Colo Pass 5 & 1 (20-21 Apr 2024)

James wanted to go canyoning for the weekend. Woohoo! But his suggestions were far more energetic than either Tom or I were capable of, and the weather forecast was not overly enticing for wet canyoning. But why work out plans more than 48 hours in advance? Eventually we settled on a trip into the Upper Colo since James had never been there, and I was hoping it would mean we wouldn’t be away the *entire* weekend.

About 20 minutes after leaving home on Saturday morning Tom started swearing. His phone and wallet are still on the table at home. “Am I taking the next exit?”… “Running out of time for a decision?”… I assured him it would be like going bush in the old days before Lidar maps existed and we had to just use our experience. I’m not sure he was convinced.

We continued on; but without Tom’s drivers licence I ended up doing most of the driving. Well, until we got to the boggy sections on the Culoul Range Fire Trail. I got us through a few puddles but as we started swinging about I decided I’d had enough. And Tom, licence or not, could be responsible for getting us through the remainder. We made it to the end of the road intact and were soon fairly saturated as we started walking along the overgrown trail. The forecast rain seemed to have come through before we arrived that morning and everything was sodden.

Eventually we dropped off the track, where apparently it hadn’t rained given how dry it was, and headed down to our creek. It was slow going, with plenty of young lawyer vine ready to leave its mark.

Between a petrol stop, a coffee/banh mi/pastry stop, the wet road in and then the overgrown approach, it was almost midday by the time we got to the first abseil. The banh mi had been smelling alluring the whole drive up, but were slowly getting soggy and squashed in our packs. The others weren’t keen for an early lunch so we kept going to the further detriment of the banh mi.

Tom on the first abseil

After the reasonable gap between the first and second abseils I got James to read out Tom’s notes from previous visits. I think both him & I were a little surprised (horrified) to find the base of second abseil was going to have a waist deep pool and the base of the third a chest deep pool! Slightly concerned at my lack of water proofing I was happy to let the others go first.

James on the second abseil, Tom at the base

I convinced them we should have lunch before getting into a chest deep pool and we were lucky to have a calm period on the ledge so we didn’t get cold while we ate our soggy banh mi.

As per our usual practice I took my shirt off for the third abseil, which prompted the others also to do so. I was not unhappy to find it was unnecessary as the pool was only waist deep (maybe even shallower than the previous one).

All smiles that a chest-deep pool didn’t exist (just a waist deep one)

Somewhere around this part of the day Tom objected to my efforts to increase our (his) efficiency getting down the drops. I was labelled the ‘fun police’ and then he started imitating Blackboard from the children’s program Mr Squiggle. “Hurry up” then became his catch-phrase for the rest of the weekend – even though he was really the only one that directive needed to be applied to! 🙂

James with an awkward sit-start for the 4th abseil

Tom on the 5th abseil

James on the 5th abseil

James on the 6th abseil

James on the 7th abseil, Tom on the ledge

Tom in the Colo (as well as two of our ropes!)

James on our 8th and final abseil

We had afternoon tea on the Colo before heading upstream. The river, unsurprisingly given the recent rainfall, had a lot more flow in it than on previous visits. There was no way we were going to be able to just wade up the middle of it.

Looking back up where we came

Tom above the Colo

We had a very pleasant night in our cave, particularly with it drizzling very lightly on and off most of the night. We woke the next morning to sections of blue sky which became full sun and blue sky later in the day. Such a contrast to the very grey day we’d had on Saturday.

It was pretty easy going to the base of Crawfords Lookout – truly spectacular country.

James and Tom enjoy a log walk

James crossing Wollemi Creek, but where is Tom going?

Colo horseshoe bend from Crawfords Lookout

We made it to Hollow Rock!

I won the 3 (or more?) time guessing games against Tom over the course of the weekend. Each time only by a couple of minutes which was highly satisfying.

Back at the car at 2:14pm (beat him again), we had a late afternoon tea stop in Windsor on the way home. A very enjoyable weekend in remote country, even if I’m still not fit enough to carry an overnight canyoning pack and enjoy it.