11/04/2004 - report - photos - Devils Pinch Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Gill Fowler, Bec Chivell, Fiona Crane

After an all day climbing experience the day before, I needed a break, and Devil's Pinch was the go. Fi, Bec, Gill and I headed off fairly late for the Pipeline Track, although the others had a good head start after I left my GPS sitting on the roof of my tent back at the campground.

We passed part of a large group on the way to Pipeline Canyon - the rest of the group was already at the lookout when we got there. They mentioned that another part of their group was on their way to do Devil's Pinch too.

Once we turned off the Pipeline Track, the fires of previous years meant that the track was a lot less defined than before. We still managed to do well with navigation, dropping into the canyon just as the cliffs started on either side. A couple of minutes walking brought us to the big drop, where the other group was harnessing up. We contemplated doing the drop in stages to avoid getting caught behind the other group, but decided to wait. A good decision, as we didn't see them again that day.

The first abseil is a beauty, down several stages, finishing around a bend, or climb down the last bit. All too soon that section of the canyon was over, the deep slot opening out into a wider gorge with coachwood trees. After some gorge walking, the creek started to drop through boulders and narrow before a drop into a shallow pool. The water was pretty murky, which set the scene for most of the pools along the way. Fiona and I tried to avoid getting wet by bridging and scrambling all of the pools. Gill was unfortunately at the front, and testing the water for us, so to speak. As a result, she ended up swimming a couple of times. I managed to stay dry above the waist, which was good as I had my camera hanging around my neck.

Finally we reached the main drop, another beauty of an abseil. The canyon section below here was as good as you will find, deep, dark and spectacular. It goes for quite some distance before slowly opening out into a narrow high-walled gorge. After opening out a bit further, there is an interesting fifty metre abseil in two stages that we decided to do. I thought we wouldn't have time - before realising that my watch was still set to Thailand time!

A messy scramble down the hill to the Wolgan, and a reasonable walk along the side of the creek brought us back to the road. Passing the Coke Ovens, we could see the two Andys on the top of the Lower Cliff abseiling off, and we waved and yelled at them on the way back to the car.