Author Archives: rachel

Prince Regent NP, The Kimberley (June 2017) – Part II

Continued from Part I

The falls were spectacular and we were relieved to know the hardest 2 days of the trip where out of the way.

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Melissah with views down the gorge

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Grace checking out the falls

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Looking down the falls from the top

Ro had ensured happy hour was good on night 6 with a 2L cask of wine in the food drop. That had been her main concern when the bag had rolled off the boulder – did the wine stay intact? It had, the main complaint seemed to be “where was the second cask?”.

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Happy hour on night 6

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Mike holding court

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Sunset over Garimbu Creek

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Camping above the falls on night 6

Unusually there had been a bit of cloud around on day 6 & 7. This provided a magnificent sunrise on day 7.

The morning of day 7 we had a few things missing. Apparently there’s a quoll out there that likes gingernuts, women’s knickers and steel wool.

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Sunrise on day 7

Mike came up with an excellent plan of doing a one-night trip up the creek and then returning to the top of the falls the following day. This meant we could leave a lot of our food behind and avoid heavy packs for a couple of days. The food bags were re-hung (in a more accessible tree) and we headed upstream.

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Views of Garimbu Creek

With a fairly short day ahead we had a leisurely morning tea with lots of jumping by Mike and Tom at a great waterhole.

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Beautiful morning tea spot

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Some of the many wildflowers that were out

Our camp on night 7 was our most intimate of the trip. It was at a wonderful waterhole, almost the definition of serenity (other than when Tom was jumping in!).

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More jumping at camp on night 7

We explored a bit of the nearby country that afternoon.

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Interesting rock formations nearby

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Wandjina art

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Tom about to destroy the reflections… diving for once instead of jumping!

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Camp on night 7

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Camp on night 7

On day 8 we headed back downstream following a slight different route.

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A tricky section of Garimbu Creek

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Grace does a narrow sidle above Garimbu Creek

We camped in a different spot above the falls on night 8 as the spot we’d chosen on night 6 had been a bit of a wind tunnel. The weather which had been quite cool up until night 6 started to warm up so we had a much more pleasant night second time round.

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Camp above the falls on night 8.

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Tom with the falls in early morning sun

On day 9 we descended below the falls – via a side creek a couple of kilometres downstream. We got some great views of the falls on our way out.

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The full falls

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A very pretty, easy-walking, side creek to get back into Garimbu Creek

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Easy walking in the side creek

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Our wonderful campsite for nights 9 and 10

We did a day trip upstream to below the falls in the afternoon. There was some good rock art along the way.

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Tom & Peter checking our some rock art

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Rock art

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Tom jumping below the falls

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Heading back to camp

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Camp night 9 & 10

On day 10 most of us did a day trip downstream to see how far we could get before we would have to swim. The section below was the only time we got wet until the final canal.

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Grace wading

The final canal where swimming was your only option stopped us. We had morning tea and a swim. Tom swam part way down the canal and then climbed up the wall and did a jump (if you look carefully you can see his silhouette in the photo below).

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Looking down the final packfloat at the end of the gorge. If you look carefully you may be able to see Tom jumping part way down.

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Gorgeous waterhole where we swam on the way down and the way back up

Our final day of walking we exited up the side-creek we’d come down on day 9 and then across into another side-creek which cam back to Garimbu Creek below the canal we’d walked down to on day 10. It wasn’t the most pleasant terrain and the temperature seemed to be up a few degrees on previous days. We were all losing the will to walk by the time we got to camp.

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Final night campsite

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Falls below the final campsite

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Final night campsite came with a spa pool

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Sunrise day 12

Our final day we just walked back upstream 100m or so and waited for the chopper to arrive. We were taken back to Mitchell Plateau airstrip, and then a flight back to Kununurra.

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The chopper found us!

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Waiting for our connecting flight

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Very comfortable flight back to Kununurra

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About to land on Lake Kununurra

Back in Kununurra we had a lovely dinner at The Pumphouse, and later that night (with much help from google) we finally finished the crossword we’d been battling with all trip!

crossword An another excellent Kimberley trip. Many thanks for Mike for leading, particularly after Ro left us prematurely on day 4, and to everyone for their excellent company.

Prince Regent NP, The Kimberley (June 2017) – Part I

Getting to The Kimberley region of Australia is a logistics challenge in itself. For Sydney-siders like us, it generally involves flying to Darwin (having to overnight there due to the flight schedules), flying to Kununurra (maybe having to overnight again) and then some other transport to wherever you’re walking. This year’s trip was in the Prince Regent National Park, west of Mitchell Plateau. Once we finally got to Kununurra the adventure started with a 1.5hr flight from Kununurra to the Mitchell Plateau Airstrip.

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Preparing to depart Kununurra

We got great views of the region on the way.

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Views from the plane

From the Mitchell Plateau Airstrip we were then transported by helicopter into the Roe River, via a food drop on Garimbu Creek. We were planning to be out for 12 days/11 nights with us due to get to the food drop on night 6.

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Arriving on the Roe River and our first camp site

We didn’t have far to walk on the first day! In fact we were camping where the chopper dropped us off, which was nice given our packs were full of 6 days of food.

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The other half of the party arriving

Day 2 we started walking down the Roe River.

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Walking down the Roe River

We didn’t get far before we hit these major falls which were a great spot for morning tea and a swim.

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Tom above the falls

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Tom on our way down. The rest of the party sidled down further round on the true right. Tom & I took a more direct route down (which had a couple of tricky sections).

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Tom getting his first (?) water jump of the trip in.

That afternoon we visited the original “Bradshaw” art works.

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Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) rock art

And then we settled down to camp on night 2. The weather was a lot cooler than we were expecting and most of us were cold on the first few nights.

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Night 2 campsite. Lots of almost flat rocks!

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Reflections

Day 3 saw us go cross-country to cut off a couple of loops on the Roe. Unfortunately we saw quite a few cows, including some herds. In theory DPAW does some culling but from the numbers we saw it’s not that effective.

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Cross-country walking day 3

Lunch was had at this lovely set of falls.

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Lunch spot day 3

There were lots of pot-holes around. This one fitted Tom in it!

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Tom in a pothole

That afternoon there was generally easy walking down the river.

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Easy rock slab walking down the Roe River

We found some lovely shady overhangs, which unsurprisingly had rock art in them.

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The party checking out the rock art

And we had a delightful spot to camp for night 3.

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Tom in the kitchen at night 3’s campsite.

Day 4 we continued down the Roe River. The rocky slabs gave way to more sandy country. It was fairly easy going but not particularly exciting. Tom & I went on a detour up Wyulda Creek where we found some lovely waterholes and had a swim.

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Tom on Wyulda Creek

Expecting to find the rest of the party at camp we were surprised when they flagged us down only a short distance from the Wyulda Ck/Roe River junction. Unfortunately one of our group had broken her wrist and the decision had been made to activate one of the PLBs. A chopper picked her up within 90 minutes of the PLB being activated. And so then there were 7…

Subsequently we got to our intended camp later than planned. We were a little surprised when the creek we intended to follow cross-country the next day was a very small, dry channel. Tom & I headed up it to see what was going on and found the larger creek (with some water in it) actually joined the Roe 500m downstream rather than what was shown on the map.

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Our depleted party at camp on night 4. Note the salami, cheese, crackers & olives for entrée.

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Night 4 – our only sandy camp. Not sure if it was due to the sand but it was a very cold night, with plenty of dew.

We had groups dinners on the trip. Each evening’s food was allocated to one person to prepare (everyone doing 1.5 nights over the trip). Night 4 was Melissah’s night and we had a delicious laksa, followed by damper which we filled with honey for dessert.

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Peter & Mike concentrating hard on their damper.

Day 5 we left the Roe to start our cross-country route to Garimbu Creek. DPAW had been burning in the park in May and when we encountered those sections the walking was a lot faster.

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Crossing burnt-out country made the going much easier

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Rock art

Where vegetation hadn’t been burnt then things were slower as you normally couldn’t see where you were putting your feet so a lot of concentration was required.

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An unburnt section

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Scrambling down a creek

We’d had an early start on day 5 as we were going across the tops on what could have been a long day. The going was reasonable, but we’d been looking for a campsite for a while with no options coming up. We were pinning our hopes on a permanent waterhole marked on the creek we were descending. When we arrived at the waterhole it wasn’t quite the picturesque camp we were hoping for. Having been walking for over 8 hours we weren’t keen to walk much further. It wasn’t too bad; there was some sand we could flatten out to sleep on and the water was ok if you cleared the scum off the surface….

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Potential camp on night 5

I had a bit more energy left then most of party so I decided to push on another hundred metres. To my joy and amazement what had been an exclusively bouldery/rocky creek, with little surface water, suddenly gave way to large rock slabs with running water and even some waterholes big enough to swim in! Amazing. Everyone was pretty happy.

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Tom at the lower waterhole which was deep enough for some water jumps

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Our amazingly comfortable campsite for night 5

Day 6 we didn’t have much distance to cover but we were expecting difficult terrain. The terrain didn’t disappoint, we spent 5 hours covering 5km (including breaks). The worst of it in ‘tiger country’ where we were going about 0.5km/hour through deep spinifex and boulders. We were pretty happy when we got to Garimbu Creek and our food drop. When the food drop had been hung in the trees at the start of the trip one of the bags had rolled off a boulder and got a couple of tears in it. We were a bit concerned that this may have made it vulnerable to animals, but while there had been some gnawing the animal seemed to have mainly had a penchant for plastic bags. The only food casualty was a twiggy stick (salami).

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Our food drops hanging in the trees as we had left them 6 days earlier.

go to part 2

Russells Needle & Rocky Waterholes Creek (2017-05-13/14)

I wanted to put a trip on our bushwalking club’s program and I was searching for inspiration when I stumbled across Tom’s list of ‘future walks he’d like to do’. Russells Needle was on it and from there I had the seed for my trip planning. I’d read a couple of trip reports about sketchy ascents of Russells Needle but I figured it was an out and back so if things got beyond people’s comfort level they could just stop! Planning a route out Rocky Waterholes Creek seemed the obvious choice to avoid backtracking. I found a few more sketchy trip reports of people trying to go up Rocky Waterholes Creek so it seemed like a great adventurous option. And thus it went on the program – all pretty unknown.

In the two weeks leading up to my trip I received quite a bit of information regarding the ascent of Russells Needle and also exits out of Rocky Waterholes Creek. While it is great to have information suddenly it didn’t seem like so much of an adventure!

Saturday morning arrived and 7 of us set out from the Wattle Ridge Carpark. With another bushwalking group also setting out at the same time we had to use overflow parking spaces. The weather was beautiful for walking and it wasn’t long before we were dropping packs at the track junction with Slott Way and the Ahearn Lookout track. We took the opportunity for a side trip to Ahearn Lookout so everyone could get expansive views of the Nattai Valley, and particularly our target for the day – Russells Needle. Russells Needle is an unusual sandstone spine which sticks out into the Nattai Valley, a knife-edge ridge separated from the main cliffline by a deep saddle.

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Tom & Jo looking out over the Nattai Valley

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Matthew enjoying morning tea

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Tom looking towards Russells Needle and Mt Jellore

Back to our packs we made quick time down Slott Way which was (too?) well marked with pink/yellow tape and blue metal markers on what felt like every second tree.

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Tom & Matthew at a lookout half way down Slott Way

The Nattai is still fairly easy going after the floods which scoured it out in mid-2016. Lunch and our campsite was a large sandy bank on the Nattai not far downstream from Needle Creek. After lunch we set off with day packs to ascend Russells Needle. Prickly bushes (blackthorn?) made the initial slopes unpleasant and of course the group were constantly advising the leader that ‘the ridge over there looks nice and clear’ (they were ignored). Once we’d broken through that we were soon skirting the upper cliff line. It took a while to reach a break in the cliffline, which looked easy, though turned out to be a little less so. The rope was deployed for those that wanted it. This brought us on to the knife-edge ridge.

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Gaining the spine of the ridge to Russells Needle

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Jo on her way up with spectacular views up the valley

Now we were almost at the real deal – we picked our way up the rocky spine until we got just below the summit. Soon the majority of the party were standing on the summit plateau.

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Alan & Tom on the last exposed scramble (later discovered the unexposed route to the right of this section)

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Trying to coax the rest of the party up the final scramble

Some were more comfortable with the considerable exposure – Matthew lounged on the true summit rock for quite some time. After a decent period taking in the views and giving everyone who wanted to the opportunity to get to the true summit we started heading down. It was only then that I discovered the easy (unexposed) route up to the summit rather than the more exposed route we’d taken up the boulder.

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Matthew absolutely fine with the exposure on the true summit!

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Jo & Matthew on the true summit

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Looking down the northern spine of the needle

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Looking back to Tom & Jo from the summit

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Tom on the true summit

On the descent we took the ‘clear ridge’ that everyone wanted to be on during the ascent. I’m pleased to report it was just as full of blackthorn… Back to camp around 4:30pm, after picking up water from Needle Creek, we settled in for a pleasant happy hour and evening around the camp fire.

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Our campsite complete with views of the Needle!

Sunday always had the most unknowns – not least what the weather was going to do. The forecast during the week had oscillated between 0-3mm to 5-10mm almost daily. The most recent forecast was fortunately back to 0-3mm and Sunday dawned clear which was a good sign.

Away from camp at 8:30am we walked down the Nattai a few hundred metres before crossing over to Rocky Waterholes Creek.

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Jo crossing the Nattai

Similar to the Nattai there was significant flooding impact so the going was reasonable – as reasonable as it can be when you’re boulder hopping and scrambling. The creek varied between large boulders which were a full body work out to get around, flatter sections with beautiful pools (though only Matthew was keen to swim!), and some delightful cascades over rocky slabs. The clouds started building but other than a few drops at lunch we were spared, which was fortunate as some sections of the creek were slippery enough without extra moisture from above.

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Relatively easy going in the early stages of Rocky Waterholes Creek

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Mucking around with an unusual rock we found

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Tom & Melinda in a very pretty section of creek

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Near the junction with Iron Creek there was a shale (?) band of rock which made for some interesting colours

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Tom & Glenn near the junction with Iron Creek

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Melinda and Jo making their way up Rocky Waterholes Creek

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Lovely lunch spot – even a cup of tea for those that were keen

Shortly after lunch we hit the side creek at 625986 that we hoped to ascend. Alan had kindly scouted it for us during lunch and was able to confirm we could get up. I’m always a bit concerned about whether Alan’s routes will work for the whole party but he assured me he did it with his “Melinda hat” on. We scrambled up the true-left of the creek around a number of waterfalls and then bashed up from the true right to one of the many fire-trails that exist on the ridges in the area.

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Glenn & Tom making their way up the canyoniferous side creek

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Jo might be a little tired…

Those that were keen headed down the firetrail to the skinny ridge which pokes out into Rocky Waterholes Creek, giving spectacular views of where we’d spent most of the day.

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Alan & Tom enjoying the views over Rocky Waterholes Creek

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Lunch was somewhere down there

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If you look very carefully you might be able to see Tom’s red shirt out on the point of the ridge on the right. An interesting finger which extends out into the creek.

From there it was just an easy walk following firetrails and a track skirting the Wattle Ridge property. We arrived back at the cars at 4:30pm – no sign of an epic! An excellent weekend of adventuring in a lesser visited part of the world.

Canyoning after lots of rain (1-2 April 2017)

Katoomba had 535mm of rain in March 2017, 354mm of that fell in a 10 day period between the 14th and the 24th. Canyoners around NSW had been stuck inside for weeks watching and waiting to see when conditions might be safe to venture out. We had attempted to head out on the 18th but ended up touring the waterfalls of the mountains which were impressively full.

It wasn’t a great time to have just 3 weeks in the Blue Mountains for canyoning! Fortunately the rain finally abated and we were able to show Evan down one of the best canyons in the Blue Mountains, Claustral. Jarrah & Megan joined us for their first visit to Claustral as well. Tom & I had a couple of sleepless nights leading up to Saturday worrying the water might be too high. In the end Tom’s judgement that the water levels would be fine based on his experience of the canyon was right – it was a great day out. It was very dark so my photos didn’t come out particularly well – an easy culling process! Most of the ones below aren’t as sharp as I would like but they are the best of a bad lot.

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Approaching the Black Hole of Calcutta in Claustral

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Jarrah at the bottom of the first abseil

Check out the contrasting water levels from Tom’s last visit in 2014.

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Evan coiling at the bottom of the second abseil

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Evan abseiling the third drop

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Looking back to the Claustral/Ranon junction

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In the main gorge

Jarrah and Megan had to head home, while Tom, Evan & I camped at Mt Wilson on Saturday night. We woke to a grey, cool day. Perfect canyon conditions! Tom unfortunately wasn’t feeling great so decided to sit out Sunday. Evan and I headed to Lower Bowens Creek North Canyon. It’s a great canyon and while the water was up you can avoid abseiling in the main water flow.

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The start of the canyon

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Constriction getting narrower

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Looking back upstream

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Evan on the first abseil

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Looking back at the first drop

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Evan pulling the rope on the second abseil

Contrast the amount of water in the above photo with this photo of me in the same spot on a different trip.

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Swimming in the canyon

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Near the end of the narrows

 

Coorongooba Canyoning (2017-01-26-to-29)

After spending most of the day walking in we started our first canyon at 4pm. Smiffy had done it before but didn’t remember anything other than there being lots of drops. Time to be efficient then!

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Tom bridging after one of the early drops

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Tom about to reach another pool

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Tom on yet another abseil

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Smiffy below a drop as I investigate anchors for the next few drops

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Smiffy abseiling

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Smiffy above another short drop

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Looking back up as Smiffy abseils.

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Tom on the final drop

Normally I like my wilderness canyons to have no evidence of previous parties, but in this case with so many drops, some without obvious anchors I was happy to see anchors/slings in place! We were pretty glad to make camp while it was still light. The rain set in but the temperature never really dropped. It was a hot and uncomfortable night.

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Glad to have a camp cave as the forecast (which is correct) is for rain

On day 2 we climbed up a nearby tributary (with a bit of effort), and then descended another creek. We then pioneered an increasingly sketchy pass which is unlikely to be repeated given there is an easy walk-up ramp nearby. Finally we descended a creek that didn’t deliver any canyon but had a series of nice waterfall abseils.

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Tom ascending a waterfall

 

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Toni making her way up the next drop

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Toni & Smiffy climbing up another waterfall

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Smiffy abseiling in a different creek

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Tom abseiling

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Our afternoon creek had lots of lovely waterfalls but wasn’t really canyon

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Tom getting off-rope

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Another nice waterfall

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We got quite wet on this one

On Day 3 we moved on from our camp cave. Heading upstream we explored a couple of creeks, neither of which delivered much on the canyon front but again had some nice abseils. Finally we climbed out with full packs and headed over the tops, having a high camp above the creek we intended to descend the next day. Our objective was to have an earlier happy hour than the previous two days (not hard since I think the earliest we’d made it to camp was 7:30pm!). Even so we struggled to meet the objective, ending up making camp around the same time… but that was ok as Tom had promised day 4 would be a short day (more on that later).

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Nest morning while packing up camp I nearly stood on this guy! (assume it’s a death adder – it certainly wasn’t going anywhere)

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Thank goodness for Christmas shortbread that we could pack as last minute morning tea! (Thanks J&N&C&J)

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This creek had little more than one abseil. But it was a pretty spectacular abseil!

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Toni & Smiffy checking whether we are going to make it to camp for an early Happy Hour (unlikely!)

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More waterfalls

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Tom above another big drop

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Abseiling the big drop

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Toni on the final abseil while Tom sits on the log she’s abseiling off to keep it in place

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High camp on night 3. It was very warm night, fortunately not too many mosquitoes as I didn’t get into my sleeping bag all night.

Day 4, our final day, was 3km down a creek and then a walk back to the car… I just believed Tom and didn’t look at the map until we’d covered about a kilometre in the creek. I then discovered we still had another 5km to go! Chances of it being a short day. Slim. We made it to the end of the creek at 4pm, with at least 11km still to walk. A big thunderstorm hit which was a bit scary as the lightning was close, and we were pelted by hailstones. Made it to the cars at 7:10pm – earliest finish of the trip! Though of course we still had the long drive back to Sydney. A great weekend, if not particularly relaxing!

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Beautiful pools

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Tom abseiling

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Smiffy coiling the rope below our third abseil

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More beautiful rock formations

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Final abseil

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Tom doing a shoe clean-out just as the rain arrives. Not long later we were in the eye of a massive thunderstorm including mentos-sized hailstones.

 

Thunder Canyon (2017-01-21)

 

Tom led a great trip down Thunder Canyon. Thunder was spectacular, a really nice way to get into Claustral. We had perfect weather for the trip too.

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The party in the upper section of Thunder Canyon

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Jo ‘flying’ towards the main abseil (down the black hole)

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The first abseil in the canyon is pretty nice

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Tom above the second abseil (we used the same rope as the first)

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The canyon takes a 90°C bend in a pretty dark & spectacular section

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Canyon formation!

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Silhouettes in the dark section

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Srini in the canyon

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Lots of ferns everywhere

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Impressive walls

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More impressive constriction dwarfing Jon & Tom

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Sunbeams

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Nearing Claustral

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Tom below one of the downclimbs in Claustral

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Jo attempting (futilely) to avoid swimming in the upper section of Claustral Brook

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Claustral Brook

Blue Mountains Canyoning (2017-01-14)

Tom and I spent the day exploring a creek in the Blue Mountains.

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After quite a lot of creek bashing it finally starts looking like it could get canyon-y.

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Tom in the canyon

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Pretty canyon section

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Tom in the canyon

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It was an attractive canyon

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With interesting rock formations

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And some deep pools for jumps….

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… and slides

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Splash!

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Nice rock formation

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Heart Attack & Surefire (2017-01-7&8)

Normally as Tom’s birthday falls in prime canyoning season we organise a birthday trip but with the various trips we’d done over the prior couple of weeks we were feeling a bit tired. Fortunately Toni & Smiffy suggested the Heart Attack/Surefire double over the weekend so we got out despite our fatigue.

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Tom abseiling in a side creek

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Chris showing his flexibility on the classic abseil into Heart Attack

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Tom in Heart Attack

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The team wading

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Chris on a downclimb while Toni looks on

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Chris on an abseil before he dislodges one of the logs…

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Tom downclimbing

We had taken overnight gear which we stashed while doing Heart Attack. We didn’t have a firm plan on where to camp but the vegetation largely decided for us. This clearing on Deanes Creek firetrail was one of the few places where we could actually set up. It ended up being a relatively long day as the old firetrails leading to/from Heart Attack are very overgrown (plus too many photo faffers!).

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Chris relishing sitting down away from any scrub!

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Tom on the first abseil into Surefire

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Toni on the “hand over hand or 4m abseil”. A pretty tricky one to hand over hand! The abseil was made a lot of easier when I re-rigged the rope off a log above (rather than on) the edge of the drop.

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Tom on our third abseil, with the rest of the party looking on from the bottom

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Tom bridging to stay dry

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Toni on the final abseil. There were a lot more (substantial) logs here compared to 2008.

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Tom contemplating the grandeur of the constriction

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Smiffy on part of the exit

I was really interested in how I found the exit as the only other time I’d done it was in 2008. I had vivid memories of how much I’d disliked the two sets of trees you need to climb up to get out. I was hoping with 9 more years experience under the belt I wouldn’t find it so nerve-racking. The various “climbs” are tricky but I managed them all, with pack-on, so I was pretty pleased. Next time I just need to try and do them without aid (rope/slings)!

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And then a long firetrail bash back to the cars

We enjoyed the exit gully as it was shady and fairly easy going on what was forecast to be a 32C day. The firetrail was also reasonably shady so while the walk out was long it wasn’t particularly oppressive.

A great weekend out in the (overgrown, scrubby) bush.

Popeye Canyon (2017-01-04)

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Tom above the upper section

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Tom avoiding a wade

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Tom in the upper section

 

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After a bit of a creek bash we get to the lower section. Tom between downclimbs

 

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On a downclimb

 

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Canyon

 

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Tom wading

 

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First abseil

 

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Second abseil

 

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Awkward downclimb. I went left instead.

 

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Tom after a tunnel

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In the ‘Boori

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Pre-descent

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Post-descent

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Swimming in the Bungleboori (Dingo Creek)

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Looking up Gateway Canyon

 

Yarramun Canyoning (2016-12-26 to 31) – Part II

Continued from here

On day 4 we found a pass out of the main creek and had some easy ridge walking to drop in high up in a side creek. We had intermittent canyon for most of the day.

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Sue abseiling under one of many annoying fallen trees

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Smiffy abseiling into a pool

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Toni abseiling

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Toni on another abseil

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Sue taking the direct route

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Tom on (yet another) awkward start

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Smiffy negotiating even more fallen trees on an abseil

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Beautiful rainforest creek

It ended up being a fairly long day and there wasn’t much chat around the fire that night! I had a nap while Tom was cooking dinner. There was much discussion about what to do the next day. After writing off an option for a ‘mammoth day’ we settled on something hopefully a bit easier. So on day 5 we went looking for a pass out of the creek. Our heart rates got up quite high after I dislodged a large boulder while scrambling up a chute. Fortunately it was a wide chute and Sue and Smiffy had plenty of time to get out of the way. The pass eventually went but took quite a bit of exploring. From there we headed across the tops and dropped into another side creek.

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Toni & Smiffy in a narrow bit high up in the side creek

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Tom after descending the log. He failed to pose higher up while in a far more precarious position!

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Smiffy setting the ropes for start of the main canyon section

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Toni on the second abseil in the main canyon section

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Sue on the first abseil in the main canyon section

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Sue at the bottom of the second abseil

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Tom at the bottom of the second abseil

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Tom on the third abseil in the main canyon section

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Would you believe we’re in a canyon? Tom using a handline to get to the final abseil

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The dramatic final abseil

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Tom in the canyon

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Negotiating boulder block-ups in the main creek

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Dinner on the last night – “Japanese surprise”. I got the packet in the picture in my player’s pack at the World Ultimate Championships in 2012. No idea what is in it as all the labelling is in Japanese. But we needed something to mix with the plain beef & vegies that Tom had dehydrated. Oh, and it was best before 2013. Tom was dubious and made me leave it until the last night. As it turns out appeared to be something like tomato sauce. And we didn’t die 🙂

On our sixth and final day (for me, Tom & Sue anyway) we climbed out of the creek and headed across the tops. Somewhat on our route back we descended a written-up but infrequently done canyon. Followed by what we were now used to – negotiating lots of fallen timber in the creeks! Tom had thought this might be a short day, but we left camp at 7am and I retrieved the car at 6pm…

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Climbing a pass out of the creek

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Easier gradient!

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Tom mid-way into dropping into a deep pool

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There were a lot of yabbies in the creek. This one was lucky not to get trodden on!

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Tom on an awkward abseil (particularly awkward due to the full packs)

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Tom in the canyon

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Emerging from a dark section

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Sue fighting the current going upstream in the main creek we ended up in

We left Toni & Smiffy to camp for New Years Eve, while the rest of us fought our way out a pass. Apparently another party started up shortly after us but we never saw them – so I guess they weren’t moving quicker than us!

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Tom surveying the rugged country we’ve just exited

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The side-effects of 6 days in the bush. Three canyoners and three pairs of shorts of split up the back seam. Mine also lost most of the back right bum but a bit of sewing and some strapping tape repairs largely held for the last three days.

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