Coorongooba Canyoning (26-31 Dec 2014)
After accommodating flight schedules, family lunches and the like we were able to convene in Lithgow mid-afternoon on Boxing Day. From there we made our way to the start of our 6 day trip into the Wollemi Wilderness. Clearly I didn’t think anything interesting happened in the first 24 hours as I took no photos (perhaps preserving an almost flat camera battery?). We just walked into a campsite in the late afternoon of Boxing Day. It was a cool and slightly drizzly evening and I ended up wearing almost all the clothes I’d taken with me!
The next morning we headed down a creek that a few of us had previously visited, before getting to some unexplored territory. I seemed to still be getting over the cold I’d developed earlier in the week and I opted for some quality nap time on side of the river while the the others went off to explore. They returned for lunch which I had to prepare since Tom had jarred his right hand badly in the canyon and could barely lift up pieces of cheese to put on his crackers! Given Tom’s hand and my lethargy we headed straight for camp while the others explored a second creek in the afternoon.
Here’s camp for night 2 before the others arrive.
Fortunately Tom’s hand improved enough overnight that he thought he could keep going. And I had regained some energy; so our full contingent set out to explore on the morning of day 3. We had some good views from the top of our pass over to our target creek.
This canyon proved to be one of the better ones of the trip. And as the weather was still overcast my photos came out ok!
After lunch we explored another nearby creek which had an interesting cave at the top. Unfortunately the creek had no canyon in it so we were back to camp fairly early.
From there various endeavours were undertaken. Tom and I looked up another creek which didn’t have any canyon. Simon tried to find a better camp cave (unsuccessful). Mel and Rich went for a walk up the major creek, and Sue relaxed. The forecast had been for a reasonable amount of rain so we were keen for a camp cave but the one we had found was not great. There was nicer camping at the nearby junction but in the end we opted for the cave in case of the rain. (Of course it didn’t end up raining.)
The next day we went over a pass into a perhaps too-highly anticipated canyon. It had two deep abseils which were lovely but it was over all too quickly. The weather also cleared up and we had brilliant sunshine for the rest of the trip – unfortunately this meant many of my photos were completely blown-out, hence not many.
We then explored a nearby creek which turned out to be a pass.
Then we headed up a nearby tributary, which we managed to reverse (some more easily than others). It proved the value of low expectations as I think we enjoyed it a bit more than the anticipated canyon from the morning.
Simon and Rich ready to do battle in the jungle!
From there we dumped packs at a junction and headed up the major creek with our day packs to explore a couple more tributaries.
Here’s Tom boulder scrambling in the major creek.
The first creek we managed to reverse. It was quite interesting, with a tunnel section near the start. Tom unfortunately jarred his ankle when he slipped on a slippery climb-up. So to add to his hand injury he now had a stuffed ankle.
Finally we explored our 5th (?) creek of the day. This one we couldn’t reverse but we managed to climb onto the ridge nearby. We descended a low quality canyon which ended with a long abseil back to the creek. From there we headed back to camp after a pretty full day.
The next day we headed back upstream to explore a couple more creeks. They both yielded some canyon – the first one reasonable quality but short.
The second one lower quality but a little longer.
Having met our objectives for this section of the trip we then had to start thinking about how we were going to get back to the cars. After a leisurely lunch we headed up on to the tops in the heat of the day and then dropped into a different creek system.
We descended a tributary that Tom & Rich had partially explored on an earlier trip.
We then headed up the major creek in the hope of finding a campsite. Camping was not great but given the plan for the next couple of days we settled on using another less than ideal camp cave. Sue, Simon, Mel and Rich set off to do a canyon which Tom, Rich & I had done on a previous trip while Tom (stuffed ankle) and I (chafing) contented ourselves with a late afternoon finish.
Our final day saw the party split for the morning activities. The weak and wounded headed straight up a pass and directly for home, while the keen people headed downstream. We reconvened several hours later at a cave, us having had a leisurely morning of extra coffees, while the keen people tackled obstacles and scrub. We had lunch before we all descended a final creek, which turned out to have some canyon sections, on our way back to the cars.