagoda and a final slog up to the car park.

Another enjoyable day with a great bunch of people.

Party Size: 6 all experienced

Timing: A tad under 8hrs car to car

Include some foolishness to you serious plans. It’s wonderful to be silly at the right moment.

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Grand Canyon at Night

25-01-2018

Ethan and me

*Slight detour* in March I am again taking part in the West Cycles Classic to raise money for the Westpac rescue helicopter service. Whether preforming bush rescue, emergency patient transfers, and all the rest no one has ever had to pay to use the helicopter due to public donations. If, like me, you believe this is an invaluable service or if you just enjoy reading my blog think about pitching in with a donation. Large or small every bit counts. follow this link for details 2018 West Cycles

Anyhoo

I mentioned to the gang I wanted to do Grand at night this year. At some stage me and Ed discussed doing it the Australia day weekend but as he is a new dad I doubted he’d get the leave pass and so I promptly forgot about it.

Then I get a text, Are you doing the Grand Canyon trip tomorrow night? Ethan is keen

I had completely blanked it from my mind. Had no intention of doing it. I thought Ed must have known someone else doing it….

Now I’m keen thou.

A quick text to Mandy and Tal. Tal was a nope. Mandy was keen with a slightly earlier start. We’re in. Then Mandy had to pull out last minute.

Me and Ethan it is.

With dry lightning strikes causing havoc and starting bushfires in a lot of the canyoning belt I was keeping a close eye on both the weather and the Rural Fire Service updates, as well as NP closures but unlike the rest of the canyoning areas Blackheath got a bit of rain out of Thursday’s storm (10mm) and so it was damp and misty in the valley.

 

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The soft afteroon/post-storm light was awesome

We dropped into the canyon around 6:30pm. Thinking by the time we phaff about with photos things would get dark about halfway through

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The light was eerie and atmoshperic and awesome

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Normally when I try this sort of canyon shot the sky and center is a blaze of washed out over exposure. The light today was something special, very little post editing done here
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The wider bits were still fairly light

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The small cascade near the start

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Ethan negotiating one of the log jams

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Ethan making his way down and the light continues to drop
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It really is a stunning slot
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Again this shot on a point and click camera would be horibly contrasty in normal light conditions. I could have lightened up the sides a bit but thought why bother, that’s how it looks when you are in there

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Ethan contemplating stuff like if snake don’t have eyelids how do they sleep….

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In this light it was hard to see with the lights off but even harder with them on as the mist got reflected back in your eyes like driving in fog with high beams

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and the moody atmosphere kept getting better. I mean sun beams ar great and all but moonbeams are so chill

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Giving the Gand Canyon a Claustral like feel

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Um, we are at the last swim…. Depsite the photo phaffing we seem to have come through super quick. We breifly contemplated following the track back to the start and doing it all again but chose the better idea staying in the canyon, reversing it back to the start and coming down again in darkness. Excellent idea Smithers

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Side creek near the end
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back up we go

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Darker it gets

 

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It’s like 3 different canyons in the different light traveling different directions
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The glowworms came out to play. they are hard to photo well but the little TG4 does OK
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A selfie with some glowworms
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Looking up through a gap in the canyon walls. What are stars and what are glowworms?

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Serveral times we just turned every thing off and sat in silence under the glowworms. It’s a special experience
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Leaf tailed gecko spoted by another group who were heading in as we headed out

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao Tzu

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