Mandy Tal and I
Those following along at home may recall my recent misadventures, firstly not finding the Cracks of Doom and then not fitting through the Cracks of Doom well after a ” it should only take 1 hour” rail trail meeting went all morning we thought we’d at least get out for an afternoon walk and head back for another folly.
This time we took the abseiling gear and the plan was for a quick look at the Crack of Doom 1 then traverse the cliffline and abseil into the exit crack, Crack of Doom 2.
Plowing straight across the scrub was much better then traversing though it and we found the first crack no dramas.
Have a look down Tal, says I. You might fit. I use to…
Are you sure you that goes? Calls Tal from the depths where the slot becomes nothing but a crack. Um, yep use to.
These types of crack are fairly common in this area, forming along fault lines (for want of better, more correcter terminology) known as joints. These tend to run parallel and perpendicular to each other.
The way they were explained to me, and this may well be completely wrong, was they were formed as the landscape pushed up and the former sea bed raised up to create the Blue Mt range. As it did so the bulge basically caused the sandstone to fracture in the parallel lines which can be seen clearly in aerial photos and satellite imaging, google earth etc..
Anyhoo we make out way back up and follow the cliffline around, making our way a little bit back up hill away from the edge. Ignoring the more obvious start to Cathedral canyon for now we head to Crack of Doom 2. This was our exit slot all those years ago and coming up the end needed a tricky bit of climbing to get up over an over hanging chockstone. Thus the ropes and harnesses for a descent this time around.
We rap in and leave the rope in place as an aid to get out later. I comment to Mandy that the rocks looks like they have seen a bit of traffic. I’m no tracker but it tends to be obvious when others have passed this way. A bit of rock with the moss worn off at on obvious foot hold, that sort of thing.
This crack has a bit more width about it, a tad wider than shoulder width for most of it’s length, and it descends steadily down through the cliff line in a nice ramp. The bottom exit is well hidden, the crack basically runs parallel with the main cliff line and looking up the little alcove it starts in you would not see it if you didn’t know where to look.
The original plan was traverse back along the bottom of the cliff line for a look up the bottom of Crack of Doom 1 but not far around the scrub encroaches right up to the cliff edge. With limited time we opted to forego bashing through this and instead head the other way to the base of Cathedral canyon.
I was surprised to see a number of foot prints in the fine sand along the base of the cliffs. Others must have visited here fairly recently, I’m thinking yesterday as they were quite clear and the fine powdery sand wouldn’t hold a print that clear for too long.
Anyhoo Cathedral canyon is as awesome as I remember. The Bush Explorers refer to it as the Diamond Cavern and describe it with much reverence in their Gardens of Stone books and I can see why but back in the day my guide introduced me to it as Cathedral canyon and that’s the name I prefer as it does have a Cathedral feel to it.
The micro canyon is very short and gets thinner as it climbs up through the cliff line before your passage is blocked by a small overhang chock stone 2 or 3 meters up in the narrow walls. Belatedly I figure it would probably be a much easier climb out here. Alas I’d left my pack at the bottom of the abseil.
Anyhoo we have a bit of a look around before head back the way we came.
Party size: 3. All experienced
Time: I really didn’t take much notice but it wouldn’t have been much more than a couple of hours car to car with a few snack breaks and a lot of phaffing about with photos
And of course I went back, stopped sooking and squeezed through