A quick afternoon climb where Jez and Madie blew me and Russ away again
Jeremy, Aleasha, Russ, Madie and Me
For one reason or another I find myself picking up Madie and Russ and pointing our wheels south to meet up with Jez and Aleasha for some climbing at a popular little crag near Mittagong.
It was a perfect winters day and for a while we had the crag all to ourselves.
Madie, Russ and I set up on a nice looking 14, Selective Cleansing. It was a nice way to warm up
Again Madie places the gear, then we pull the rope and each have a lead and leave the gear in place to swap routes with the others
Mean while had Jez and Aleasha set up on a more ambitious 21…. Crimp a Buttock They both have a quiet, smooth style. They are nice to watch.
Jez would eventually follow her on lead while Madie and Russ manage the direct route on top rope.
Feeling confident after the top rope we decide to have a lead on something a little more challenging, 17 or 18 would be nice… A slight miss read of the guide saw Madie leading up Silver Fox, 20
Now a just a few weeks ago we dragged each other up a 15 on top rope and were over the moon…. Well, I’ve never known her to back off a challenge and bang, she leads her first 20. While Gibbo and Aleasha are quiet and precise, The Mad One is pure determination, power and self belief, oh and a “little” more vocal 🙂
The challenge is out and I surprise myself by following her to bag the hardest climb I’ve done in over 20 years.
But that would pretty much be my last win for the day. With blown forearms I attempt to follow the others up a few more routes but fail.
Still stoked for the day. If you’d have asked me on the way down I would have said I’d be happy if a managed to second a 17. Bagging a 20 (with pre-placed gear) was a pleasant surprise.
Mt Alexandra is such a cool crag. Interesting routes on nice rock with a good mix of grades. No doubt we’ll be back.
Selective Cleansing 14: Madie, Russ, me
Open to Public Scrutiny: 14 Madie, Me, Russ, Aleasha, Jez
Crimp a Buttock 21: Aleasha, Jez (17 variant on lead). Top rope: Madie, Russ Jez (Direct route) Me (17 Variant)
Silver Fox, 20: Madie, Me, Russ, Jez, Aleasha
Three and a Half Thousand 20: Jez, Madie Aleasha. Top rope Russ, Me (Failed)
Corner from Heaven 18: Aleasha, Jez, Madie: Top rope Russ
Madie and Jez then lead some pumpy little over hung route in the cave. Aleasha had a fair crack on top rope. Me and Rus were done
Make sure you become part of the glorious past in someone else’s future: A Penny
Little Miss Sunshine, The Russian Gangster, The Dare Devil, Badass Barbie, Archie, White Water Wizard and Meeeeeee (the eeejiot)
When Kylie said her crew were keen on a trip to this area and invited me along I jumped at the chance and then pretty much rearranged the trip… But they were cool with it.
There has been a lot of good discussion on the Australian Canyoners group about rigging releasable contingency anchors and with Mark’s guidance we took the opportunity to practice setting up with a figure 8 block. A method I’ve not used before but one I’ll make use of in the future.
I’ve always like the idea of releasable anchors and have used munter-mule knots in the past but found them too much of a pain in the arse to bother with on most recreational trips, however there are a bunch of devices out now that take the hassle out of the equation. And for those not into buying more gear (weirdos) most people would have a spare figure 8 in the gear bag somewhere. I was surprised at how simple and quick the figure 8 block was to rig.
But I get ahead of myself.
It’s -4 when Little Miss Sunshine arrives at my place, minus the sunshine, and we head off to meet Mark and the others. I know the others only from online interactions so it’s cool to finally meet them in person.
After a gentle stroll up the hill, wait. No, that’s not right. After slogging up the hill we dump bags and set off for a side trip to our first canyon of the day, slipping up the usual pass and short cutting through the scrub to the top of the slot
An hour or so later we are back at the bags and make our way around to visit the next slot/micro canyon
And then it is up my pass and onto the tops for some views followed by more scrub
1 abseil to go and as I was pulling rope across for Mark to feed it through the anchor there was an almighty rumble, the world shook and a car sized boulder broke off the cliff above and went sailing past about 10m to the right of us….. It was impressive to witness but scary AF when it happened
And then its a combination of walking, stumbling and dirt skiing back down to the cars
Another great day in the bush with great people visiting 3 short but very different canyons
Party Size: 7
Time: 7hr 15 car to car
There’s no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there’s no excuse for boredom. Ever!: Viggo Mortensen
Madie, Autal, Catherine, Chris and meeeeee
With the weather turning cold it’s time to focus on dry trips. Depite popular opinion there are a number of dry(ish) canyons not to far from the usual summer trips that are worth a look. This one is a short day in the Wolgan.
The canyon itself isn’t that great in regards to length and depth of the constriction but it has a couple of standout features and great views.
We met at the servo bright and early and sorted car pools to drive down to the car park. Mick was joining us for the haul up through the cliff lines but then leaving as he had afternoon plans in the bigsmoke
Madie was running 5min late but, hey she had a 4hr drive to get here so no one blamed her. Oh, in a previous blog I stated she needed a constant supply of chips and chocolate. that was just a bit of fun after she brought a large pack of chips on the trip I didn’t mean it to sound like she was a snack scoffing fatty. She usually eats nothing but kale washed down with a cup of steam, or sumfink. I’m the fat guy on our trips.
The frost was lifting off the tops and down in the valley it was a glorious morning so we wasted little time in setting out up the hill.
Our path up is typically steep but relatively easy for the Wolgan.
Some Pretty section of creek and grand overhangs break up the climb
and soon we are bathing in sunshine on top of the stunning clifflines that seem so impenetrable from the valley below.
This is where Mick leaves us and heads back the way we came up. For the rest of us it’s a relatively easy stroll up through the scrub to intersect a faint trail along the ridge.
There is a pleasant bit along the ridge before we drop back down through the scrub to our first anchor point above a 30m abseil down through one of the highlights
Over the millenia water running down a sloping face have carved a deep groove into the rock befre hitting a band of iron stone that created a small pool halfway up the cliff line. Evenually this pool eroded deeper and deeper until it bored a hole staright through the cliff
From below the hole is stunningly circular
A short, dark cave section follows
Then there is some bounder hoping and scambling down beside the creek before it tries to canyon up
On our trip last year we were greeted with a deep, very cold pool here that soaked every up to their necks. Today we didn’t even get our feet wet.
click to enbiggen
And then the next highlight is a drop down through this stunning hole through the rock
At the bottom is usually a deep plunge pool that takes some manoeuvring to get across without falling in. Today it was nearly dry but I made them do the bridge anyway 🙂
The hole opens into a chamber with an amzing window out over the Wolgan
We have lunch in the sun light on the halfway ledge and then there is one more long abseil before the quick march down the hill to the cars
A day in the bush with a fun bunch of people is the perfect chatharsis for the stress of the modern world
Party Size: 5 all experienced
Time: 6hr car to car
Chardie, Autal, Al, Madie, Maarten and me
Ok I wanted to get my young nephew out to do Tiger Snake canyon and invited the others along for the trip. But 2 things happened
a. Nathan broke a couple of fingers, so he wouldn’t be able to abseil and
b. an alert cames through saying the area would be closed due to Hazard reduction burns
That also ruled out my back up plans and after a bit of thought I threw up the idea of Four Dope canyon.
It was going to be a big walk for a shortish canyon but I had enjoyed the neighboring Dead Tree Canyon last year and it was ment to be a similar sort of trip. Plus it’s one I’d not done before and I’m always keen on checking out new adventures.
The others were a little dubious. They had asked around and got reports back saying it was a very ordinary canyon and not worth doing. Oh well I’m going anyway. In the end they came too.
Madie had been introduced to Maarten somehow and asked if he could tag along. He was a backpacker out from the Netherlands and keen to do some canyoning, he already done solo trips to Calustral and Kanangra and so Autal picked him up from Paramatta station and now we we a group of 6.
Slight hickup early on as Al rang. Where are you guys at? Asked he
My place. says I
I’m looking for it and there is no 33 Shaft st….
Wow I’d moved out of shaft street 3 years ago. My tired brain must have malfunctioned (it often does)when I texted the meeting place through to him… That doesn’t bode well.
Anyhoo. We eventually all meet up at the Waratah ridge car park and start the walk out.
It’s a long walk along an old fire trail and then onto a foot pad, but it’s fairly flat and the company is good so time passes quickly
The foot pad comes and goes towards the end. I’ve always found it odd, you’ll be on a very clear obvious trail and 20m later it disappears. Then, if you are lucky, you pick up a faint trail, step over a log and it disappears, then you stumble over a clear trail again. And so on and so forth. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera…
Anyhoo we get to the spot where the track notes say we need to veer off. I may have come a fraction far and we need to skirt back around the head of the gully which would lead into arch canyon and we pick up a faint ridge which begins to drop down early.
The track notes are a bit vague, saying to follow the ridge until it starts to descend then drop into the creek. Well we’ve only just got onto the ridge but it sure is descending. The Canyon is still 1km down stream but we drop into the creek.
Big mistake. It’s scrubby as all get up. We do come across these cool over hangs and erosion caves thou
It takes us a stupid long time to push through 100m of scrub and we make the call to scramble back out onto the side ridge to traverse above the worst of it.
Some interesting scrambles along the halfway ledge bewteen clifflines and we finally drop back down and suit up.
Are you sure this isn’t 6 dopes? Chardie asks
The slot would want to be special or it’s making my first entry on the never to be repeted list. says I
All kitted up we enter the creek and wade on down stream. Just as it was getting uncomfortably warm in the wetsuits we make our way through a horid mess of tree fall and the canyon drops away below us.
We waist no time roping up. Not even half way down the abseil the walk in is forgotten. Wow.
After a short section of narrow, dark canyon it opens out slightly
And then it drops again and there is a couple of abseils in quick succession
And some nice canyon follows
Now we hadn’t seen any sun in the canyon, it felt like late afternoon twilight the whole time and there was a bit of a cool breeze flowing down between the walls. I was just starting ot feel a bit chilly when we get to the 1 compulsary swim of the trip.
But is is such a nice spot
And then it opened out and we were at the junction with the Bungleboori.
We now needed to make our way about 40min upstream to Arch canyon and a convenient pass out.
I’d used this pass before but approached from the upstream side where we made use of the current to carry us down the deep pools of the Bunglebooru. I was thus expecting some cold swims as we made our way upstream but other than a few wades we made good time along the banks and sand drifts in a stunningly wild section of the river
We soon found ourselves at the juncton with Arch canyon and I was super keen to slip up the canyon a little to have a better look at the arch.
It’s well worth the effort of climbing up the bottom drops and steep creek to reach the arch just as the canyon proper stars (or is that ends…)
We make our way back down to find Chardie and Al have made a head start on the exit track. Maarten and Autal follow. I’m getting out of my wet suit. I hate walking uphill in a wettie.
Me and Madie get into dry gear and give chase up the hill.
Autal is waiting at the base of the upper cliffs and we set off after the others. We can hear them ahead which is a good sign as we scramble up the first viable option and find every one waiting to regroup on the ridge
And now for the long slog back to the car.
Was it worth the 20km of walking and nearly 800m of elevation gain for a short canyon?
Well, whenever you are out in the bush with a great bunch of people it’s worthwhile and to be honest I was impressed by the canyon itself. It had a beauty to it and the first abseil was stunning. It also has a less traveled feel to it, like you are one of the privledged few to experience it’s wonders.
I wouldn’t rush back next week and I’m glad we didn’t do it in the height of summer but would definately consider doing it again in the future if the company was right.
Party size. 6 All experienced, all a little loopy
Time: 8.5hrs car to car with some stuffing around finding our way in.
Tim, Kent, Sheila, Marchelle, Ev, John, Doug, Craig, Pete and me
Nightmare canyon, it sounds, um, nightmarish but it’s a pleasant, if somewhat short, canyon in the Wolgan valley with some interesting abseils.
I’ve been enjoying heading out with Tim, Kent and their band of canyon addicts, they run great, well organised trips.
Anyhoo, it was back to the Wolgan and up everyones favourite little hill, the Pipeline trail
click to enbiggen
You can’t walk up the pipeline without a side trip to the lookout. It’s the law.
Click to enlarge
Marchelle disappearing into the abysys
Well except when you plunge into the nut deep pool. My outie became and innie again.
But it also has it’s grandour.
Click to make huge
Party Size: big but all experienced and a rope for every drop
Time: 6.5hrs car to car
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views…” Edward Abby
Ed, Etham, Ciaus, Jake and me.
Another trip to this short but pretty dryish canyon out the back of Clarence, and a stop at Goochs Crater on the way back
Then it was over the ridge and out to Goochs Crater
All in all a pleasant winters day in the bush
“Life must be lived as play.” – Plato.
Julie, Ed, Ethan, Gaz, Jodie and me
I have to say after our scrub bash to nowhere I was fairly surprised the others would still be keen on coming out, let alone head back with the same goal in mind. Something about unfinished business. The more we looked over maps the more convinced we were right there, just misinterpreted the trail notes.
With a whole range of schedules and commitments finding a date where every one was available was the tricky part.
The date was set and eagerness grew. Then Illness struck. Ed rang saying he was crook as a dog. I called Gaz saying I was reluctant to do the trip without Ed as it was his idea in the first place. I was just heading to the chemist to drug myself up, Says he, as I’m the same… Trip off.
It was going to be w while before everyone would be available again.
Then I got the opportunity to do the trip with others who had been there previously and a mid week reconnaissance mission took place. It had me more eager than ever to get the crew back there.
Another date was set.
Another set of circumstance meant not everyone could make it.
Finally 12months later every one was getting keen again. Ed suggested the June long weekend. We had a big MTB race on at Rydal which ruled out Saturday and Sunday. I needed to go to work Monday morning but arranged to go early so I could meet the others around 9.
I threw out an invite to Julie just in case she had a day off and luckily she did so it would be a party of 6.
Well Friday and Saturday pissed down. Like constant drizzle interspaced with good heavy rain. Sunday dried out just enough that the race at Rydal was on perfectly tacky trails but I warned the others that while usually dry above the knees with this rain we might get wet up to our waists… A slight under estimation.
Anyway we met up and made our way down into the Wolgan. A good fog rolled through the valley with the promise of clear blue sky once it lifted.
We made good time up the hill and through an easy break in the cliff lines. Much easier than the first way I lead them 12 months ago.
Julie guided the way and we surprised ourselves by arriving bang on target at the lunch spot above the abseil anchor with surprisingly little scrub to be bashed at all.
While some tried in vain in the end there was no option but to wade on through, except after we all had, Ed pointed out a high ledge we could have scampered across with a convenient abseil tree almost directly above the end of the pool.
And next is a fun little abseil down through a hole in the rock. It’s almost like a mini Alcatraz but darker and narrower
next up is 2 awesomely exposed 30m abseils above the spectacular Wolgan valley
Our track notes said 2 ropes needed here but both center marks were on the ground so conceivably its doable on 1 genuine 60m (Note mine is about 63m and the center mark was just off the ground.
Party Size. 6. all experienced to intermediate
time: 5hrs car to car at a steady pace
“There is no such thing as spare time. No such thing as free time. No such thing as down time. All you have is life time. Go!” Henry Rollins
With all the people who visit the Railway dams on Dargan crk at Clarence now days I wonder how many have ventured up into the backwater. It had been ages since I’ve done it.
As well as leaps of faith the main wall is also great for deep water soloing
There are lots of climbable lines on the wall, however most involve a blank section 3/4 the way up that require a long stretch or balancey moves on tiny climps while trying to smear with bare feet.