15/01/2005 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, David Noble, John McGrath, Nick Simpson, Rik Deveridge
From Dave Noble
Three photos from the trip are on-line
At the end of 1999 - a group of us from the club (Don Cameron, Ashley Burke, Justin and Stephanie Blows and myself) had been on an exploratory trip into a section of the Northern Blue Mountains and we had partly explored a creek system. On that trip we had been blocked by canyons on several tributaries of the creek system, and managed to climb around another of the canyons and then out onto the ridge.
On this trip - Rik and Tom and myself planned to explore that creek system more fully and then check out some other creeks nearby. We were joined by John and Nick who came up from the ACT.
On the Friday night, we set up a base camp at a nice grassy spot. We set off with daypacks on Saturday morning. The first part of the walk was along a closed off firetrail, then we clambered up slopes and under clifflines towards out first creek system. The day was turning into a very hot one - and we all looking forward to cooling off in a cold canyon.
As we went up the creek, we checked out some short sections of canyon in the side branches. Further up - we came to the main section of canyon. We scrambled up through a nice section of canyon and came to a short slippery waterfall. With the aid of a log, we managed to climb up and then found ourselves in a nice canyon grotto and were able to refresh in a plunge pool. Above this was an large unclimbable waterfall. Further down the canyon, Rik and myself had noticed a possible way up, and so we descended back to it - and managed to clamber up a steep and extremely narrow chimney-crack and gain the top of the waterfall. The creek now split into two more branches - they each unfortunately had only short sections of canyon in them.
So we went back downstream, and found a cool cave in which to have a lunch stop. Then it was back up yet another branch. This was the one we had climbed out of in 1999. I knew it had canyon in its lower part. And on the 1999 trip - we had also climbed into the top of the creek after water and a campsite. On that trip we found good water, and a nice camp cave and also a large carpet snake. Not far below where had found water - the creek went into canyon, so there was a long section of unexplored creek in-between that may be canyon. Sure enough, it began with a nice canyon section that we managed to climb up with a bit of difficulty. Then the creek opened up. We continued going upstream - through the occasional poor section of canyon - all the way to the headwaters. it was a nice creek, but not a great canyon.
In terrible heat, we made our way along the tops and and climbed down into a major tributary of another creek system. All the other of this system's tributaries had been checked on SUBW exploratory trips in recent years - and some quite remarkable canyons had been found - so we had very high hopes for this particular tributary. Also- the high temperatures induced us to seek out the very coolest swims we could find.
The creek provided very pleasant and fast walking down open slabs. In a few places - it teased us by dropping down waterfalls into a short slots - but true sections of canyon eluded us.
Late in the day, we found ourselves back on the fire trail. Before returning to the campsite, we cooled off by "swimming" in a nearby river.
We were all quite tired from our long day when we did make it back to camp - and the beers from Nick's esky were very welcome. We sat around camp and were treated to an impressive lightning display - but apart from a few drops we had a hot dry night. Next morning, it was well over 30 by early morning - so we sat around talking about possible canyons we could do nearby. The thought of more exertion in that heat was off-putting - so we packed up and headed down the mountains.
At Wentworth Falls, we did stop for an hour or two and do a quick trip through Empress Canyon. At least it was nice and cool. Then we went back to the Grand View Hotel for a few beers and dinner.