26/10/2004 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, James Yorston
Unlike Saturday, we had the entire car park to ourselves when we reached the end of the Waratah Ridge Rd. We headed to the 972 point and followed a faint track along a ridge for some distance. James: "Where are we?". Tom (with compass and map): "We are ... bugger ... we're on the wrong ridge!". Backtracking we quickly got ourselves on the right ridge and dropped down into the creek. A bit early as it turned out. Still, it was a reasonably pleasant creek to walk along before we came to the start of Four Dope Canyon.
The first drop was excellent, and we looked with trepidation at the cold pool in front of us. Luckily it was only chest deep. The canyon opened out shortly after. After a bit of pleasant creek, we had a few climb downs into another canyon section. Another abseil followed and then one more cold wade before the canyon ended. There was a bit more scrambling to the Bungleboori.
We headed upstream and had lunch on a large boulder in the creek, in the sun. We speculated on passes, before wading upstream through a rougher section to an easy pass.
At the top of the pass we decided that we had plenty of time and headed along under the cliffs and scrambled down to the start of Arch Canyon. James debated whether it would actually have any abseils and left his gear in his pack. After several scrambles he was looking pretty good and when we climbed down tree roots near a sling around logs it was certainly promising. But a slippery drop shortly after with only a possible high scramble to avoid made us pull out the rope.
The canyon finished and we got a good view of the spectacular rock arch that gives the canyon its name. Presented with a couple of dodgy options to climb on top, we decided on the safe path and just took photos from a distance. There was one more climb down at the end of the canyon and then we headed up the same exit and back along ridges to the car.
Despite being beset by dodgy drivers all along the way, we made it home safely. An excellent day of spring canyoning.