20/03/2005 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, David Noble, Chris Collier, Clare Ly
A buck's night before getting up at 6am to go canyoning is rarely a good idea, and I was tempted to smash my alarm when it went off. Instead, I jumped in the car and drove to meet Chris, Clare and Dave out on the Glowworm Tunnel Rd. They had been canyoning the day before and had camped at Barcoo Swamp the night before. I had just had my car repaired after an accident, and on the way came within a metre of needing more repairs after a couple of kangaroos tried to commit suicide on the front of the car.
We headed out on fire trails, and left the cars at a junction. We walked down more old fire trails - of which there appeared to be quite a lot in the area - along a ridge and down to our canyon near where the cliffs started to close in. We harnessed up at what looked like an abseil into a deep pool, but turned out to be a climb down into a chilly waist deep (chest deep for Clare) section.
The day was quite cool, except on the few occasions when the sun came out. The small creek was quite overgrown with ferns, and required a bit of pushing for progress. The first abseil looked like it was into a deep pool, but after fighting through ferns to get started, the pool ended up being only waist deep. Unable to pull the rope through, I got Chris at the top to rerig off another tree, from where it came easily.
Some more scrabbling brought us to another drop, anchored off a large tree fern. It went down to a small pool, and over a lip out of sight. Dave went down first on the 40m rope, unable to see even from the lip whether it would reach. Luckily it was spot on, although the pulldown was a bit tricky. There was one more drop, anchored off a small rock jammed in a crack, which made Chris and Clare nervous, and then we were at the end.
After a small fire to warm up we headed around under the cliffs looking for a pass. Some fairly exposed scrambling got us to a point at which it would have been unpleasant to reverse, so we pushed on. One more very exposed pitch got us through the hard bit, although Chris decided to take the sensible option of abseiling back down and looking for an alternative pass.
Unsure of where Chris was going to emerge, Dave, Clare and I looked for a pass back down. I headed down a gully where a couple of short scrambles got me to the bottom. I could hear 'cooees', but they seemed to be some distance away, so I headed back up. It turned out in the time I had gone down and up, Chris had found another pass and was up the top. We picked up another fire trail, which took us back to the road. As it was after 3pm, we abandoned plans for another canyon, had lunch, and headed back to the Kurrajong Hotel for a drink. An enjoyable day out.