26/01/2006 - report - photos - Mt Hay Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Lisa McGinnigle, Sacha Vidler, Sarah Wentworth

After putting off Mt Hay Canyon a couple of times as I didn't fancy doing the climb out in the rain, Australia Day dawned fine, so Rachel, Lisa and I headed off to the mountains. We got a call from Sacha and Sarah on the way up. They had just woken up but talked themselves into coming. We met them at the Bakehouse on Wentworth in Springwood for milkshakes, coffees, and pastries ... except Lisa, who was unfortunately on a detox diet. No meat, no dairy, no sugar, so no milkshakes, coffees, and pastries for her!

There were puddles on the long bumpy road to Mt Hay, and there were two other cars at the car park as we pulled in at the end. Unfortunately they both had occupants getting ready as well. It was going to be a bit of a longish day in the canyon. I had briefly talked to the leader, Greg, of one of the groups on email, so was expecting them. Collectively though, we had done a pretty bad job of timing!

The unknown group headed off down into the gully, and we followed them. There was a bit of a wait at the first abseil, but they skipped ahead after that. We abseiled the last drop in the side creek unnecessarily, and then joined the creek proper.

Sacha was keen for a jump but despite checking at an earlier point where we pulled out the rope to hand over hand a short drop it wasn't deep enough. The abseil just before the main drop was into a deep pool, and Sacha, Sarah and I jumped it. Lisa almost didn't but a bit of peer pressure got her across the line. Since there was a bit of sun, we decided to have some lunch and let the logjam of groups clear. That gave us the rest of the canyon to ourselves.

The big drop had a decent amount of water going over it. Enough to make it interesting at the bottom where you got wet, although not dangerous. The rest of the canyon was fun, and then it was down and up to the exit. Greg hadn't done the canyon before and his group of two was following us. I led the exit on our static rope, and the rest of our group headed up after me, raining loose pebbles down a couple of times on the people below. Then it was up the gully and back to the car, with good views most of the way.

Rachel and Lisa took my car back to Sydney. I loaded my gear into Sacha and Sarah's car, and went with them to the Swiss Cottage in Katoomba for dinner. Then it was a bit of a ride on my bike in the dark down Hat Hill Rd to Duanne's place at Blackheath, where we pored over maps for a while before heading to bed. An excellent day of canyoning.