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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Coachwood and Rocky Creek Canyons

27-09-2017

Julie, Michael, me

Last time I did Coachwood canyon was about ’97. I couldn’t remember much about the trip other than the Coachwood forest made for nice photos and  as I abseiled out the end I could hear what I first thought was airforce jets zooming over the gully. Turned out it was a wall of hail that was just about it hit. It struck with avengence just as Della and Mandy joined me at the bottom. Gathering the rope as Rocky creek began to rise we made a dash down stream to the big bend where we cimbed up to a little cave to wait out the fury. An hour or so later we climbed up a hail covered ridge. Photos below (Click to enlarge)

 

 

Anyhoo, I had a week off work and I know Julie is always looking for people to go canyoning mid week so I hit her up.

Yep I’m off Wednesday, says She. Want to do Coachwood?

Sure do, says I

I was keen to get back, it’s reasonably dry but I had no recolection of the canyon itself.

Want to reverse up Rocky creek to exit? says she.

Are you freaking kidding how freaking cold is that going to be… I think but instead my brain replies with, Yeah, sure.

Anyhoo We drive up to the Bungleboori picnic spot to meet Michael. Instead we meet Geoff, Anna, Peter, Ruth and other assorted UBMW members heading off to do a rarely visited canyon not so far from ours. Anna looks confused as she does a head count. Oh we arn’t with you guys we’re meeting someone else.

all good they pile in cars and head off. Michael arrives shortly after and we do the same. Veering on the the Galah mountain road we see Geoff and his group driving backout. That was quick.

Big tree down just up ahead, we couldn’t move it. He informs us. We’re changing plans.

Oh we might as well have a look. Yep big tree. we go bush and carefully edge around it and continue on our way.

I think I know why I couldn’t remember much of coachwood. It’s not much of a canyon. A bit of fun but nothing overly “Wow!”

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We somehow missed the top of the first absiel and walked in below the waterfall
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The Coachwood forest I remebered being so picturesque

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Julie on the first of our absiels
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Michael dropping in
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Michael on the the very nice second last abseil
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Julie on the last abseil
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Lunch in Rocky Creek
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All Rugged up ready for the swim up Rocky Creek

Now traditionally for me Rocky Creek is a NewYears day or later canyon. It’s always cold so I was a little apprehensive. But we’d layed up. I had a thermal top, 3mm steamer wetsuit with a 3mm spring suit over the top. Woolen beanie to keep the noggon warm and over it all a light spray jacket to keep the wind off.

With all that on and working our way up stream I never felt cold at all. Infact because the beanie stayed dry it got a little warm and I ended up splashing water over my face a couple of times to cool my head down.

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Rocky Creek
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Rocky Creek

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The light is so different each time you visit

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Toasty warm

And of course the early waratahs were out on the ridge

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all in all a fun day out. I’d class it more of a trip up Rocky Creek with an alternate entrance

Party Size: 3 all Expereinced

Time: 5.5hrs car to car

 

What if something is on TV and it’s never shown again? Smudge

 

 

Then the next day it was off to do Zorro and Cathedral canyons with the Cracks of Doom Thrown in

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Tiger Snake Canyon

01-07-2017

Ed Tal and me

Tiger snake is a cool little canyon. The two canyon sections are very short but the top one is tight with some interesting climb downs/absiels and the bottom section is magnificantly deep and narrow making it very cave like. One of the few “dry” canyons where you need a head torch in the midde of the day.

It’s a hard subject to photograph well but we had a goal in mind for sun set shots at a spot close by and thought this would be a good way to fill in the day.

-7.5° is almost a record low over night temp for the ‘Go, lucky its a short day and we weren’t planning to leave until 10am. By then most of the frost had melted and while cold, the sun was shining nicely.

The walk in was fairly uneventful and we reach the cleft where the small creek drops into the upper section without incident

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It’s an awe inspiring fissure, Narrow and dark

In all our previous trips we have absieled directly down here. It is an awkward absiel, as you have to bridge out over the narrow section to a bit that gives a bit more room, then you are pretty much down climbing on rope, if you slip you are going to swing in and get grated into the narrow bit… This time we deside to check out the alternate anchor point from higher up on the pagodas next to the slot.

 

The views fromthe top are amazeballz

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Tal and Ed checking the view and enjoying the sun shine

It also gives you a great perspective over the top section of canyon. It really is narrow and short

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That dark slot drops 15-20meters down before openning up just around the corner
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The abseil from the higher anchor point is still narrow and awkward but you don’t feel you are goign to get pulled back into the narrow slot, plus you miss a little pool so keep your feet dry for a bit longer
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Ed dropping in

Once in there is a slipery down climb, another advantage of the high anchor and long ropes is you can leave them set to assist you dont this bit and along the log to keep your feet dry again

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And then it’s the infamous bundle of sticks anchor. Where some one has placed a surperfluous fixed line.

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Hmmm that water looks cold, might take a few balancey moves to keep our feet dry
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Tal descends as Ed watches on
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Ed unclipping on a tiny ledge as he contemplates how to keep his feet dry

With the advantage of a bit of hieght I managed to bridge across easily. Tal had a bit of a go but decided the risk of slipping in outweighed the thought of getting his socks wet so just stepped in. Ed took a bit of time and all but done a Van Dam like set of splits but made it across the small, wet, slippery, sloping ledge.

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The top section finishes with this 17m absiel next to a small water fall

 

It is possible, with some good scrambling and down climbing skills to do the entire top section, including this bit, without abseiling but it is risky and why would you miss this one? It’s a very nice abseil

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Ed on rope Tal on firemans belay

 

It’s a short walk down the gully, the creek is dry again with the wtare from the canyon soaking into the sandy soil, to the lower constriction

There are acouple of ways in. Entering straight down the creek is nice but it is an awkaward drop and you do get wet at the bottom. This is the way I have been on all previous trips except the last one.

The other way is to scramble along the top of the canyon on a dodgy ledge to a anchor high up on a chock stone bridge. You do miss a bit of very pretty canyon but with a bit of scrambling/climbing skill you can make you way all the way up to the bottom of the awkward drop.

On the plus side the high entry is a great absiel down a dark hole and you keep your feet dry

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Ed Disappearing down the rabit hole
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It’s 20-25m straight downinto the darkness between walls so narrow that half way down you turn around to put your feet on the oposite wall

We spend some time in the dark depths snapping photos. Hopefully Ed gets some shots he can work with. My little TG struggled a bit in the darkness with my small head light trying to light paint the walls. My bike lights might have been better able ot illuminate the scenes.

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Ed sitting high up on a delicate arch within the darkness of the canyon
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Ed on a narrow bridge getting ready to defend 13 dwarves and a hobbit against a Balrog!
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Ed at the exit portal
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Tal and ed making their way downthe boulder scramble below the canyon
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What goes down must go up. Climbing out
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Climbing out

After doing all the “extreme” stuff I go arse over tit on the flattest part of the trail back to the car. I slipped on a slimey log, thought I’d caught my slef only for the momentum of the haeave pack to tip me over and drive my head into the ground. Mush laughter was had at my expense..

Driving back along the Coach rd we are stopped by a car coming the other way. How much further is the camp ground? says he

Which camp ground ar you looking for? say I

The one at New-nes, is it New-ness? says she

Newnes. You wont get there going this way.

We lost GPS when we turned off the highway.

Yep but you turned off the highway 20km to early and have gone 30km out of your way. 45years ago you could drive down from here…

they ask if there were any spots to camp up here and decide on a rough camp rather than trying to drive all the way back around in the fading light. Did I mention -7.5°? The night promised to be just as cold and they don’t really look like the outdoors type.

We point the way to a bit of a area where they might set up camp and wish them well then head off to capture a sun set from the cliff lines above the Wolgan

 

 

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Sun set over Donkey Mt. People might pay thousands of dollars per night to stay atthe resort below us but they wont hae views like this.

Tiger Snake canyon

Party Size 3 all experienced

Time: about 5hrs car to car with a lot of photo phaffing

 

‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”” — J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Dry Canyon

25-06-17

Catherin, Devon and I

So after our trip through River Caves Mandy had to be back in town early but the rest of us decided to take the drive out to the dry canyon which is always a great one for showing newbies

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It’s a bit pongy today, says I. Probably that dead dingo, says Catherin. Don’t know how I missed it. Poor thing looks to have taken a few wounds and sort refuge up in a little alcove but didn’t make it through.
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Standard dry canyon shots to come

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And with plenty of time in the day we decided to slip over the tops to bask in some sunlight and take in the views

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The pagodas that from the Dry canyon with Donkey Mt in the back ground
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At least here we can look down on the rich bastards in the Emerites resort

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Its a long way down into that dark cervice to where we just were
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It doesn’t feel like it arcs so much when you walk through it
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Heading back up the middle canyon section

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All in all a pleasant day in the great outdoors

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“the great French climber called it ‘The conquistadors of the useless.’ Yeah, the end result is absolutely useless, but every time I travel, I learn something new and hopefully I get to be a better person.” –  Yvon Chouinard, 180 Degrees South”

The River Caves

 

25-06-2017

Devon, Catherine, Mandy and I

So the enviros at work expressed and interest in visiting River Caves Canyon. So I teed up a little trip

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Catherine checking out the start of River Caves Canyon
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Devon about to enter the River Caves
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Mid winter water temps

 

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Easy to see why Rus May and John Norris originally called it the Water Tunnel

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It’s only a short trip

2 hrs car to car with a bit of time taking happy snaps so we decided on adding the Dry canyon to our trip

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“I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put together.” –John Burroughs

 

Bobs Canyon, AKA Broadhead canyon

24-06-2017

Tal and I

Bob told me about this one a while ago but I hadn’t managed to go for a look for it yet.

Apparently some time in the distant past they explored it, looking  in from the top, then finding their way to the bottom. They thought it was 2 abseils and dragged logs in for anchors. Only just past the second drop where they expected it to open out was a 3rd drop… with no anchor point. Lucky they had some kids with them and they lowered one down to drag some more logs up to jam between the canyon walls.

 

Anyhoo me and Tal had nothing on so we decided to go for a walk to see if we could find it. Bob had given me some good directions but I still managed to swerve a little to far right trying to avoid the worst of the scrub, still thinking I was on top of the ridge so not checking the compass we ended up on a little spur.

Back tracking we regain the main ridge. Thinking Tal would be hating me for the scrub I asked if he just wanted to head back to the car or continue on.

Continue on says he.

We work our way down into the little depression that would eventually become the canyon but skirt around the side of it to get a look in from the top.

The veiws from the end of the ridge were outstanding.

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Photos do not do this landscape justice, these pagoda cliff lines were 30-40m tall

We enjoyed a bit of lunch on top of a fantastic pagoda. Bob tells me there is a colony of Broad-Headed snakes that frequent this area and we spend some time peering into crevices but have no luck in seeing any.

With a little look around we spie a likely route back up from the valley below then head off to check out the canyon.

We hadn’t really planned to drop in today, just a scouting mission but we had thrown the ropes in at the last minute just in chase.

The short canyon looked as awesome as Bob had described, an arcing slot that dropped steeply through the cliff line. But it sounded like there was a bit of flow over the falls.

we make our way back along the tops and find a way to scramble down just as the canyon begines to slot up. A short way in there’s a down climb to a short pool. Crystal clear, deep enough to jump into but freezing cold. We back track slightly to see if we could get past on leadges and drop in on the other side.

We make our way along a serries of thin ledges but the further we go the less options to set up an abseil. We do, however spy the top of the first drop. The trickle of water in the creek srpays out from the wall. We’d definately be getting wet. We hadn’t planned on that so we deside to stick with plan A and back track out.

Know I know the way in and what to expect it will be on the list to do at a later date.

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A slot I thought may give access back up but nope.

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Looking back up to the start of the canyon
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Looking down on the exit portal
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Hmmm to deep to wade, too wide to straddle

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“You don’t have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.” –Annie Dillard

Acoustic

04/05/2017

Mandy Tal And I

Acoustic/SunnySide/Wombat(WTF?) is a great little canyon to visit in Winter as it has a nice constriction, some awesome erision caves and with a little bit of care it’s possible to get through it in normal conditions without getting you feet wet.

 

It’s fairly short so it’s usually conbined with other trips out that way but we had some other stuff to do and living close it’s an easy half day.

Pulling into the car park I handed the map and compass to Tal. Navigation is as straight forward as it gets in trackless terrain so it’s not a bad one to practice on. I gave him a bearing and he lead off following the path of least resistance through the scrub while staying on course. A decent effort delivered us to the dry water course about 100m upstream of where the pogodas sprout out the the ground and the creek canyons up.

Just before the jaws of the canyon Mandy decided to have a lie down when she stepped in a hole and twisted her ankle. After a bit of drama queen stuff she got up and said she’d be fine to keep going.

We left her to walk out the sprain a little as I lead Tallis up an easy scramble to check out the Acoustic chambers from above. The ridge above the western wall is easy to negotiate and gives a great perspective on the canyon.

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One of the “smaller” chambers near the start of the canyon
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Looking down the canyon towards 2 of the larger chambers
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Looking down into the canyon
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Tal checking the views from pogoda tops
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The large chamber from the western ridge
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Looking back up along the canyon

After quickly checking it out from above we make our way back to Mandy and head on in.

The canyon starts with a little twist and then a nice little tunnel scramble

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Mandy following tal into the gateway

There’s a few spots where it looks like you are sure to get your socks (and more) wet but with a bit of route finding and care you don’t even get the soles of your shoes wet

 

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Tal balancing of thin ledges to avoid getting wet. It might look like a mirror of liquid mercury in the harsh noon sun in the photo but its crystal clear

 

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Mandy reflecting on how we got past here with out getting wet. There are ways… We may or may not have shared our secret

and after a little bit of fun the eastern wall opens in to the large chamber…..

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Mandy an Tal eating lunch by the ferns while I check out the TARDIS effect, it’s bigger on the inside

You soon have to tranverse across the base of another chamber. In any other canyon this one would blow you away but it is eclipsed a bit by the previous one.

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Mandy traversing the balcony while Tal heads downinto the next section
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Once again it’s bigger from the inside
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Canyon formation

It’s advisable to traverse the right hand ledge above the last 100m of canyon. this avoids a little scrub as well as some delicate vegetation in the final slot which ends in a boulder choke. It also gives better views out into the Wolgan as the canyon opens up.

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The view down into the final slot is also pretty cool

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There are a few ways to exit. On my first visit we climbed an easy spot on the west wall and went back along the tops. It is also possible to scrmble out the exit portal and scramble around into Bushranger creek or to simply reverse the canyon but most parties now seem to use a hidden slot in the east wall. There a bit of a step up to access it so those short of leg may need a boost but once on the ledge it’s an easy ramp all the way to the top of the cliffs.

 

 

Once up there are vista’s applenty and it’s worth having a good look around.

Then Tal was back on map and compass to lead up up the ridge to the old fire trail and hence back to the car

 

Party size: 3 all experienced

Time. 1.5hr car to car even with the photo phaffing

Video to come if I can work out why my external drive with the go pro file and editted video on it decided to go RAW…

“many believe that the nature of the universe is to hide itself from mortal eyes. That we must search and meditate upon all around us to see and grasp the simple truth that
is enlightenment. However, perhaps the answers are being told to us all the time and we have just forgotten how to hear them.”

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Pleasant View Canyon

27-05-2017

Mandy and I

Pleasant View canyon is a canyon which leads a view over the Carne crk which is  pleasant… Actually the views from the end of the fire trail are better as are those from the cliffs above the canyon.

But anyhoo…

The canyon itself has some nice features (Some of the erosion caves are, IMO, on par with those found in Acoustic/Sunnyside canyon) and the tree ferns are awesome, but the canyon sections tend to be short and there is a bit of scrub, stripped bark and dead fall to negotiate.

All in all it’s worth a look if you are in the area doing other stuff

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We followed a little gully down through a short canyonette but a 4-5m drop barred our way in this fantastic chamber
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Luckily it was easy to slip over the top of the pagodas and scramble down then approach the chamber from below.
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With the big wind swept over hangs in the upper cliff and the blanket of ferns commanding my eyes I would have missed this cave altogether if it wasn’t for Mandy disappearing into it
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Sure the canyon sections were short but a couple of them gave promise of a deep, narrow passage.
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Did I mention tree ferns?
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Felt fern covered the walls, leaf litter and bark carpeted the floor.

The dry creek bed followed the big over handing wall around almost 180°

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Scrambling out of the canyon gave this awesome view over the Carne
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The pleasant view at the end of pleasant view canyon

 

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Xanthorrhoea spears back droped by towering cliff lines.

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Another cave
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Heading back up into the canyon
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Another cave

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An even more pleasant view from the end of the fire trail above

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Party size: 2

Time: 2.5hr with a lot of phaffing about.

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”Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jaime Lyn

Wandering around the plateau

20-05-2017

Julie, Leaf and me

So if you listened to the weather forecasters you’d expect to see a guy building a baot and collecting animals two by two or something.

Still I was keen to get out and was origanlly thinking one of the drier canyons out around Sunnyside might be nice with some rain.

Julie was keen and expressed an interest in doing Alcatraz instead.

Leaf posted on the Ozcanyons facebook group looking for trip she could join inon and we invited her along.

After a bit of discussion we settled on Alcatraz and a small double(or is it triple) canyon system out near the glowworm tunnel that I wanted to check out.

The forecaste went from gloomy to dire. There was some discussion on canceling the trip but thankfully we decided to roll with it.

Friday was ment to be the worse day. It was fine but the rain rolled in Friday night and belted down.

Saturday dawned sunny. A prefect day for a bit of exploring.

We met up and navigated the maze of roads into Alcatraz. The view down into the canyon from the cliff above showed the waterlevel well up but we suited up and carefully made our way into the anchor point.

Looking down into the slot, had me a bit concerned. I’d done it in high water with Ed and others a while ago and it was fine but this was up even more and without being able to see the exit I wasn’t comfortable dropping in.

We opted to descend the cliff beside it and make up way up from below. In hindsight it was likely doable but te canyons are always there for next time and I’m happy to play it safe.

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Looking across into the spout
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Julie setting the camera up while LEaf makes her way into the chamber
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The chamber and exit were fine
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Julie and Leaf in the chamber
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Inside the chamber
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Inside the chamber
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The exit slot

So a bit disappoint we didn’t abseil in but as I said there is always next time.

We made our way back to the cars and then continued out toward the glowworm tunnels for our next points off interest.

I had done the first little slot  with Mandy from below and after checking the satelite imagry realised there was another system close by. This time we headed down the dry canyon (not so dry today) and then explored as far up the other system as we could get before retracingour steps.

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Not far off the Glowworm tunnel road a sleep little creekbed begins to canyon up
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Dark sandstone gives way to walls the clour of honeycombe
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Leaf poses next to a temporary waterfall
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The canyon is only short and opens up into the hidden valley, hanging between clifflines.
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Julie and Leaf make their way through a cave like section into the North branch of a Twin canyon system
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This one is straight and narrow
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Without loosing a lot of weight this is as far as I can go
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Can’t believe the girls didn’t follow me through is cold stagnant swim. ©Julie Burton
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And then it was back out the way we came in.

Group Size: 3, all experienced

Time: Better part of a day phaffing about

 

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