Kylie, Kristo, Hywaida, Jason, Jen, Ethan and Meeeee
When Gadget asked me if I had any plans for the 17th I was like you know I don’t plan that far ahead.
Well would you be interested in doing the Kanangra Main trip that we changed plans for earlier? Says she
Does the Pope shit in the woods? Wait, that’s not the saying. Does a bear poop catholics? Still not it….
Anyhoo, I rocked out to Kanangra Boyd on the Friday night to met up with Kylie and we set up camp in the fading light.
We were soon joined by Jen for diner and banter around the camp fire
Jason rocked in a little later and as the temperature dropped we retired for the night with nervous excitement for what the next day would bring.
The day brought an early start.
A quick breaky around the camp fire and then off to meet Ethan, Hywaida and Kris at the carpark.
Are we doing the wall or the slot?
The Slot. Let’s plan on that and we can reassess if we have to once we see the water levels
Getting to the start of the slot involves traversing across a loose narrow ledge. Jason was leading the way.
hey, did you see that? Calls I
Of course now the rest of us need to get past. I’m pretty comfortable around snakes and I’m hoping no one else freaks out. I point out the unexpected hazard and step over.
Kylie steps up but the rock she steps on moves. The tail quickly disappears.
OK be careful and don’t step on those 2 rocks….
To my relief everyone comes across without hesitation and snakey stays safe in his hole.
The slot has a bit of a reputation for projectiles. The top of P1 and the stance in between P1 and P2 are littered with loose rocks, anything from pebble size to large slabs. If you are heading in you need to make sure your group is extremely careful. It’s Kylies trip and I didn’t want to take over but I did stress no one was to move above P2 while people were on rope and we didn’t have an issue.
And then we are back onto the Main route
The rest of the photos are in no particular order as there are so many waterfalls and I enjoy the experience so much that looking back I struggle to remember what order they came in.
Photo credits to the various people mentioned above
It’s getting late by the time we reach our exit. When doing awesome stuff with awesome people time has no meaning for me and for various reasons the descent had taken longer than expected.
With the days getting shorter it was going to be touch and go for us to get up the scrambles before dark.
I’ve done the exit up the ridge several times now but each time I seem to go a slightly different way and experience a different number of scrambles with varying degrees of dodginess.
There’s a bit of a track starting to form now but that’s not to say it takes the best path and a coupe of branches definitely takes you on more difficult routes. This time up we miss all the trickiest scrambles except 1. It was shitscary but we all got up it with just a little swearing and encouragement and we reach the tourist track just as the light is fading.
All in all another excellent day out with truly amazing people
After being devastated by fires, ravaged by flood and generally off limits with COVID restriction Russ and Libby looked like they were finally going to get hitched… Wait, that’s a different story, I mean the Kanangra-Boyd NP was quietly re-openned to remote activities on Christmas eve 2020. That meant access to the Kanangra canyons was back on. Woot Woot!
‘Cept the weather was miserable and water levels kept most sensible parties away.
But water levels began to recede and reports started coming in that well equipt groups with white water experience and skill had successfully begun negotiating a couple of the more popular ones or, at least, parts there of.
We needed to get the gang back together for sumfink big before Russ had to take a break to keep himself pretty for the nuptials or sumfink and photos from Kanangra Main to the emergency exit below pitch 3 looked ace. So plans started to be planned in our very unplanned, half planned, let’s solidify the plan as we go kinda planning routine.
The Kanangra area tends to hold it’s water levels longer than the typical Blue Mountain canyons but a week of sunny weather had things easing off a bit and a bunch of different options were optioned up before we finally opted a full run of K-Main via the Slot option.
Last time I attempted a trip through the Slot things did not quiet go to plan and eerily as we traversed across the top of the usual entry there was another group were setting off down the main wall again.
We slip past the main entrance and gear up above the slot. There is a buzz of excitement as I set the rope and one by one the others make their way down
Myself and Sterlo were the last to arrive at the start of pitch 2 and relieve Leo off anchor duties so that he can head down to lead the money pitch
The roar of the falls and the spray at the start of pitch 3 was intense.
Leo heads off grinning as I reach the anchor.
Flynn, You’re up next. Says Madie
Who made her the boss?
Tingles. Nervous excitement. Stoopid grin. I rope up and head on down.
But not what I was expecting. P3 crosses through the falls but as it has tumbled down the 100m above the water has bounced of the walls and spread out, dissipating the full force into a wide mist. And lots of wind.
Hitting the pool below I was surprised it wasn’t a torrent of flow. I make my way through the mist to once again relieve Leo at the anchor. He continues down the next drop where the other group are just setting their next anchor
I man the anchor and enjoy the spray and wind as the others make their way first to me and on to Leo
From here down we are on the standard route though the extra water makes it seem anything but standard
We soon leap frog the other group and continue our way down
So the usual exit is to continue down 45mon or so to the Kalang (Kanangra Creek and Kanangra brook) junction and then up murdering gully or manslaughter ridge. We thought we might try another option
We make good time and eat the elevation but are nervous we will get cliffed out. The map wasn’t exactly inspiring. About half way up I spot a vegetated gully coming in to the side. I reckon that will go. Says I
We have a bit of a pow wow and Russ checks the map.
I think he could be right says, Russ. The side gully looks more promising on the contours than the main gully
Should we take Flynny’s gull or stay in the main one.
Whoa there! If the gully goes it can be Flynny’s gully. If it doesn’t it’s Russ’s gully. Say I
We head up the side gully.
It’s steep and loose. Think manslaughter ridge but looser with no room to traverse. Crawl up 2 steps. Slide back one. Shower your mates below with pebbles, rocks and the occasional boulder. Grab a spikey shrub or cutty grass, hope for the best
Sometime later we reach the base of the top cliff and begin to traverse around hoping that it will peter out.
Peter, peter. Pumkin eater.
But soon it appears our way is going to be barred by cliff dropping back into the gully below.
The nose always goes, sometimes.
Leo finds a weakness in the nose above us and manages to get up to drop a rope back down. Gibbo heads up. Followed by Madie.
Hey there’s a gully around the corner you can walk up… Sterlo is up top. Me and Russ opt to follow him up
Flynny’s gully is renamed Craigs Crying Crack. I mean I only cried once, but whatever. It goes but it has some hair on it. it ain’t fun and we’re not sure if it saved us any time
How ’bout dem views thou
party size: 6
Time: 8hr car to car with along lunch
Remember your comfort zone is a very dangerous place to be
The Wizard, Aimee, Ed, Ethan, Gabby, Jamie, Matthew and me. Plus a bunch of unexpected but very much appreciated guests.
When the Wizard invited me out to do K-Main again I was in 2 minds. I don’t like repeating canyons too soon, I rarely do the same canyon more than once a season. Getting to know them too well takes a bit of the adventure out of it for me. But he had an awesome crew assembled, and it’s K-main and they were going in via the Slot.
I really wanted to check out the slot.
I knew Ed was super keen on it too so I OKed an invite for him and Ethan and jumped aboard the K-Main train.
With fires raging across the state it was definitely a factor we considered before heading out but with more favourable conditions predicted and with Kanangra-Boyd so far unaffected we felt comfortable with the decision to head out
We weren’t the only ones with that plan. Pulling up to the car park I passed a group of 3 heading out towards the entry track. There were also cars I recognised, I’d forgotten friends had planned a trip out here too. Later Gabby confirmed the group were doing K-main but had departed a few hours earlier.
Anyhoo, in dribs and drabs the rest of the crew arrived and after the usual meet and greet we hoisted packs and set off in good spirits.
We reached the cliff above the start of the main wall just as the party of 3 were setting up ropes and had a bit of friendly banter with them while we harnessed up before heading further around to the top of the slot.
But lets not get ahead of ourselves
We traverse around to the top of the slot. And what an awesome looking slot it was.
I help the Wizard rig up and he sends me down first
Ethan and Jamie followed
Jamie was just heading down to start setting up the next anchor when we heard one of the most horrid sounds I’ve ever heard, the unmistakable sound of a body falling onto rock. There followed silence. It probably lasted a fraction of a second but it seemed like an eternity. My heart sank as I feared the worst. We were 60m down a 150m waterfall. Then a scream and a god-awful moan.
It might sound odd but that moan was like a relief valve being set off. At least he was alive, if in all sorts of trouble.
Then the girls in his group began screaming for help. We called out desperately trying to reassure them we were coming.
Looking up I saw Jamie’s son Matt was on rope and descending. At the time I thought he was too far down to get him to stop so belayed him down.
Up top others in our crew had mobilised to see what they could do, but for now I was oblivious to that.
The calls for help seemed to becoming from below us and with Jamie being a paramedic our first thought was to get him down to the injured person ASAP. The abseil line was set up and he was getting ready to go but luckily training kicked in and we stopped to talk through the situation.
Are you sure they are below us or even if we could get across to them?
Not really. We’d be better approaching from above.
We call up that we will ascend. The others call down and agree it’s our best option and ask us to send up the spare rope in case they need to set up lines to get down to the injured party. They let us know Aimee had set off her PLB and Ed was going to where we knew there was mobile reception to phone through details as we knew them.
Again I was thinking we needed to get Jamie up so he could respond if necessary. Now I’m going to admit I was making some big assumptions at the time. For whatever reason I had assumed Jamie was a member of vertical/access squad, even when he said he hadn’t prussiked for a while I didn’t register that wasn’t the case. In hindsight I probably should have went up first and set a top haul but hindsight is as handy as a hat full of dandruff when you are neck deep in a shit sandwich.
A 55m prussik isn’t fun at the best of times so I tried to set him up with an assisted system where a little redirect meant by pulling on the rope from below in time with him stepping up I could give him a little help. Coordinating that is a bit harder than it sounds but eventually he got to the top.
It was about then the chopper arrived, I was blown away about how quick it had responded. But to be honest I have a poor concept of time anyway so I have no idea how long it had been. I’d been told about the down draft by friends in the rescue crew and got Matt and Ethan to hug the walls in case debris came tumbling in. To keep a 9t machine in the air requires 9t of air to be pushed down. It’s bloody awesome.
My turn up the rope. Ethan said he wasn’t confident in his prussik skills. Once up top I planned to set a up a haul system to bring Matt up anyway and we decided it would be best to get Ethan out the same way.
After watching Jamie I got an idea to improve my prussik technique. Is now the best time to test a new technique? Bugger it, it would be quick and simple to convert back if it wasn’t working so why not. To my relief it worked well and if I’m totally honest I very nearly enjoyed the ascent.
I’m greeted at the top by Gabby and we go about setting up a 3:1 haul system.
Now this is stuff I know and I went into autopilot as we threw ourselves into the task at hand. We had limited space so would need to reset time and time again (pretty sure we went up and down the 3m of hill 254gazillion times) but we got Matt up reasonably quick and easy.
That may have made me a little over confident and I got Ethan to bring mine and Jamie’s packs with him.
By this time my office boy hands were blistered ( Well the blisters had well and true burst by then, There was big chunks of skin missing. note to self pack gloves even if you don’t use them to abseil) and I had resorted to tying a VT prussik from my harness to the haul line and basically throwing myself down the hill as Gabby assisted. (pretty sure I did this an extra fuctillion times) but even that got a bit much and I converted the system to a 9:1.
This made hauling much easier but much slower, which gave us an extra complication. Ethan’s harness was starting to cut circulation in his legs. Hang syndrome is a very serious hazard. We got him to a ledge where he was able to stretch out his legs and get blood flowing. While he did that we hauled the bags up separately. The old hindsight chestnut again, I should have done this to start with.
By then Mark and Jamie were back and between us we got Ethan up the rest of the way, stowed our gear and made our way around to see if we could help at all. The chopper was dropping another paramedic and a doctor as we arrived. We helped cart their gear down.
Rounding the corner I see our mate Jen was one of the first responders. I would have been reassured no matter who was in the cavalierly but I was doubly put at ease to see Jen’s smiling face.
We were put to work, both us and our gear recruited to help set anchors for the haul system while waiting for more ground troupes to arrive.
TBH I was honoured they put their trust in us to do that but will say they definitely double checked all our work and changed a knot or two to comply with their standards
Once the ground crews arrived we were pretty much just spectators and moral support. and once more volunteers were confirmed to be on the way it was suggested we leave to make room. By that stage t was about 7:30pm and they had 50m of haulling to get the patient to the top. Not to mention His two friends still down on the ledge.
I wish the injured person a speedy recovery and hope his party members are not too traumatised. I know it would have shook me up something terrible.
Now I haven’t put any details of the incident into this write up. The reason for that is even though we were close by and assisting a lot of it is hearsay and some of the stuff reported on social media already isn’t right. And to be honest it’s not my story to tell.
Hopefully when the people involved recover they will be comfortable enough to share the facts as I think there are some good learnings to be had from it. For now I’m just thankful it was a rescue and not a body retrieval and I’m in total awe of the response from the rescue crews
I’ll add some thoughts on things from my perspective about how our group responded
Practising self and assisted rescue techniques is essential. Knowing how to do stuff is very different from being able to do it when the pressures on. Being well practised means that when the heat is on things become second nature. Certainly helps keep you calm
Stay calm and talk through options before committing yourselves to a course of action that might not be the best one. Your first priority is making sure you are not putting your self in danger or making things more complicated for rescuers. We very nearly committed ourselves to the next abseil. Jamie’s paramedics training and my experience as a workplace responder meant we were able to pull back to discuss our plan and make the much better choice of ascending and approaching from above.
PLBs are great but if you can get reception and make a call as well it gives the rescue teams a far better chance of mobilising exactly what they need from the start. (Consider getting a SpoteXe or Inreach between your group of friends). Both our group and the other set off PLBs, interestingly responders stated having 2 units go off at the same location gave them confirmation the situation was urgent and not just someone lost. This somewhat contradicts advice I had previously that you should only set off 1 as 2 is unnecessary and may confuse matters
Having a spare safety rope/pull cord/ fiddle stick set up. is a “very good idea”.
I’ve always tended to lead abseils on the trips I do, for what ever reason people put their trust in me going first. In the continuing debrief our group is going throu it was suggested by one member that while several of our party are just as proficient at setting anchors and abseiling when it came to rigging haul systems they all turned to me. And so perhaps it would have been better for me to be the safety guy at the top. I had full faith in the people behind me but its definitely something each group should consider. Whose skill set best suits what role in the party?
The rescue personnel are bloody awesome
Oh and a massive thanks to each and every member of our group. Your quick thinking, level headedness, team work and just the way you lot looked after each other, at the time and in the following days, is a credit to each of you.
Stay safe out there people. And dig into your pockets or consider donating your time to our awesome rescue teams, SES, VRA as well as the professional services from Police and Ambulance Rescue.
PS most of the photos above were provided by Gabby and Aimee, even thou I didn’t credit each individual one and rescue crews OKed and even encouraged the documentation.
Oh except the photos in the slot they are mine. Unfortunately for them the girls didn’t get to do the best prussik ascent ever, or sumfink
PPS There has been a bit of noise on the socials about whether the earlier group should have aborted their trip to come back to help. What a load of bollocks.
a. Their first priority is the safety of their party
b. They were 200 vertical meters , several abseils, scrambles and swims further down
c. At least 1 of their leaders ascended the pitch he had just descended but realised the incident was too far back up the canyon for them to get to
d. They heard the calls for help. They probably also heard our calls we were coming to assist
e. We were 25m away with no easy way to get across. By the time I ascended 1 55m pitch and got my party members up First responders were already onsite. By the time the other party could possibly have made it back the ground crews had arrived and things were getting crowded. We got thanked and it was politely suggested we leave. What exactly was the other party going to do other than get in the way?
f. Unless you are there with the limited the info at the time and were part of the decision making process I think it takes a fair bit of arrogance to criticise. Sure, ask the question of why they made the decision they did and decide for yourself what you would or wouldn’t do in the situation but to pay out on them when you have no idea what it’s like to be in that situation….. As some one who was there and who went through the decision making process of whether it was safer for us to continue down or ascend back up to try and assist I have full respect for them and the decision they made. Deciding to risk people on ascent is not a decision that sat lightly with me and I know it put pressure on those at the top. Ascending puts you on the rope a lot longer than descending. There is also a lot more moving around so edge protection is so much more crucial. In the end it was the right decision for us. it might not always be the best option thou.
g. Some people need to realise no matter how much they carry on like a dick online it wont make theirs any bigger
Jamie, Aimee, Mamie, Gamie and shamie…. I mean Jamie, Aimee, Matt, Mark and Meeeeee
Confession time: I’d not done Kanangra main before.
Abseiling for the sake of abseiling doesn’t really float my boat so it wasn’t a trip that ever featured high on my priority list but with anchor options that put you into more of the waterfalls rather than beside them it sounded fun and when Mark invited me on a trip I thought it high time I pop my K-Main cherry
After an early meet up we set off into the Kanangra wilds amidst banter and bravo. Before long we arrive at the start of the epicness and gear up
Epic is a word used a lot with the Kanangra wilderness and I have to admit it humbles you as you get dwarfed in the terrain.
While water levels are down after a long dry spell, and even at normal level it’s not considered anywhere near hi-flow there is something about being swallowed into a waterfall halfway down a rope
Below is a typical “Ethical and safe” blue mountains anchor…. sling crumbled with 1 sharp tug
I’m glad Mark converted me to releasable systems and flaking ropes into/out of bags. Constantly coiling and uncoiling ropes on this trip would be a PITA. We got the others into it too
And then we rock hop down the the Kalang junction and begin the “gentle stroll” back up manslaughter ridge… Helps if you stop to smell the orchids every now and then
Another great day with great people
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face : Eleanor Roosevelt
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…
I’ve said before the Kanangra style canyons of abseiling beside waterfalls for the sake of abseiling beside waterfalls never had a great appeal to me, but Danae was different. It was the most slot like of the Kanangra canyons so the short answer was yes. The long answer was I wasn’t sure I was up to it at the moment.
Danae is steeped in tales of benighted groups, 16 hour slogfests and epic challenges.
I also had other commitments so originally said, No. Well not yet but lets do it later in the season
But the idea began to germinate….
Ah Fugg it! lets do it!
In the week leading up an antarctic blast gave us plummeting temps, a good dump of rain and stupidly high winds so it was with a little trepidation I drove out to to the Boyd river camp late Friday afternoon. The rain had cleared but wind gusts up to 90kph ripped through the tree tops.
We’d be joined for the trip by Madies friend Jeremy, who it turns out I knew from my bike shop days. Also joining us for the night was Matt and Madie’s Dad and step mum.
After much banter and a feast of butter-chicken we seek the warmth of our beds. The plan was to break camp at 5am and be on our way soon after.
Morning came and the wind had calmed considerably but the temperature was still winterish. We sorted packs and ropes and by the time we dropped a car at the pick up point 3 of us set out on the Thurat fire trail just after 6am.
Track notes are deliberately vague but sometime later we veer off into the scrub, cross a couple of minor gullies and then drop down into a tributary to avoid the horrendous scrub on the ridge top. We reach the first abseil point at 7.30.
From there it’s into the stunning slot and abseil after abseil after abseil.
And then comes the boulder field. A steep chute littered with house sized boulders. A massive 3D puzzle that takes about an 1hr to negotiate.
And a final abseil or two then the creek levels out and it’s another 1.5hrs of smaller boulder hoping down to the Junction with Kanangra creek.
From the Junction the haul up to the Kilpatrick causeway is like climbing a ladder for 1.5hrs, only the rungs are uneven, at odd angles, made out of loose dirt and covered in pickle bush, stinging trees and biting ants…
A final scramble up a small cliffline and we top out to amazing views south towards Mittagong and east to the Blue Mts where the classic shape and colour of the Hydro Majestic can clearly be seen nestled on the cliff tops.
What an Awesomely epic day with awesomely epic people.
Group size: 3 all experienced
Timing: 10.5 car to car.
Note this is reasonably quick, especially as none of us had done it before. We were expecting 13hrs.
To do it we had to be efficient on the abseils so we had 3 ropes. A 30m, which was kept with the last person on the bigger drops as the emergency back up, and 2x 60m. The first 60 would be set and as soon as the second person reached the bottom of the abseil the second 60 would be set for the next one. As soon as the last person was down the first would go again.
Rope management was also key with efficient coiling and uncoiling needed, though I confess to ending up with a tangled mess at least once as fatigue began to kick in.
GPS tells me we covered 19km with a bit over 1300m elevation gain.
Remember your comfort zone is the most dangerous place to be. In it your senses get dulled, your muscles lax, and your brain turned to mush. Flynny
Madies Time log:
7.45 first abseil
7.55 2nd abseil off 2 trees difficult start
8.26 4th abseil off boulder
8.36 5th abseil 10 m off boulder swing under
8.40 6th abseil down waterfall lots of water
8.52, 7th abseil through hole dark slot under boulder
9.03 8th abseil w traverse line
9.30 9th abseil 5m onto log
A few scrambles
9.40 10th abseil 5m off shitty sling without malion on rhs
9.50 11th abseil 7 ml in sun off rope on rhs
10.03 down sketch 5 m climb and 12th abseil start off 2 bolts and wires on lhs
10.30 scramble over centre of null
10.40 13th abseil off tree onto boulder field
11.34 14th 15m abseil in to pool awkward
11.45 15th abseil 10 m into pool of pitons on rhs
11.55 lunch rock after abseils
12.20 lunch over
1.22 Kanangra Creek junction
1.40 leaving change spot
3.15 track -killpatrick
4.20 murdering gully
4.27 main lookout track
I’ve said before that for me the abseils are just a means to get to the next bit of canyon.
I’m far more excited by exploring the dark confines of a slot canyon. I’m captivated by the play of light as the sun arcs over head. I get fascinated by the way water and time have sculptured the rock, and I’m dazzled by the ferntacious greenery…
Ayhoo with that in mind the Kanangra canyons have never held a massive appeal to me but when Tim invited me on a trip down Kalang Falls I thought I may as well check it out to see what the fuss is all about.
After a week of drizzle mixed with rain we’d check the water levels and if it was too high we’d abort and do Dione Dell instead.
As it was it was pretty much prefect
And so our group of merry adventurers set off from the car park with a buzz of excitement and a swagger in our steps.
Despite a few of the others having done the trip before myself and Al got nominated leaders so the real leader, Tim could follow along at the back of the group as safety man with the spare rope. So we set off to rig the first drop.
There is a bit of scrambling to get down to the first anchor and Tom’s notes warned the final drop before the anchor could be dangerous so in the wet slippery conditions we rigged the abseil from above it.
As with all of Tim’s trips we had multiple ropes and walkie-talkie communi-doonies so the group could spread out. Me and Al would set rope, the next person would arrive, we’d take their rope and descend to the next one. And so on and so forth etc etc etc. So even with a largish group taking their time on slick rock we made good time down the ravine.
Rope management was the theme of the day. Lots of vegetation and ledges for ropes to get tangled on. I can see where flaking it out of a rope bag would be handy on a trip like this.
I found the scrambles between the falls took a lot of concentration. The quartzite is a lot slipperier than the standard Bluies sandstone and also tends to have a lot more loose rocks ready to roll your ankle.
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Probably really common, but can anyone tell me the species?
How did I find it? Well the waterfalls were stunning, the company was awesome, the abseils were abseils and the walk out wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.
Another great day in the bush with great people.
The mind is like water: capable of going anywhere but once hemmed in by walls of it’s own making it takes a powerfull flood to burst it’s banks and change its course: me
Group size: 8 all experienced
Time: 9hr 20min car to car, not rushing in the slippery conditions and taking it easy up the exit ridge.
Dione Dell is a good introduction to the Kanangra-Boyd style canyons. Unlike the dark, sandstone constrictions of Blue Mt canyons the ones out this way are more steep ravines that drop through a series of water falls as the streams cut down through the quartzite landscape.
Now at first glance quartzite looks a bit like sandstone, and once upon a time it was just that but then it got subjected to heat and pressure which melts down the granny structure and metamorphises it into and different beast.
Gone is the grittiness that offers some semblance of grip, and it’s harder too so tends to break off in lots of block sized chunks. Loose and slippery. It can make for hard going as you try to traverse it.
Anyhoo it had been ages since I’d been down Dione Dell (Almost 18 years) and I was keen to take Tal, he and his mates had other ideas and went camping instead but I was still excited to show the others through it.
As I said earlier, it’s a good intro into Kanangra Walls canyons. One of the smaller trips out this way it consists of 4 major waterfalls, which are, for the most part, descended in single pitches, and a relatively easy walk out.
All that said it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The quartzite is slippy and loose and some of the abseils have quiet a bit of vegetation and in high water it would be a bit of a challenge.
In summer it is possible to take the direct route down through the falls. Today we opted to stay mostly dry (‘Cept for me who fell in. Pay back for the time I took Della down in the snow and he fell in multiple times)
But enough of my blabbering. here are some photos to wet your appetite.
Party Size: 4 (3 experienced I beginner)
Time: About5 hr car to car with some photo phaffing