Xmas in July canyoning challenge

20/07/2019

Jen, Jodie, Diana, Joel, Ed, Russ, Chewy and meeeeeeee

In an effort keeping positive vibes flowing on the Australian Canyoners FB group through the “Off season” (And to break up the flood of stunning photos Madie’s been posting about European Canyoning. Not that we are jealous. Not us. No…) I put out a Xmas in July canyoning challenge, So far Kylie and Colin had lead trips resulting in awesome photos.. Now it was our turn.

Ed as Scary Santa
A splash of colour in the Aussie bush
Me and Jen. And yes they are my own boobs. Legs together because the at the first down climb I took a big step and tore the crutch out of the candy cane stockings. Um I’ll be going first on the way down. MmmmKay..

After a round of photos it was into our first canyon, Zorro

How cool does the red look against the Aussie Bush in Winter
Jen belaying the guys
Zorro is an amazing little canyon with entrance and exit chambers that are consistently narrow and straight
It has some little challenges along the way too. Most groups abseil this drop which is a worry because when Chewy tested the anchor the sling fell out in his hand…. The sling was basically around a bit of mudstone that was more mud than stone
Ed embracing a game of the water is lava. With a bit of encouragement everyone managed to keep their feet dry
The Z chamber, which separates the entrance and exit chamber with a grand, perpendicular hallway
Joel and Diana heading towards the exit
Jodie, Jen, Chewy and Russ bridging their way down the exit
Jen, Diana and Meeeee. With the gang in the back ground ©Joel
Jen and her magical polar bear slippers on the final abseil

And then it was back up to the tops for a lovely Xmas lunch over looking the One and Only Emerites Wolgan resort

As John Lennon sang, The sun is out, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are….. Um the gang?
All the cool Blue Mts Canyoners where besta…. I mean polar bear ugg boots? While they lost an ear Jen managed to keep them crispy white.

Then it’s back to the cars for a short drive around to our next destination. Not so much a canyon as a crack.

Of Dooooom.

Those following along back home may remember me not finding it, not fitting through it and opting to go around it. Well 10kg down and this time through I went

looking back up as Jodie enters the Crack of Doom
Russ at the point the crack turns from Narrow to Squeezey
Jodie getting her squeeze on
Ed almost to the bit where it allows you to breathe again
Looking back at the impressive crack that descends the cliff line

And then it was around to have a look at a bigger crack/micro canyon. Catherdral Canyon. AKA The diamond cavern

All up it’s only about 50m long but it’s kinda nice

From there we make our way back to our exit slot, The Crack of Doom 2.

A slightly more sensible width it’s still narrow and parallels the cliff with just a slight bend as it ramps it’s way up
It ends in an easy 3m chimney climb out.
Me giving Jen a little hand. Now my climbing style has never been described as graceful and Jen’s legs might be a little shorter than mine but humping the rock was never in my bag of tricks. You learn something new each day or sumfink… ©Ed

All in all a great day in the bush decking the halls, prancing about, jingling bells and generally having a laugh with seriously awesome people.

Group Size: 8

Time: Is meaningless on Xmas

Tomorrow owes you the sum of your yesterday. Nothing more than that.:-Robin Hobb

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Pagoda Canyons in the rain

8-09-2018

Madie, Wouter, Meeee with a cameo from Jen

So with a bunch of other commitments I didn’t get out canyoning at all in August. In fact the last real canyon trip I lead was almost 2 months ago so I was frothing to get out.

I was keen for a couple of the Pagoda canyons on the Plateau before the weather warmed up and when Madie said she had the weekend off I thought why not combine a few of the smaller ones to make it worth her drive.

I also thought she’d might be nutty enough to join me for our first wet canyon of Spring.

Can I bring a friend, asks she.

Yep says I. And so Wouter, would be joining us for his first canyoning experience.

Jen had a morning free opted in for the first canyon too.

After a long dry spell a week of steady drizzle was welcomed by all and certainly made the first two usually dry canyons a bit more special.

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The rain made the ledges a little more slippery

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Wouter and Jen Tip-toeing along the tiny ledges

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The Acoustic chamber could be called the TARDIS chamber. It’s bigger from the inside

The first recorded group through here called it Acoustic Canyon due to a series of these chambers. But as there was another little canyon out in the Nayook system already called Acoustic this one is now normally just called Sunnyside, though the Jameison guide also lists it as Wombat.

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You can normally get through this one without getting your feet wet. Not today

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All the little side waterfalls were amazeballs. Madie doing a “Supermodel” pose, Jen wondering what sort of nutcases she has gotten herself mixed up with

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such soft light and textures in the mist

 

Back to the car we say goodbye to Jen and make our way to the next one.

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After the amount of water in the last “dry” canyon I was expecting a bit more in this one

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I normally don’t bother with a rope here but the walls were extra slippery so we played it safe

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I love this chamber

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And this passageway

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Not sure why we are trying to stay dry at this point

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Maybe it’s just the challenge

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So do you guys want to slip over and check out the tops or make a dash for time and go and get wet in another canyon? Asks me

Why can’t we do both, replies Madie in her best el Paso impersonation.

Right on!

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From the top you wouldn’t imagine that goreous, airy chamber is just down there

Then it’s back up the ridge, into the car for a longish drive around to our next stop. I have to say I was a bit excited for this one. Madie was so excited she wetsuited up while we were driving. I’m not sure Wouter knew what to make of it all.

We made the car park at a bit after 3. Starting a canyon, a wet canyon so late on a cool, wet, early spring  day would normally not be sensible. But this one is super short, we managed to go car to car in just over an hour which is nuts.

But it is nice as a side trip on the way home.

So are we going to abseil down beside a waterfall? Asks Wouter on the way in

Um not exactly, says I

Now I’ve done this one at normal water levels. I’ve done it with Ed when the water was pounding. I’ve been there with Julie when the water was so big we decided to bypass the falls

After a long dry then a week of drizzle I wasn’t sure what to expect but as we short-cutted over the ridge we could here the falls roaring and as they came into veiw it looked just right.

 

 

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To answer Wouter’s question, we wont be going down “beside” the falls. ©Madie

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He was more than up for it. ©Madie

 

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©Madie

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Yep

It’s a cracker of a abseil

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©Madie

 

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All in all another great day in the bush

Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Party Size. 4 for Sunnyside/acoustic. 3 for Zorro and Alcatraz

Timing: I think it was about 2hrs car to car for Sunnyside (with a bit extra walking along the firetrail due to trees down). a fraction under 2hr for Zorro and 1hr for Alcatraz with a bit of time driving between the lot

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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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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