23/02/2008 - report - photos - Upper Wollangambe Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Jonathan Potts, Anthony Dowle

I had noticed a creek on a previous trip that looked worth checking out, and thought it would be worth a day to go and investigate it. We had been planning to visit Dumbano Creek instead, but the weather was going to be fairly cool and I had heard there was plenty of swimming in Dumbano.

Jonathan, Ant, Rachel and I set off fairly early and crossed a couple of creeks, climbing up to a ridge on the far side of the second one. It was particularly scrubby and unpleasant at the top, but thankfully that only lasted about 50m and it was excellent walking to where we decided we should head off to look for our canyon. Near the end of our side ridge I started looking for ways down into the creeks on either side, but couldn't see anything obvious. Right at the end of the ridge we stood atop a massive pagoda - with equally massive drops off all sides. Jonathan went scouting down and found a ledge which traversed some way back into one of the creeks, and after a bit of a scramble there was a drop of about two metres which we climbed down with the aid of a tree.

It was a short walk from there to our target creek. The creek had a few fun slides near the top, which were quite slick after all the rain. Further down we reached what looked like a swim, and as it was after 1pm we decided a stop for lunch was in order.

We suited up and dropped in to what turned out to be a very deep wade. A little more creek walking brought us to a short abseil into a dark, impressive cavern. I made a bit of a mess of the slightly awkward abseil, but the others had no real problems. The canyon opened out again soon after, but another short drop led us into more canyon.

An 8m drop soon awaited us, with no obvious anchor point. Our main options were to sling a massive boulder, or abseil off a large log which moved disconcertingly as I tried to dig out a hole around it.

However, as long as the rope was placed correctly the log seemed fairly well wedged, and we abseiled into another short but impressive section of canyon.

There was a little more creek walking but one final section of canyon still awaited us. This consisted of two more abseils separated by an awkward climb down.

Soon our creek joined a larger creek, which was also a canyon. We blew up lilos and floated on down. I managed to pop my lilo on a sharp rock after only five minutes. Rachel wasn't having much fun with the liloing so she gave me hers and walked, which was certainly quicker! It was getting late by the time we reached our exit point, and we deflated lilos and headed off back to the car. An excellent day of canyoning.

We treated ourselves to a dose of the 'Wicked Chicken' (from the Colonel) back in Richmond on the way home.