Waterfall Weirdos

08/08/2020

Kylie, Aimee, Mattie, Muzzie, Monie, Hywie, Kristoie, Kennie, Jasie, Russie, Libbie, Maddie, Leoie, Gibbie and meeeeeeeie.

NB: Uncharacteristically I didn’t take a single photo all day so full credit for all the photos herein goes to the awesome bunch of folks above.

The forecast was for torrential rain, slushy snow and freezing conditions so when Kylio put out an invite to do a wet canyon followed by a wet abseil trip of course we all said a great big enthusiastic yes.

The day before I’d swung by Adventurebase to catch up with Leo and pick up a bit of gear. It was a miserable day but the torrential rain was more an annoying drizzle and I duck out to check the track out of our second option, as it had been closed for a while last year, but I was happy to see it open.

Anyhoo, Saturday dawned awash with sunshine. Unfortunately we didn’t get as much rain as predicted but Empress was running a bit better than usual and we were keen to hit it.

I don’t think anyone was expecting every one to turn up so we’d need to split into smaller groups to abide the group size limit but also to keep things moving, we were expecting it to be coolish in the canyon, waiting in line for an abseil wouldn’t be ideal.

Jumping into the first pool was a bit of a rush and instant icecream headache. But by keeping a relatively quick pace I never really felt cold, even while manning the abseil line at the end.

We’re not cold, noooo-sireee.
Sunshine and Bubbles
Monas
Yours truly in the flow
Someone in the pump
Krysto photo bombing
Photos upon photos
Me and Russ pulling the rope and enjoying the swim

We all regroup at the base of the falls. Some of us jump in a few times just for the hell of it then we shake ourselves off and head back up to the cars.

Here we say good by to half the group and the rest of us stay suited up and head off for our next adventure

This is one I’ve thought about doing for a while, but in summertime the waterhole at the bottom tends to be busy with all sorts of people from families trying to relax to thrill seekers and instagrammers so I never through it appropriate to toss ropes. Therefore when Kylie suggested it doing it in winter I was in like uncle Errol.

Glad I did, it might just be my new favourite abseil in the blue Mountains

The rocky bottom creek was a bit slippery in places but we all stayed up right, mostly, and soon we came to the main event

Ken rigged it up with a temporary redirect to get us in the centre of the flow, and Kylie took control of the anchor duties

An over hanging start drops us straight into the flow but a short way down was a ledge that ended in a v slot which funnelled the full pump directly intp your face as you dropped into a lovely 10m of free space.

With beaming smiles we make our way back up to the cars and make a bee line for warm food and cold beer.

Find your freaks and run with them

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Empress and Grand

01/02/2020

A quick run through Empress with Russ and Libby then a slow trip into the Grand at night with Russ, Mark, Ethan, Jamie, Marc and Ariadna.

I can’t believe it’s February and this is my first canyon trip for the year.

Mark invited us out on a night trip through The Grand Canyon so to make a bit of an afternoon of it Myself, Libby and Russ decided to hit the only other canyon in the Bluies that is officially open, Empress, beforehand.

It was a stinking hot day and I get a message, “Car park is full. Russ parked like a dick so we could save you a space. k.”

They straighten up and I pull in next to Russ and do the meet and greet.

Stuffing ropes into pack or odd pre canyon rituals or sumfink.

Did I say it was hot? We quickly make our way down and enter the refreshing coolness of the canyon.

It felt so good to hit the water

No surprises we weren’t the only ones to have this idea today… We’d passed a couple gearing up at the entrance and come across a group at the little jump just after the matrix jump.

Want to go through? They offer

If you don’t mind, say I. But we’re not in a hurry.

Oh come through we are just practising.

They’d set the drop up as an abseil with a very awkward start.

We jump on past

It almost felt secluded
And then we ran into the bottleneck at the end

We climb up on to the ledge to wait our turn. Only to learn later earlier in the day some dirty grub decided that was where they really needed to drop a turd. Lucky some guides saw it take place. Chastised old mate and cleaned things up

A group just in front said they waited inline for an hour…. It’s a 20min canyon…. Luckily the crowd had thinned a bit and about 20min later we set up on the left and dropped on down.

Luckily it had cooled down slightly for the walkout but we were still hot by the top. So After chatting with a few people we head to the servo for a frozen coke. Except their frozen Beverages machine wasn’t frozen…

Here we say bye to the Libster and head around to Evans Lookout to check out the views over the Grose

Tiger stripes. Foreground: “Normal” Bushfire damage, burnt understory with the random bursts of where it crowned into the canopy. Distance: The Blue Gum forest seems to have been spared the worst. Middle: Devistation where even pockets of rainforest have been reduced to ash. It will trake these areas far longer to recover

Anyhoo, We are soon met by Mark and Jamie, followed by Ethan and then Marc and Ariadna and spend some time chatting and waiting for darkness before doing a car shuffle back to the entrance track and heading on in

Once again we aren’t the only ones and there is a couple dropping in as we reach the abseil point. We Phaff about to give them time to have the canyon in peace

Marc gearing up next to glow-worms
Ethan dropping in

Once in we spend a fair bit of time just soaking in the ambience

Glow-worms and Night skies through the canyon walls

Making our way down there is a constant feeling of awe as we stop often and for long periods just to sit in the darkness and admire the glow

I fall behind a little taking photos. When I catch up they have stopped in one of the more spectacular chambers. Mark, Ethan and Jamie sit quietly talking on one side of the canyon. I set up some photos then sit talking to the Spaniards on a ledge on the other side.

I have no idea how long we stayed there, certainly longer than I normally like to sit still, but I figure its such a beautiful night and atmospheric situation that everyone is just blissing out

Some time later I hear. Do you think we should go back and look for them?

Russ turns on his light. Oh there you are. We thought you were still back there taking photos.

The two groups were about 4m apart from each other ūüôā

We though you guys we just enjoying the stillness

We have a bit of a laugh and continue on our way

Towards the end we start to come across the first evidence the fires encrouched the canyon. The smell of ash and burnt logs.
But even here the glow-worms survived

And then we continue down to do the loop out to Evans lookout. I haven’t been out this way for nearly 20years. The impacts of the fires are more noticeable beyond the canyon proper. What was more disappoint was a wall completely covered in new graffiti, If scrawling your name can be call graffiti. I don’t get it.

Anyhoo. We slog back up to the lookout and stare out into the darkness. The stars are out. An orange glow to the south east reminds us the fires have finished with us yet.

Back at the cars we say good bye to the others and wait for Libby to come back to pick up Russ. She brings beer and Cherry the dog. I like Libby.

Another two emerge from the track followed shortly thereafter by 2 more we say hi but in the darkness don’t take much notice. Towards the end of the beer Russ looks up and says, Is that Kylie?

The same friend of theirs we’d been chatting too at the end of Empress.

It had been a great evening with truly awesome people but its time to go home.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill: We are all worms, but I do believe some of us are glow-worms

Time:

Empress: A bit over 2hrs with a long wait for the abseil

Grand: About 4 hours with lots of just sitting in the dark.

When evening closes nature’s eye, the glowworm lights her little spark, to captivate her favourite fly and tempt the rover in the dark: James Mongomery

 

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The Eyrie

22-01-2020

After our (my) botched attempt prior to new years we had to go back an do it properly.

For such an easy climb it has a lot of atmosphere

Life is like a box of chocolates: It doesn’t last long if you’re fat: Joe Lycett.

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A peaceful dapple in Dalpura

05/10/2019

Aleasha, Gibbo and Macca and meeeeee or sumfink

With too many hobbies and a bunch of commitments I just wanted to get out for a pleasant, short afternoon canyon and thought to myself Dalpura is pleasant and short and a canyon and Saturday has an afternoon. A plan started to form…

I’d hadn’t caught up with this lot of awesome folk for few weeks and they were keen enough to join me. Awesome.

Dalpura starts with a nice little section
You only get wet to your waist, said I. Forgetting that takes a bit of effort and even then it was more like chest deep

Um, Russ, did you not pack your harness and stuff? said all of us as Russ rigged up a munter hitch on makeshift tape harness

I have them in my bag, says Russ. But I couldn’t be bothered getting them out. I’m a minimalist….

OK then, cool beans. Rock on,

It is still a nice spot thou
a-13.jpg

From there the canyon opens out, closes in and opens out again. There are some nice bits but nothing mind blowing

It’s odd how compelling these little challenges can be. We were already wet but we all had a crack
The I’ll have a Crack kid may or may not have made it to the end… You can do it Jez… Maybe
Never overly deep or narrow it does have pleasant bits
And crystal clear water

Hey there is a little ledge down here with stunning views…. It was fogged out

Hey from up here there awesome views toward Mt Vic and Blackheath…. FoggyMcfogfog.

Still the wild flowers were out on display

How awesome are Waratahs? The correct answer is Very.
And Spiderwebs in the rain… this one was tiny, Captured with the macro setting

Party Size: 4

Time: 2.5hrs car to car

If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be,

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Previous trips 26/03/16 / 31/03/2018

Greek Myths and pirate ships

06/07/2019

Mark, Ed, Ethan, Rob, Russ, Mick, David and meeeeeeee

I’d first visited the Minotaurs lair (AKA Bell Minor canyon) with Ed in 2016. It was a hot dry winters day and too be honest I didn’t think much off it.

But on the way out we spotted a tight slot that’s looked like it may be interesting. Being short on rope and time we didn’t descend it that day so I guess it was time to go back for another look.

Also Geoff Fox had told me about a slot up above the lair that he said was worth visiting so after a cold wet week we set off for a bit of an explore.

First up is a series of towers detached from the main cliff line by some interesting slots. I know Yuri has a name for them but I can’t remember what it is

Then we head around the corner and into the gully. We cross over and avoid the worst of the scrub by traversing the base of the cliff.

The North eastern cliffs are riddled with undercuts and sand caves. The most impressive of which is this beauty with its ribbons of colour and delicate iron stone plates. Animal tracks abound in the fine sand all along the cliff line
Into the Lair we go. Not sure how the minotaur will react to 8 burly blokes instead of 7 Athenian youths and 7 maidens fair but anyhoo we’re not scared….
Not the legendary beast but a legendary beast.
Ok so with a bit of moisture and greenery Minotaur’s lair is a nice walk through slot, not as long as I remember and the walls are quiet shallow, but nice

And then we scramble out to look for the slot Yuri ad Geoff labelled Ariadne slot. Just when we thought we’d have to be too high another set of clifflines rise above us and we follow them around.

Ariadne tended the labyrinth, She was the Daughter of Minos, King of Crete, and a bit of a spunk. Mick is hoping to find her. That may be the Minotaur in the back ground
New album, Lust for Ariadne by Mark and the Descentionists drops April 2020… or sumfink

Its a pretty slot and would make a great abseil in from the top but no Athenian princesses were found so we make our way back down to the junction with Minotaur’s lair and fight our way through tree fall up the other side.

Ed and I spotted this slot in 2016 but were short on ropes (shorter than we knew it would turn out) so we opted not to descend it at that time. Checking it out is probably the only reason I bothered to do Minotaur’s Lair again
So we probably should have stuck with the Ancient Crete theme but we’re splitters and went with Walk the Plank canyon, AKA Ed’s Plank
Russ volunteering to be first to check it out

Non remanebit ex eis ungula et circulo fundae : No sling shall be left behind. Or sumfink

It was about now we hear the dreaded whoosh, crack, kaboom.

Everyone OK.

With the exception of possibly soiled pants every one was fine. Russ had looked up in time to see a baby head size rock tumbling in slow motion down the canyon. It hit the wall then exploded on the ground where he had been standing moments before….

Russ in the short but nice middle section happy none of those rocks had hit him

More squeezey fun ensued
And then it opens out in to a pleasant exit chamber
Ed admiring the end of his plank. Or sumfink

One more little abseil and we reach the junction with the main gully

Some dense scrub

Some complex boulder hopping….Sliding

And then an easy walk down the nose to the road.

All up a good day in the bush with great people. It was a fairly long complex walk with plenty of scrub and elevation for 3 fairly short slots but I love this shit and heading out with others likewise inclined sooth the soul and clears the mind.

Party Size: 8

Time: 6hr 15min car to car with a bit of a car shuffle

The hardest thing is to find a black cat in a dark room. Especially if there is no cat:- Confucius

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Fiddle Stick in the Wilderness part 2

Continued from Part 1

Despite the complex looking multiple cliff lines we find an easy pass and up we go
Madie finds a cool little rock arch
Looking down towards the Nile in the Caperty valley through a gap in the Numeitta lines
We drop down into the top of our gully beside this grand old tree
Fiddle sticks at the ready and into the next spectacularly narrow canyon
The water is definitely lava in this one
Rus at an awkwardly flared section . And yes we stayed dry here
Ryan showing his bridging skill

Other than a dipping her boots Madie joins the boys in making it across, once again showing Pleather pants are better than a leather face. This is where my upper body strength failed and I took a plunge. The water is lava and I’m scorched to my neck or sumfink
The canyon continues it’s tremendously narrow twisting and turning, even having a nice glowworm tunnel at the bottom of one of the drops
Eventually even Stu is forced into a shallow wade

And then as the canyon opens out we explore a pass up to the side that proves to be surprisingly easy and make our way over to our next goal

Continued

Fiddle Sticking in the Wilderness

11/05/2019

Soggy Bottom, Balls Deep, All in, Just a Bobble, Dragged a Toe and Ah Stuff it I’m in, AKA meeee

It’s 9pm, it’s the middle of May and I’m following Madie down a fire trail on another wild adventure.

The snow clouds that swirled around all day had hampered the drive out with constant rain and a smattering of sleet yet as we pull into the car park to meet the others they miraculously clear and we have a crisp stary night for our walk out to where we will camp above the canyons.

We’re not the only obsessive compulsive canyoning weirdos this time around, joining us are Rus, Ryan, Stu and Phil.

Madie had been recently converted to fiddle stick ghosting/Leave-no-trace techniques and I’m keen to check it out but first we pitch tents and enjoy a night of banter around the camp fire.

We’re up before sun rise and set off at first light amid one of the most spectacular pretty dawns I have witnessed.

After a few kilometres walk further along the fire trail we spear off into the bush looking for our first canyon. There are no track notes for the canyons out this way and the un-tracked terrain makes the whole area something special.

After a bit of navigation deliberation, something that would become somewhat of a theme for this trip, we find the entry point of our first canyon and after some tips from Madie, Ryan and Stu on the finer points of fiddle sticks we drop in
A game of “The water is lava” ensued. Pleather pants for canyoning is a thing now.

Another notch for our Bow or sumfink
Fiddle sticking is all well a good but for true leave no trace techniques some of us down climbed this one, but the bottom has a bit awkward and Phil was not comfortable so Madie set a rope for him and followed him down
Tolkien use to write about places like this, we all thought it was fantasy

And then the canyon opens out and we make our way down to the main creek aiming for a pass up to our next canyon

Continued