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.
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
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Then it’s more bridging over what is usually a long pool but in this dry spell it’s starting to dry up
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
Once ontop we slip out the ridge inbetween the two slots with the idea of having lunch in the sun with a view
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.
Then it was back up the Crack of Doom!!! 2 for an easy exit
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
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)
Della in the coachwood forest
Mandy watching Della on the absiel
That white stuff isn’t snow it’s hail
Hail on the ridge top
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!”
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.
And of course the early waratahs were out on the ridge
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
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
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
It also gives you a great perspective over the top section of canyon. It really is narrow and short
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
And then it’s the infamous bundle of sticks anchor. Where some one has placed a surperfluous fixed line.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
“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”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
and after a little bit of fun the eastern wall opens in to the large chamber…..
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.
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.
The view down into the final slot is also pretty cool
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.
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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.”
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.
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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The dry creek bed followed the big over handing wall around almost 180°
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.
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.