23-24/10/2004 - report - photos - Tiger Snake Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Gill Fowler, Tania King

Having been on the plateau earlier in the week, I knew the Glowworm Tunnel Road was in pretty bad condition from all the rain and 4wds. Tania left her car at Zig Zig and we all piled into mine. As we were leaving, there was a quite a bunch of people meeting at the turn off, including Rik and Martin, who were doing separate trips. We chatted for a bit, and then headed out to do Tiger Snake.

Since Tania and Rachel hadn't done much canyoning, I was aiming to do Tiger Snake first but 5 cars already in the car park meant that looked a bit unlikely. When we reached the start, there was one group already there, and two others in front moving very slowly. We had a quick council of war, and back tracked to Crooked Crevice. It was most enjoyable, with some nice abseils, and several very tight twisting sections before the last longer abseil down the waterfall. We climbed out quickly and had lunch on a spectacular pagoda with great views. It was nice to see the intact ironstone edges on the pagoda, particularly given how large some of them are, unlike those on the Tiger Snake exit track.

It was a bit of a bush bash back to Tiger Snake but we had the canyon to ourselves, despite some calls of "cooee" from somewhere down the valley. Despite the rain the water level was still only knee deep in the usual place. We abseiled one of the drops in the top section before the nice overhanging abseil at the end.

In the second section we climbed above the canyon and down on to the bridge of rocks and dirt about half way along. Gill and I cut away three of the four slings, which were all dangerously worn. All of us managed to get into trouble on the abseil, with Tania and I both swinging upside down and Gill and Rachel getting their hand stuck under the rope. Despite these minor hitches, we explored up through the arch before wandering out to the daylight. The sun was low in the sky by the time we climbed the pagoda on the exit track, and we marvelled at the garden of pagodas that surrounded us.

We got back to the car at sunset and I dropped Gill and Rachel at Barcoo Swamp before driving Tania back to her car at Zig Zag. Forty bumpy kilometres later I settled down to cheese, bickies and red wine around a small fire, for a stir fry of noodles.

It rained a bit during the night, and was foggy in the morning, so we headed off to visit River Caves. The walk in was enjoyable, down a pleasant creek flowing between pagodas. There were literally hundreds of waratahs in flower, something I hadn't seen before (the hundreds, not the waratahs!). When we hit the main creek, it quickly headed into the canyon. It was spectacular - big overhanging walls above a wide stream. We spent quite a while taking a lot of photos that really needed a bigger tripod to turn out better.

On the way back to the car we removed quite a number of cairns that really weren't needed for an obvious ridge. We headed to Katoomba for lunch to be confronted with thick fog, and a large storm. Rather than have lunch down at Echo Point we retired to a cafe and watched the rain come down in relative comfort. A nice weekend of canyoning.