02/02/2006 - report - photos - Upper Bowens Creek South Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Owen Shepherd

I had received an SMS from Sacha suggesting that if we were coming up the mountains, to do a bushwalk rather than a canyon, as the weather looked pretty ordinary. However, I figured that if it was drizzling, we would be better off in a canyon, and so we headed up Bells Line via the NRB to Pierces Pass. Leaving the car in the top car park, we set off up the road and along a ridge on tracks that varied from the good to the very vague. The dripping foliage had us wet pretty quickly, and the water on the many spider webs made them both easier to spot but quite unpleasant to run into! The ridge soon dropped away, and we had the first view of our creek from atop a large pagoda. We decided to drop in straight away, and although the creek was rather scrubby, the number of people who had obviously done that before meant that there was a fair track. A couple of climb downs and scramble arounds brought us to the start of the canyon and the first drop.

I had done the canyon previously, but didn't really recognise the drop. However, my notes last time said that someone had done the slides, so we all did the two short slides to the bottom. Good fun! The next drop had changed - the dodgy rock pinch anchor had gone, the boulder jamming it in place broken, and we had to use the anchor further back. Luckily I had decided the longer rope was a better idea than just a handline.

Once in the canyon proper, we headed up Corkscrew Canyon for a bit of a look. Nice, but has anyone found the "corkscrew"?

Downstream the canyon was very pretty, as was the sandy creek weaving through the coachwood and sassafras forest. We stopped for lunch on a rock ledge, Owen excited by the yabbies fighting below us. After lunch we pressed on, dropping through a short boulder section into the next bit of canyon. Entry was through a hole in the boulder jam, although from the slings, others had abseiled. There were a few more tricky drops. Owen and I did a log slide which we used the rope on. while Rachel abseiled it. Unfortunately the rope jammed in the top of the log, but Owen found a route back up along ledges and freed it.

This section of canyon was long and spectacular, and while not as stunning as say Rocky or Claustral, it was definitely worth the trip. There were more yabbies in the creek than I have ever seen in a canyon, and a number were very large. There seemed to be two or three in pretty much every pool, and in a couple of places you had to be careful where you put your hand.

Eventually we reached the junction with Range Creek, and having had our fill of canyon, decided to press on to the exit. A few scrambles and a bit of walking later we were back at the fire trail, and from there headed to the road. The car unfortunately was at Pierces Pass. In the end we all walked to the Mt Banks turn off, and I dropped my pack and took the keys and went for a jog to get the car. On the way back we had a well deserved (although very average quality) KFC stop in Richmond. I think it will be fish and chips again next time!

An excellent day in the drizzle.