31/12/2003 - report - photos - Mt Hay Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Gill Fowler, Andy Wilkinson

Since I had to work the two days before New Year's Eve, I drove up in the morning, through a sleep haze, to meet Gill, Andy and Jamie Turner at the Fortress Creek car park. Turned out they'd camped a short way from there the night before. Jamie had a sore back and was heading back to Sydney so it would just be the three of us for Mt Hay Canyon.

After driving to the end of the Mt Hay Rd, Andy and I put Gill in charge of navigation for the trip, and made her lead. A bit of debate about where to start, but we eventually just followed a track from the car park down to a small creek. Crossing a swamp, we scrambled down the top cliff line and then did a few short tricky drops to reach Rocky Points Creek, home of the canyon.

We wetsuited up fairly soon when we reached a chilly swim. Another drop and a scramble and we were at the top of the main abseil. I was a bit surprised as I had thought it would be deeper, darker and more difficult than it was. There wasn't that much water, so I guess that would make a difference. I headed down to the chockstone, which likewise ended up being bigger and less slippery than I thought. You could probably fit four people on it without too much trouble.

Having heard tales of rope jams, I dropped the rope down behind the chockstone for an easier pulldown. It was pretty easy to avoid getting wet, and a nice abseil to boot. At the bottom we had a couple of swims and jumps/climbdowns before the canyon opened out. I was surprised that it ended so quickly - it had been rather short.

We had a bit of a creek walk to the final drop, and then we stopped at the bottom for lunch. After lunch we headed around under the cliffs looking for possible passes up. There was a fairly obvious track, which took us up on to the ledge where the climb starts. It took a lot less time than we had thought from reading the guidebook. The ledge was rather exposed - not a good spot to slip. Andy led the climb, which was relatively straightforward, apart from us having a heavy pack, no climbing shoes, dusty holds and one rather large, loose hold.

It was pretty easy from there back to the car. We had a stop for a lookout at the top, where we could see back down to the creek and canyon, and then headed back along the track, assaulted by flies the entire way.