12-13/05/2007 - report - photos - The Dry Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay

After Lisa dropped out citing a cold coming on (or perhaps a late night dinner partay?!), Rachel and I drove up to the mountains at the crack of dawn. Leaving the car at 9:30am, we headed in along a trail and dropped into a canyon we had both visited before. It was tight and squeezy, but short, and we were soon at the end. No sooner had we pulled our ropes than I realised I had left my sunglasses at the top of the last abseil. D'oh. At least they were particularly old and crappy sunnies.

We climbed out a convenient exit and admired the view from a good lookout, and then headed up to the top of the hill. This seemed to involve much less bush bashing than previously.

From there we set off following the compass, and soon were checking out the headwaters of our next creek. Neither of us had been down it, but I had heard it had canyon in it. After a break for lunch on some impressive pagodas, we tried to find our way into the creek. This proved more difficult than first thought. All four tributaries we investigated, as well as all the spurs in between seemed to have significant drops, and I was keen to find a route in that we could reverse if necessary. We were about to return to one of the tributaries with a convenient clump of trees to abseil off when I found a route that almost got us down. One short abseil later (that appeared climbable if needed) we were in the creek. To follow the sunglasses, I almost forgot the map. Luckily it was at the bottom of the drop, not the top!

There was a bit of creek before we came to the start of the canyon. The canyon itself was nice, but not particularly spectacular. The slot was fairly open, and the creek was dropping pretty quickly, meaning you never felt very enclosed. We did six abseils of varying lengths, the last being about 40m down a massive slab. Obviously it doesn't get too many visits as we only found one sling (and no rapides) in the canyon. I was a bit worried about the pull downs on some of the drops (not about the friction, just the chance of the rope snagging on something, or pulling rocks down onto us) but we had no real problems.

Then it was a fun scramble down a bouldery creek and finally a long walk back to the car, mostly after dark. This was OK since the stars were out in force and Venus was giving a good display as well.

We were somewhat surprised to find a fire going at the car park, and a voice boomed out from the darkness, "Is that Tom Brennan?". I was at a bit of a disadvantage, but it turned out to be Rick Jamieson. We chatted for a little while and then headed back down the road to Barcoo Swamp to camp.

The next morning we got moving slowly and drove out to the Dry Canyon for a bit of a walk. It was impressive as usual, quite underrated in my book, I suppose because of the lack of abseils. There was a bit of a track out the other end to an excellent massive boulder with views out over the valley. I didn't remember this from previous trips. On the way back we both pulled out cameras and tripods and took a large number of photos.

Our plan was to have lunch somewhere on Bells Line of Road, but we had reckoned without Mothers Day. Luckily we were at the late end of proceedings and managed to squeeze into the Apple Bar for a wood-fired pizza. An excellent weekend of dry canyoning.