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South Wolgan Canyoning

30/11 - 1/12 2013

Participants: Rachel Grindlay, Tom Brennan

Almost 7 years after my failed attempt at Bigfoot Canyon I set off to do it for a second time. Things change a lot in 7 years. We didn't bother taking the Jamieson guide for one. We did ponder over how this canyon could be rated a 3 (given the access is not exactly straight forward). That I was questioning the rating rather than just blindly believing was one of the many changes since 2006. The other being that I no longer write trip reports because the 'normal' process of going through a canyon just doesn't seem interesting enough to warrant the detailed descriptions I had in 2006.

Tom and I had a similar experience in Zobels Gully compared to 2006 though we took a different route up the pagodas. Not sure why we chose our 2006 route - given we had to use a rope - on the 2013 trip we found a relatively easy (if steep) route up just round the corner. Tom and I set off to do another canyon on our first day so we didn't get to check out the oppressive ridge scrub I described from 2006. In general we found the ridges pretty easy going, and given there hasn't been a fire in recent years, we could only assume that the scrub hadn't changed too much. Which means my perception of it must have!

After a very pleasant night camping on Deanes Creek we used the Jamieson guide's Bigfoot exit route to get up on to the ridge so we could drop into Bigfoot. Like our 2006 trip we choose to go into the side creek and were met with a drop which required a rope. Tom and I tried to bash round and get in without using a rope but eventually we conceded and abseiled about 10m to get into the main creek. The information we had varied quite significantly - Jamieson had one 8m abseil and another source had the longest (of several) abseils at 26m! I was in the process of giving the 'points' decision to Jamieson after we'd done 3 less than 8m abseils and it felt like the canyoning was opening out. But then we arrived at a drop (and a bit more canyon) which was a bit bigger and from where we anchored it was at least 12m. You would be pretty annoyed if you'd come in with a 16m rope! We hadn't been expecting much in the way of canyon, mainly based on Dave Noble's comments on Ozcanyons so were pleasantly surprised by a relatively long section of not too bad canyon.