26-31/12/2011 - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Richard Pattison, Andrew "Smiffy" Smith
On Boxing Day, four of us set off into the Coorongooba area for 6 days of canyoning. None of us had been into this part of the area before, so it was all new to us. The creeks we descended were all canyons, though of varying quality. In the upper sections of the creeks, where they were not canyon, they typically dropped over rocky slabs into pools, and this mostly made for easy and open walking. Below the canyon sections, the creeks were usually beautiful rainforest gorges, again with easy walking.
Other than on our walk-in day, where we had a thunderstorm and rain in the evening, the weather was mostly cool and partly cloudy. It drizzled briefly in the mornings most days, and cleared up a bit later.
Over the first seven canyons, we only found three slings for over 30 drops. Most of the drops had convenient tree or log anchors nearby, and we didn't need to place any slings for these ones.
- Day 1 - a latish start from Sydney, and we walk in to one of two campsites we used over the trip
- Day 2 - we walk in a bit further and set up camp. After morning tea, we descend two canyons, one on either side of a ridge, exiting up the ridge in between the canyon via an interesting pass. The canyons are not particularly good, the first being fairly long but open, and the second having a couple of sections which were good but very short.
- Day 3 - Smiffy is feeling sick and stays in camp. The other three of us head further in and drop into a creek. There are a couple of pleasant sections of canyon higher up in the creek, but the lower constriction is magnificent. It features numerous drops in a deep, dark constriction, mostly off jammed logs. After lunch, we locate a pass up the ridge. Rachel decides to head back to camp while Rich and I check out another creek. The section of creek we were interested in has a series of drops that look promising, but peter out, and we are able to walk around them all. At a creek junction, we have to decide whether to keep going downstream, where we know there is a long abseil, or head directly back to camp. It is after 5pm, but we decide to keep going. The canyon is good, with a few swims, and quite a few abseils. We have some difficulty pulling the rope down at the last abseil, but eventually manage, and head downstream to the same pass just after 7pm. Putting the foot down, we are back at camp just after 8pm - a good day!
- Day 4 - We move camp, stopping along the way to descend a couple of creeks. The first is long and committing, with a good constriction, including a tunnel section, followed by numerous abseils in a more open canyon. After finding a fairly straightforward pass, Rachel heads back to the bags and the other three of us set off down another creek. This is mostly walking until back near the main creek, where it finally drops into a short canyon. There are only two abseils, and we are soon out and back up the same pass to the bags, and then back to the same camp as for the first night.
- Day 5 - Rachel and Smiffy head back to the cars, while Rich and I stay on for another day. Feeling a bit tired, we aim for just one creek. This one is a pleasant canyon, though not overly constricted. We finish before lunch, and so try and explore another creek from the bottom. This one has a few waterfalls lower down, and while able to climb up or around three of them, we are only able to bypass the next by climbing up on to the ridge. Without any gear with us, we call it a day and return to our packs. A pass out is a little more difficult to locate than the previous days. It involves quite a bit of traversing on ledges, some loose gullies and a couple of exposed scrambles, but eventually we are at the top. We head back to the same campsite as for the previous night.
- Day 6 - With an early start, we head back along a ridge and drop into a creek high up. Again we find some pleasant, but not particularly spectacular canyon. What is surprising is that there are footprints and recent evidence of other people having been through. Once through the canyon there is a nice gorge, and then the creek drops steeply to a much larger creek. We manage to make our way down several waterfalls with some good route finding, but have to abseil the last drop. From there it is a few hours walk back to the cars. Talking to a couple of other canyoners at the camp site, it turns out their group descended the same creek a couple of days earlier.