25/11/2005 - report
Participants: Tom Brennan, James Yorston
James and I met up at the NRB and headed up Bell's Line of Road with only vague plans. The weather took a turn for the worse as we crossed Bellbird Hill, with rain coming down and low-lying cloud and fog making driving difficult. It didn't seem like a good day for a wet canyon, so we pulled in at Mt Banks and assessed our options. King George (or Georges as Jamieson calls it) Brook Dry Section looked the best alternative, so we packed ropes, donned rain jackets and marched off up the road.
There was an obvious track for about 400m, but this petered out quite quickly after that, and progress along the ridge was pretty slow. It got slower when we tried to find out entry ridge. Despite resorting to GPS in the rain and fog, we managed to first be on the right ridge but think we were on the wrong one. This meant we first crossed the gully unnecessarily, then dropped back down to the creek, and finally fought our way back up to our original ridge when the creek turned into a fern wade. This ridge was a complete scrub bash, every metre being a battle with the banksias. Eventually we could see our side creek below, and decided to scramble down to it, a short, steep, dirty drop.
Despite there being slings on a tree in the creek, we bypassed a couple of drops totalling about 15m by sliding along a ledge, and made our way down to the main creek junction. After wandering along the pleasant creek for a while, we passed a large cave, and then what looked like a reasonably easy exit, matching the description in the guide. We ignored it as we hadn't been going long enough to reach the exit, and anyway, where was the canyon?! After pushing on a bit further, we reached a section of canyon. Finally! The creek went over a small waterfall, and through pools around the corner and out of sight.
There were not supposed to be any abseils so we searched for a way down. Despite plenty of dodgy moves on small trees and smaller ledges, I couldn't find a way in. I was just about to rig up a rope when James suggested that perhaps we had in fact passed our exit, and we were in the next section of canyon. We studied the map for a while, unable to pick exactly where we were. I managed to get a bit of a fix with the GPS which suggested we probably had passed the exit. So much for our "canyon". Another Jamieson special! Still, it made us keen to go back some time for a look upstream and downstream.
We headed back to the cave and had a bit of a fire to dry off and some lunch. The rain had mostly stopped by this point, although sun was too much to ask for. We scrambled up the steep slope to where it eased a bit, and then up through more scrub to the top of ridge, which involved some steeper sections with vegetative handholds that tended to come out when you pulled on them too hard.
From there it was a decent walk back to the fire trail, and from there around the back of Mt Banks back to the car. An interesting if somewhat unsuccessful day.