Kanangra Main is a spectacular trip descending one of the steeper gorges of Kanangra-Boyd. It starts with several pitches of abseiling beside the 150m high Kanangra Falls, in Kanangra Creek, and continues down numerous smaller falls, mostly in the 40m range.
Kanangra Main is a serious undertaking, especially in wet weather. The quartzite rock becomes extremely slippery and scrambling is much more difficult. In high water, some of the abseils become quite dangerous. All party members need to be experienced abseilers, and it is advisable to have done some of the less difficult Kanangra canyons previously so that the slippery rock and scrambling is familiar.
From the car park at Kanangra Walls, walk back up the road 600m. Take a track to the right that leads down across Kanangra Brook and up around the right side of Kittani Top. As you near an obvious head, the track forks. Take the left one, which becomes vague, following the top of Kittani Rim around to above the top falls. Head down to the point to the right of the falls to where you can see a small waterfall just before it flows over the edge. Scramble down a short exposed gully and left to ledges below the first waterfall, where you will find the first set of anchors.
The first three abseils go down the main face to the right of the falls. There are a number of options for anchors depending on your rope lengths.
The first abseil is from bolts and slings, and is about 52m to a small ledge. If you only have 50m ropes, there is a ledge about 10m from the top with bolts and slings that can be used as a rebelay point for a shorter abseil.
The second abseil, also from bolts and slings, is about 40m to a ledge between a large pinnacle and the main face.
The third abseil is about 48m into a pool. There is an alternative anchor off small trees about 15m down from the top. If you want to avoid the pool it is possible to traverse right (facing out) on the rope along a narrow ledge about 8m above the water to another anchor point for an 8m abseil. This may make it more difficult for subsequent abseilers, and for the pull down. There is also an anchor about 10m up from the pool that goes straight down the falls.
The fourth abseil is 25m from the right hand side of the pool, into another pool. There is also an anchor on the left hand side. From the bottom of this abseil, it is possible to escape up the gully to the side.
It is a short walk to the fifth abseil, which can be done from anchors on either side of the falls. It is about 47m, finishing on the right hand side.
A scramble/swim and short walk leads to the next drop, which involves an abseil of 12m or possible scramble down to the large chockstone. From the chockstone, it is a 9m abseil from bolts on top, or continue from the previous abseil down through the hole - pull down might be difficult. Alternatively, do a 7m jump from the top of the chockstone. The water is not particularly deep, so be careful.
Another short walk leads to the next big drop, which is done in three parts. Abseil about 15m from slings on the left across the falls to a set of bolts and slings on the right. Then abseil about 40m down the right of the falls to a big greasy ledge. From the ledge, there is a 17m abseil from a somewhat dodgy setup involving a piton and bollard.
A short walk again gets to the next abseil, which goes from slings and bolts on the left, about 45m down a slippery waterfall. An alternative anchor can be found around the big boulder on the right, which can avoid the pool/waterfall.
Another scramble or swim gets you to the next waterfall. This can be scrambled around on the left, though someone has set up an anchor on a tree fern(!?).
The next waterfall is abseiled from slings around a tree on ledges on the left. It goes straight down into the pool. There may be a drier route if you scramble further left.
The final waterfall can also be scrambled around on the left.
From here it is about 40 minutes of rockhopping and scrambling down to Murdering Gully, which is the gully leading up to the saddle between Seymour Top and Mt Kanangra. Climb Murdering Gully, and then up spurs on the left when the gully gets steep and overgrown. Traverse right near the top to reach the saddle between the walls.
- Difficulty: H
- Abseils: 11-15
- Longest abseil: 55m
- Quality: NA
- Time: One long day
- Distance: 6km
- Ascent: 520m
- Wetsuits: Recommended
Tom Brennan : firstname.lastname@example.org : updated 2009-03-21