Category Archives: Canyoning

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.

Easter Canyoning (29 Mar – 1 Apr 2024)

I’m not sure I can remember a time in the past where Tom & I were both so unfit. Tom recovering from a bad ankle sprain in late January hadn’t been out much. And my excuse was much poorer – working (way) too much. Besides a quick jaunt down to Bob Turners in early January we hadn’t carried overnight packs since September last year. So we knew there was going to be a fair bit of suffering given we were not just carrying overnight packs… but 4 days of food, plus canyoning gear. Tom started off with 21kg and maybe for once he was carrying more than his share at the start?!

The Easter forecast was excellent for a weekend of canyoning, so there was no flimsy excuses for a last minute bail. We had a good run out of Sydney early on Friday morning. Lithgow McDonalds was the busiest I’d ever seen it – with every camper trailer, 4WD and general car in the vicinity there. The staff were exceedingly efficient and I was in and out with my caffeine before I could blink. We were walking shortly after 9:30am. Eventually taking a break when my shoulders just couldn’t take any more. We set up our base camp for the 3 nights, then had lunch and headed off to do our first canyon. It felt good to not have a full pack – but with a rope, harness etc the pack was still heavier than anything I’d been carrying of late.

Tom happy to be canyoning

Trying to remember how to bridge

Convenient log

We had thought we might get two canyons in, but we didn’t finish the first one until 4pm. So given our aforementioned lack of fitness we decided it was better just to head back to camp (still a far way away).

Unsurprisingly I slept like the dead and had to kick Tom into action at 7:30am. We were supposed to get up with the sunrise (which was only 7am) – Tom claimed he didn’t think it was light enough for the sun to have risen. A likely excuse.

So with a slightly later start than planned we were off on day 2. We weren’t doing anything new on this trip – everything had been done before, but for me at least, it was all more than a decade ago – so it may as well have been new!

Abseiling on day 2

Hopefully Tom remembers how to scramble!

We dropped into our second canyon of the day just as the sun was directly overhead. Very bad timing from a photography point of view – but given how quickly the sun was moving we decided to have lunch and hope that the glare had moved on by the time we finished. The theory almost worked… though maybe some sections we would have been better off keeping on going.

Narrow abseil

Colours are a bit Utah-esque

Tom abseiling

Base of the abseil

This put us in a good position to start out third canyon of they day in the early afternoon. With our relatively heavy packs (at least compared to previous trips) the various climbs were hard work. Particularly for Tom when he had to pass the packs up to me! We were glad we hadn’t decided to do this canyon the previous afternoon as I’m pretty sure we would have finished in the dark.

Can he get up?

Scrambling again

Awkward climb up

Eventually we topped out and were back at camp by mid-afternoon. I was glad I’d brought some reading material – it was very pleasant to settle down with a hot drink and a book. Later on we spotted gliders jumping around above us as dusk hit (we saw them all 3 nights).

Day 3 we had a somewhat ambitious plan. It was likely in trouble when we hit our first abseil of the day with no obvious anchors. Tom managed to toss the rope over a fallen log several metres above us which saved us trying to backtrack and scramble out. We didn’t remember doing this abseil previously – maybe we dropped into the creek further down?

Abseiling from a very high anchor on day 3!

Finding a way through the hole


At the end of the canyon for an early lunch we then had to decide on what the rest of the day held. Feeling our fitness limitations we decided a shorter day was a better idea and so headed up another canyon towards camp. The discussion then became about whether we should walk out that night or not – since we were both pretty clear that neither of us had energy for canyoning on day 4. The main argument for walking out that night was to miss the traffic on Monday – which was likely to be horrendous given Easter didn’t coincide with the school holidays this year.

Happy to be back in canyons!

Classic Coachwood chamber

As we got near the top of the canyon an awful smell of dead creature wafted down to us. We’d had something dead in the canyon the previous day – but it wasn’t very big, and so didn’t smell *that* bad. This was pretty awful – and the anticipation of finding it was equally bad. There’s nothing like a bit of bloated wallaby guts floating in the water to put you off your canyon. Fortunately (?) in this case the wallaby was not in the water but in a slightly wider section. But it was lying where we would have walked had it not been there. Tom was in front at this point, and while trying to avoid the carcass, managed to lose his balance and take a full tumble. Fortunately not onto the carcass! But still, we were right next to it for longer than we should have been while he extricated himself from his pack and managed to get back on his feet. Then the wind changed to bring the smell upwind with us. Gross.

Finally we turned a corner and we were free of the smell. Though we weren’t feeling that keen to drink the water we’d picked up – admittedly a fair way downstream from the carcass.

I led us up a steep slabby section of pagodas to a nice shady spot. Once we’d agreed (no arguments from either side) that we would not be walking out that night, then we were able to relax in the shade and enjoy the views.

Afternoon tea views

The next morning we tried to get away relatively early – but with a few hours walk out, and a few more hours drive back to Sydney, it was hard to avoid the peak of the traffic. That’s what you get when you’re too unfit to canyon on the final day! It was good to be back canyoning. And with 6 canyons over the weekend it doubled my canyon count for the season.

Bell Creek (11 Feb 2023)

The only other time I’d done Bell Creek from the Fire Station was 12 years earlier. And having now done it for a second time I would be included to go for the ‘complete’ version, unless you can’t work the car shuffle.

Tom at the top of a scramble

Bananas? No, waratah seed pods – lots of them!

This trip certainly reminded me we’d been doing a lot of ‘trade’ canyons this season, with very straight-forward entries. The approach took us the best part of 2-3 hours (depending on what you count as the approach). With a 30°C day forecast I was looking forward to getting into the water!

We faffed around getting into Little Bell Canyon, but eventually made it down.

Tom looking excited at the start of Belfry Canyon

Tom descending into Belfry Canyon

Phil jumped into the pool immediately below the climb into Belfry Canyon, whereas the rest of us decided to do the bigger jump into the next pool. Happy to cool down!

Gill choosing to get completely saturated

I’d not done Bell Creek without a lilo before, but the water temperature was pretty warm, and with extra flotation in my pack the long swims weren’t a problem.

Tom in the depths of Bell Creek

Emerging from another swim

Gill and Phil enjoying a bit of sunshine

Walking up Du Faur Creek

Where else would you rather be on a hot day but in a canyon with friends? Another great day out in the bush.

Ranon via Ranon Brook (4 Feb 2023)

I wasn’t at all surprised when Tom suggested Ranon for the weekend. A new abseil had apparently appeared so we needed to go and check it out, oh… and Jon and Lauren hadn’t done Ranon before.

My memory of last time we did Ranon via Ranon Brook was that we’d been out a very long time, as it was such a nice day we kind of just drifted until we realised it was 3pm when we had lunch. I had been talking up how it had taken 13 hours and so I was motivated to keep us moving on this trip to avoid that, particularly given we had twice as many people and a lot of abseils to get through.

The “new” abseil did indeed exist, previously large piles of logs apparently allowed you to climb down, but not any more! (The first photo “at the first drop” from our previous trip has me in the spot where Jon is in the photo below)

Tom on the “new” abseil

The rope decided to tie itself in knots for the second drop and so we took a while to get through that. As I was half way down the abseil I heard an almighty crack as if someone had a whip. I quickly looked around expecting to see a large branch or rock that might have fallen into the canyon. Instead I see Jon on the ground rocking and cradling his head. Initially confused as I couldn’t understand what had hit him, but he’d slipped over and cracked his helmet on the canyon wall. Fortunately after a few minutes he felt sufficiently ok to continue. In the meantime Lauren’s detective skills had found that Jon’s whistle (which was lodged in the side of his helmet) had taken the brunt of the fall and bits of it were shattered into the moss.

We continued down canyon doing lots of abseils – a pleasant change to have some awkward starts from using natural anchors. Many of the canyons we’ve done this season have been bolted and while I appreciate the placements make easier starts, it does take away some skill development and intellectual challenge. (Without getting started on whether bolts should be there in the first place!)

Tom in the canyon

We played it fairly conservatively and abseiled drops even if they might have been down-climbable – ostensibly because Jon was feeling a bit tentative. Though ironically he did one less abseil than the rest of us after deciding to slide/jump one of the drops.

Looking upstream

After morning tea at the Mistake Ravine junction and confirming we were all feeling good enough for another 8+ hours we pushed on.

Tom on another abseil

There was a relatively easy log descent – but on reviewing previous trips we didn’t seem to have to deal with this drop previously. There was a huge log jam behind the boulder, I suspect in the past you could get through underneath but currently it’s blocked up.

Alternate descending option

There was a pretty recent rock fall above the cavern at the start of the two-stage descent to the Claustral junction. The rest of the party made me very nervous by deciding to stop basically on top of them, none of the rocks had settled yet…. I was glad to move on.

Jon on the penultimate abseil in Ranon

Looking down the final drop in Ranon before it meets Claustral

Lauren abseiling

Just after we’d finished abseiling into Claustral I suggested to Jon we should move so that Tom was able to get out of the pool. The rope wasn’t coiled yet and the pile of it somewhat disguised the small pothole which Jon promptly stepped into. From the scream I was sure he must have broken something and when I turned around he was sprawled face first lucky not to have fallen down to the next level.

We had joked at morning tea about how given he’d managed to throw his dry thermals in a pool at the start, then with his slip, that we should probably exit before things got any worse…  Fortunately (?) his shin had taken the brunt of things and we were able to continue.

The occupants of the many cars we’d seen at the entrance had presumably managed to get through well before us. Other than a few voices drifting back we had the canyon to ourselves, and the awful, awful stench of a decomposing wallaby… which kept wafting downstream with the slight breeze.

Lauren & Tom in Claustral

We did catch the tail-end of a large group at the final abseil, and then caught them  properly at the end – I recognised a few ladies I’d met through the Women’s Canyoning weekends so we had a bit of a chat. We set off before them and didn’t see them again.

Fortunately my nemesis section of the exit climb went without incident this time round after getting my foot stuck briefly back in December. We caught up with another large-ish group shortly after that. We then stopped to pick up water so they went past, but we soon passed them again. I had to chuckle (a bit nervously for them) as we went past the second time and I overheard one of their party members saying “Right, we have two options, we can have another rest, or we can follow the people who know where they are going”. Oh dear.

We caught up with a third large-ish group at the exit gully. But despite overtaking those groups there were only a small number of cars at the car park when we got there – so there must have been a lot of other people in the canyon earlier that day.

In the end it was a 10 hour 9 hour 35 minute day for us (party members made me amend the time so as to not tar them with the slow brush!). And when I went back and checked our previous “really” long day had actually only been 10 hours 15 minutes.

Lauren declared it the day her new favourite canyon (not hard as she has a fairly small portfolio to choose from!). An excellent day out.


Kanangra Main (14 Jan 2023)

Kanangra-style canyons aren’t really my cup of tea. I’d much rather be in sculpted sandstone slots than on narrow quartzite ledges. Which probably explains why it had been 14 years between visits to Kanangra Main!

With 3 weeks of big hills in NZ (and a bunch of moving about on sketchy slopes) we were keen to use some of that fitness before it vanished again. We managed to pull together a crew of 5 at fairly late notice for a descent of Kanangra Main.

I expected we wouldn’t be the only ones out there with limited rain in the past couple of weeks and a brilliant weather forecast. There was a party of two heading up the road as we pulled into the Walls car park just after 7am. And then some more cars drove in as we were walking up the road a short time later.

Views on the walk in

The party of two were on their way down the first abseil when we arrived. I turned around to talk to whoever from my party was behind me only to find it wasn’t someone from our group! A group of 3 had caught up with us – they were clearly motivated to get in front of a group of 5 old farts and were quickly suited up and heading down. It was unfortunate timing as we were the only three parties for the day.

Someone’s here ahead of us

Since the wall was occupied we figured we may as well avoid the exposed gully and abseil down instead. It was a nice warm up on a low consequence drop!

Warming up (avoiding the exposed gully) [Our abseil 1]

We had to cool our heels at the top of the wall for a while as the party of 3 got down the first 52m drop. We had decided to split the first drop into two – 15m/39m. Tom & Jon headed down the 15m and set the longer drop. Then Smiffy & I went through with our second set of ropes to set the next drop.

Looking down the wall [Our abseil 2]

Smiffy abseiling to the pinnacle [Our abseil 4]

So far (not very) our sequencing of ropes and people was working out pretty efficiently. The group in front weren’t moving much faster as we kept catching them. Unfortunately getting to the pinnacle was about as far as our planning had gone with who needed to be where when. The wheels fell off the efficiency bus at the pinnacle when we didn’t send the ropes down as soon as they were available. You can tell the group hadn’t done much canyoning together/of this nature recently!

Smiffy leaving the pinnacle [Our abseil 5]

That left me & Smiffy with 4 of the ropes we were carrying, with the 5th set on the abseil, and the rest of the group waiting unable to set the next abseil. To compound matters when we’d pulled the ropes from the pinnacle one of the ends had been pulled downstream and caught in something in the falls. We couldn’t free it from above but fortunately Smiffy was able to abseil part way down, and free it before continuing on.

Smiffy abseiling down to try and free the rope stuck in the falls [Our abseil 6]

We were more conscious of which ropes needed to be where after that! Though there were less abseils directly on top of each other so sequencing was less important.

Smiffy abseiling again [Our abseil 7]

Toni abseiling [Our abseil 8]

After a bit of creek walking most of us used the in-situ handline to get down to the boulder where I set the 9m abseil. Toni and I rapped it – it’s somewhat awkward, definitely looked like going down the chute would be easier.

Jon jumped from the boulder, unfortunately I wasn’t quite ready with the camera, my photo just looks like he’s sitting on it… so it didn’t make the cut for the blog. I was expecting Smiffy and Tom to both jump as well, but the need to protect a camera (Smiffy) and a knee (Tom) meant they abseiled as well.

Smiffy swimming as Tom prepares to abseil [Our abseil 9]

Next up was Tom & my nemesis set of abseils. On our only previous visit we had spent 2.5 hours here, as Tom had needed to prusik up this drop as our ropes wouldn’t pull.

Tom abseiling [Our abseil 10]

This time things went much more smoothly, though the drag on the ropes for the 56m abseil made it hard work getting down.

Tom abseiling again, while the rest of they party look on [Our abseil 11]

Smiffy abseiling – the rest of the party tiny specks at the bottom [Our abseil 11]

The next photogenic drop caused much dissension as all the photographers wanted to get down the bottom. Tom was about as decisive as I’ve ever seen him by getting the rap set and going first. I sacrificed my photographic needs by going last – though my camera went down with Jon hence a photo of me on the drop!

Tom abseiling [Our abseil 12]

Me abseiling! [Our abseil 12] (photo: Tom)

I helped Tom with the rope pull for this drop – it was super hard work. I thought my arms were going to fall off by the time we’d finished dealing with the ropes. In the meantime Toni & Smiffy had bypassed the next drop, but since Jon had set the rope the rest of us abseiled it.

Jon swimming, Tom abseiling [My abseil 13]

Then we abseiled from the tree on the left, though Tom did go scouting for the bolts only finding the single bolt on the right.

Smiffy abseiling [My abseil 14, Smiffy’s 13th]

Finally I set the last abseil since Toni’s scrambling route on the right looked far too vegetated to be any fun. Though checking the notes later supposedly it can be scrambled on the left as well – I didn’t look very hard for a route down.

Tom abseiling [My abseil 15]

The rock-hop down Kanangra Creek was very enjoyable (well maybe for those of us who didn’t bash up our shins just before the exit) and we had great views of the walls. There is something to be said for taking your time through the canyon because then it isn’t so hot for the walk out!

Toni in Kanangra Creek

Tom & Jon in Kanangra Creek

We discussed our sequencing for the exit (somewhat in jest) but knowing that things would be a bit loose. Subsequently I found myself at the front following an initially fairly clear pad up the ridge. I lost the main route at some point and found myself traversing under a bluff higher than I should have been, though I was able to rejoin the more trodden route.

It was a lot less pleasant than I remembered from previous uses – I think post-fires it has changed a bit. However, all my clinging onto vegetation above large drops on the Dragons Teeth two weeks earlier had put me in a good frame of mind for this exit!

The Spires from some way up Manslaughter Ridge

Happy to be at the track at the top

At the top at 6:20pm I headed out to the lookout to wait for the others. We all had the mandatory visit to the lookout and eventually wandered back to the car park almost exactly 12 hours after we’d left it this morning.

It was great to be able to just drive back to (the very quiet) Boyd River Campground and dig into snacks. The other highlight was my clothes being pre-warmed from being in Jon’s car all day – like getting into clothes that have been sitting on the towel-warmer!

So many snacks consumed that we didn’t eat dinner. Eventually fatigue overcame me and I had to retire as the rate of yawning to not-yawning was way out of proportion. An excellent day and evening.

Blue Mountains Canyoning (10 Dec 2022)

The forecast was decidedly unsummer-like. A cloudy 19°C in Katoomba wasn’t inspiring but somehow I found myself agreeing to an exploratory canyoning trip anyway. I think because exploratory canyoning seems like it’s likely to be drier since there probably won’t be much canyon.

Anyway… a balmy 11°C when we left the car.

It wasn’t long to wait for some canyoning – pretty much where we dropped in was canyon. If I’d been happier to get wet I think we could have downclimbed the first drop, but wedging oneself in the water flow to get down was not a particularly attractive option.

Getting into the creek

The shallow canyon continued on and off for quite a way. There was often multiple ways around things. I tended to go for the higher (=drier!) route, while Tom was happier to suffer.

Short climb down

How are you going to get down from there?

Looks wet!

Hello down there!

Looking back into the dark section

more wet!

OK, maybe not that wet

I was going to climb around this section as well but Tom convinced me to go through it. Just over belly-button deep so I guess not *that* bad. My feet were already numb after all.

Another abseil

We went for an explore up a couple of the tributaries as well. At least that warmed me up enough to be able to enjoy lunch! Things had taken longer than expected so given there was a bit of Christmas shopping to be done I decided we would need to leave the rest of the plan for another (hopefully warmer!) day.

Beautiful section of more open canyon

Climbing out

A surprisingly good section of creek and good (cold) times were had.

Waterfall of Moss (4 Dec 2022)

I had thought I might make a last minute plan with some of the women at the Summer Slaydies weekend for Sunday, but that didn’t happen (and I didn’t try very hard), so I was left with just Tom as a canyoning partner for Sunday. Tom declined to make a firm plan before we went to bed on Saturday night, which didn’t bode particularly well for actually doing something the next day.

But we were both awake pretty early, and after farewelling Jo who was off to do Yileen (without a whistle – oh my), we agreed we should do something just to get some more fitness in our legs. So off we went to Waterfall of Moss. I’d only done it once before in 2009 so it was almost like a new canyon. Particularly given Tom only had the print out of an old version of his notes – which pre-dated his last visit… and at times it felt like were written for a different canyon! Not trusting the rope lengths from the dodgy notes we ended up rigging a bunch of the drops with our longer rope unnecessarily – which meant I had a dry rope at the end of the canyon.

Tom on the third abseil

Looking back up the arch and the third abseil

Tom abseiling

More of Tom abseiling

Is this abseiling?

The conqueror? (I think it’s supposed to be yoga?!)

Tom abseiling the Waterfall of (once was) Moss

As the water temperatures are still pretty chilly we’d taken wetsuits (in dry bags) through the canyon just for the 200m of Wollangambe. So my dry rope went into the wetsuit dry bag and stayed dry! We ended up having lunch at the Waterfall of Moss/Wollangambe junction while Tom wrote up all the changes to his notes – which of course we found out later had already largely been updated.

Swimming down the Wollangambe to the exit

Tom & friend admiring the views

Seas of flannel flowers are everywhere at the moment

Back at Mt Wilson there were still tents up everywhere – presumably drying out while their owners were off adventuring. We packed up and headed home via scones at Mountain Bells. An excellent three days of canyoning.

Claustral Canyon (3 Dec 2022)

We were glad to wake to clear skies and see blue sky and sun appear as the morning unfolded. Despite already being at Mt Wilson it seemed a bit of a frantic rush to get to the Claustral car park for 9am. James was already there waiting for us. I was pleasantly surprised when there was only 1 car that didn’t belong to our party at the car park.

We marvelled over the track work that had been done since we were last in the canyon – the stairs look like they would have been a lot of work. And then suddenly the manicured track vanishes and you’re on your own!

The canyon really does come upon you very quickly with the new entrance (though it’s not really very new any more).

James enjoying the water temperature

Jo jumping

It felt like we’d barely got going when it was time to set the first abseil in the Black Hole.

Jo on the first abseil in the Black Hole

Jo on the second abseil in the Black Hole

Tom on the second abseil in the Black Hole

Looking up the third abseil in the Black Hole

We got through those fairly efficiently, though my camera not so well. I was at the bottom of the third abseil taking photos when James came down – next minute I was being absolutely drenched from all sides. Not a great time to have the camera out of the dry bag.

Tom in a never previously seen before composition…

When we got to the Thunder Junction Jo, myself and my camera took advantage of the sun to warm-up and dry out, while James & Tom headed up Thunder. They were gone long enough that we declared it lunch time and had finished lunch by the time they came back.

A couple came past while we were eating lunch. The conversation was very short. “Ranon or Claustral?” “What time did you start”. And then they were off again. Maybe our lazing about made us unworthy company!

I enjoyed not having to get wet immediately after lunch, and by the time we’d made our way through the more creeky/bouldery section I was almost ready for a swim. Quite the contrast to how cool I’d been the day before in Bowens South.

James & Tom downclimbing

Tom abseiling

The end of the tunnel swim

I never seem to get any better at the main climb on the exit. This time I managed to get my foot stuck in the crack and required considerable effort from Tom below me to free it. The volley wearers seemed to have better luck with their more flexible soles. I felt slightly better when Tom also got his (non-volleyed) foot stuck – though he managed to unstick himself. Besides that the exit went without incident.

Admiring the views

Tom, Jo & I headed back to Mt Wilson and the hordes, while James headed back to Sydney. A great day out. Mt Wilson was heaving, not surprisingly as there was several organisations with events on that weekend. The spot we’d secured the night before ended up being a winner and we had a relatively peaceful evening – even spotting two Greater Gliders in the trees above us.

Upper Bowens Creek South Canyon (2 Dec 2022)

The forecast wasn’t that nice for Friday, and I had an appointment. But then Tom told me that he’d arranged to do Bowens South – which at one point was my most frequently done canyon (5 times between 2005-2010) but I hadn’t done it for 12 years. Some last minute scrambling with the appointment meant I could join the team on a 16°C cloudy day.

The team on the way in on a gloomy day

Jo & Lauren passing the time of day

Tom abseiling

Canyon formation

Lunch was a bit chilly and we were all glad to get moving again, particularly Lauren who was the only one in a spring suit.

Jo making her way through the canyon

Jo still making her way through the canyon 🙂

Tom, Lauren & Jo

The mystery hand

Lauren contemplating a jump

Surprisingly a complete submersion seemed to warm me up and the remainder of the canyon felt comfortable temperature-wise. It’s interesting how I had quite strong memories of the upper section abseils but little memory of the deep lower constriction.



The not so robust exit

I don’t remember what this exit used to be like – but Tom assured us it was a bit more robust than what we were confronted with. While we managed to get up easily enough it felt like it wouldn’t be viable after much traffic.

Yellow backpacks

Water Dragon Canyon (25 Nov 2022)

Between the problematic conditions of the last three summers (Bushfires/Covid/La Nina) and a focus on more remote/wilderness canyons in the the preceding seven years, I have averaged about 1 well-known Mt Wilson canyon a year in the last ten years. So to have done two in a month is quite something.

Taking advantage of a beautiful Friday weather forecast we revelled in the quietness of Mt Wilson on a week day. It was a gorgeous day to be out in the mountains.

Tom downclimbing the Wollangambe 2 entry

Fields of wild flowers

Tom on the first abseil (look at that clear water!)

Traumatic down-climbing

Tom on the second abseil

Impressive lower section

Nicely lit chamber

Final corridor before the ‘Gambe

Sunny lunch spot

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