Xmas in July canyoning challenge

20/07/2019

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.

Ed as Scary Santa
A splash of colour in the Aussie bush
Me and Jen. And yes they are my own boobs. Legs together because the at the first down climb I took a big step and tore the crutch out of the candy cane stockings. Um I’ll be going first on the way down. MmmmKay..

After a round of photos it was into our first canyon, Zorro

How cool does the red look against the Aussie Bush in Winter
Jen belaying the guys
Zorro is an amazing little canyon with entrance and exit chambers that are consistently narrow and straight
It has some little challenges along the way too. Most groups abseil this drop which is a worry because when Chewy tested the anchor the sling fell out in his hand…. The sling was basically around a bit of mudstone that was more mud than stone
Ed embracing a game of the water is lava. With a bit of encouragement everyone managed to keep their feet dry
The Z chamber, which separates the entrance and exit chamber with a grand, perpendicular hallway
Joel and Diana heading towards the exit
Jodie, Jen, Chewy and Russ bridging their way down the exit
Jen, Diana and Meeeee. With the gang in the back ground ©Joel
Jen and her magical polar bear slippers on the final abseil

And then it was back up to the tops for a lovely Xmas lunch over looking the One and Only Emerites Wolgan resort

As John Lennon sang, The sun is out, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are….. Um the gang?
All the cool Blue Mts Canyoners where besta…. I mean polar bear ugg boots? While they lost an ear Jen managed to keep them crispy white.

Then it’s back to the cars for a short drive around to our next destination. Not so much a canyon as a crack.

Of Dooooom.

Those following along back home may remember me not finding it, not fitting through it and opting to go around it. Well 10kg down and this time through I went

looking back up as Jodie enters the Crack of Doom
Russ at the point the crack turns from Narrow to Squeezey
Jodie getting her squeeze on
Ed almost to the bit where it allows you to breathe again
Looking back at the impressive crack that descends the cliff line

And then it was around to have a look at a bigger crack/micro canyon. Catherdral Canyon. AKA The diamond cavern

All up it’s only about 50m long but it’s kinda nice

From there we make our way back to our exit slot, The Crack of Doom 2.

A slightly more sensible width it’s still narrow and parallels the cliff with just a slight bend as it ramps it’s way up
It ends in an easy 3m chimney climb out.
Me giving Jen a little hand. Now my climbing style has never been described as graceful and Jen’s legs might be a little shorter than mine but humping the rock was never in my bag of tricks. You learn something new each day or sumfink… ©Ed

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

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Starlight canyon and a quick look at Devils Pinch exit chamber

20/10/2018

Gaz, Jodie, Mckenzie and meeee

The forecast was for rain, lots of it topped by severe storms…

Gaz had been keen to do Starlight canyon and I suggested the MTB/canyon combo rather than the full loop. If the tunnel was dry we’d get all the way up to the waterfall. And if it was not abseiling in from the top is not the best idea anyway.

Anyhoo. Dawn came sunny and warm and we crossed the Wolgan and pedalled our way down the management trail.

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Even with a detour through the ruins the bikes turned an hour long walk into a 20min ride.

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There always seems to be a handy tree to help crossing the Wolgan

Almost immediately we ran into this little beauty

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She was a bit of a poser and almost seemed disappointed when we took the cameras away

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Entering the Amazing Wallaby Tunnel

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The light was pretty special today

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There was a big colony of bats above us, as evident by the poo floating on the water

This use to be our go to winter trip before realising the impact to the Bats. The tunnel is an important hibernation cave for bent wing bats so the canyon is now officially off limits over the winter months.

I’ve done this one quite a few times and while I’ve heard tales of people be caught out by high water levels  personally I’ve never had water over ankle deep before

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The layer of batshit wasn’t the most pleasant part of the trip

Just before the little climb up/down in the tunnel the water became too deep/cold for us to continue today so we turned back early

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Sitting on the halfway ledge enjoying the sun and a bite to eat when around that corner deep down the valley came a plane flying right at us…

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Banking hard left to make the turn up the valley.

These guys did a few laps, some of the were so low it seemed we we looking down on them.

And then as it was only early and the predicted storm was still a few hours away we followed the cliff line around for a look up Devils Pinch

 

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The better way to do this combo would be to abseil down Devils Pinch and then reverse up Starlight.

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You can only get a few hundred meters up the bottom before you a blocked by a waterfall but it is a spectacular section.

Once again more water in here than usual and after a coupe of cold wades and tight canyon sections we were startled by a gawdaweful rachet and something dashing past us into the next pool.

A young lyrebird… Not sure if it fell in or was nested here and got trapped by the rising waters after a wet couple of weeks but it was was panicked and trying to swim and not doing very well.

Producing a small hand towel Mckenzie and Jodie caught it as genitally as they could and carried it back out past the deeper pools to release it at the lower end of the canyon.

For a bird renown for mimicking the best sounds they sure produce horrible pitches when they are scared.

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Party size: 4 (3 experienced I beginner)

Time: 6.5hrs relaxed pace bit of photophaffing

“There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

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Zorro

28-09-2017

Garry, Jodie, James and me

As David Bowie once sang, the only thing I ever got from you was Zorro… or something like that, I was never a fan so could be wrong….

 

Anyhoo it was back up to the plateau for more canyonng fun. Shoes and harness was still damp from yesterday and a bit of drizzle had set in but that wasn’t going to curb my enthusiasm.

This time we took a left and headed out along the Sunnyside ridge trail looking for a couple of short but spectacular canyons.

Our first goal was Zorro and we had no dramas on the way in.

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The entrance was lined with wild flowers

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the canyon gets narrow and deep very quickly.

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Gaz squeezing pass this tenatious tree

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Gaz dropping into the depths

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Jodie in the amazingly straight and narrow canyon

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Jodie watching James and Garry descend the canyon

There follows a tight shimmy down to a cold pool. There is an anchor above so I guess people rope up for it but it looks like tha would be awkward. It is a fairly straight forward down climb.

I have no idea how deep the water is but there are narrow ledges just below the water level so only you feet get wet.

James tries to bridge above the water but is unable to. Wanting to keep his shoes dry he wedges himself above the water level slips off a shoe and hurles it over the rock he thinks marks the end of the water. It makes a big splash in the small pool just beyond the rock…. No dry feet for you.

 

Then the canyon suddenly opens out in to the gorgeous Z chamber which links the parallel fault lines the entrance and exit passages follow

Then it’s more bridging over what is usually a long pool but in this dry spell it’s starting to dry up

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Then all that is left is a final abseil to exit, but before we do Gaz shimmies around the ledge to check out the views

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A quick scramble around the base of the cliff brings us to the exit slot, which is a nice, short canyon in it own right looking like something out of Jarassic park

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Once ontop we slip out the ridge inbetween the two slots with the idea of having lunch in the sun with a view

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Wind and drizzle interupt our plans and we abandond that idea and head back to the car

It’s not even noon so we do a quick car shuffle and go head in to check out some other features near by.

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James heads into the Crack of Doom!!!

 

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The Crack of Doom!!! with appropriate skull shaddow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaz in Crack Of Doom!!! 2

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Jodie in Crack of Doom!!!2 with gaz on rope above

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Gaz in Crack of Doom!!!2

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Cathedral Canyon

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Cathedral canyon

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James taking in the grandour of Cathedral canyon

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Gaz and Jodie soaking in the ambience

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The Cathedral

Then it was back up the Crack of Doom!!! 2 for an easy exit

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This poor goanna never made it out

And back tot he car for a much earned beerio.

Party size:4 all experienced

Time: about 5 hours total for both canyons

 

 

 

 

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…
― John Muir

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