02/01/2005 - report - photos - Hole-in-the-Wall Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Jonathan Potts, Gill Fowler, Matt Dowle, Duanne White, Liz Drummond, Megan Gamble, Ken Shepherd

After an introduction to canyoning in Twister and Rocky Creek, we headed to Hole-in-the-Wall for our final day of canyoning for the holiday. There were a number of cars in the car park, including a High'n'Wild van, and some more people turned up just as we were ready to set off. Nevertheless I was hopeful that the other groups would be far enough ahead that we wouldn't run into them in the canyon.

The first section of canyon was a good warm up. A few tricky bits of bridging kept most of us dry until a short drop towards the end had most people going for a deepish wade or swim.

When we got to the start of the second section of canyon, there were two groups queued up. The High'n'Wild group was at the front, and then a couple just behind. With a group of nine I was almost ready to suggest an early lunch while we waited for the backlog to clear. The commercial group abseiled the first drop while the rest of us jumped it. The girl of the couple took quite a while to do the jump.

The next bit had the Glowworm Tunnel in it, which took us a little while to negotiate with such a large group. The glowworms were in fine form, and the water in the dark section reasonably deep.

When we reached the next drop, the High'n'Wild group had gone, and the couple had just finished setting up. We settled in to wait for a bit. The guy (Cam) went down, but the girl had apparently only done abseiling practice the day before, and had very little confidence or experience. The start was a bit tricky with the log in the way. Matt and I had to coax her down, and she finally got to the bottom after a few false starts, sliding more than abseiling. Why he didn't stay at the top I'm not sure, as in my experience there should always be an experienced abseiler at the end (even in a party of two, I'd usually send the least experienced abseiler down first, as the start is invariably the spot where problems arise).

Once they cleared the area, we started getting all of our group down. We had a few inexperienced abseilers, including Megan and Ken who were on their first canyon abseil. However, everyone handled it fine, and we moved on past the hand-over-hand to the next drop. Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) the couple were there, with Cam again down the bottom and the girl struggling at the top. Again it took some coaxing from Matt and I to get her over the edge. Cam left his rope protector on a rock, and I picked it up, figuring we would catch them up a little later.

No-one had any trouble with the abseil, and we headed down through a good constriction past one more abseil to the Bungleboori. The Bungleboori here is quite magnificent, and we swam and waded upstream until we reached a sunny rock for lunch.

After our latish lunch, we tried to avoid getting wet in getting to the exit, and had to do a bit of scrambling to reach the bottom of the track. The walk back to the cars was uneventful, and we farewelled Matt's carload as we headed back to our camp at Barcoo Swamp for one more night.