06-09/04/2012 - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Richard Pattison
For Easter, Rich, Rachel and I headed up to a different part of the Coorongooba area to where we had been on previous trips. I had a niggling foot injury, so was keen to base camp and keep within striking distance of the car. We set up a base camp on a ridge and descended 7 canyons, all of them new to us. While every creek we checked out had canyon in it, the canyons were generally not that great. Access to the canyons was fairly easy, as the ridges were mostly open and pleasant walking, with only a few scrubby sections.
The weather was very warm for the first couple of days, though it cooled down on the third day after a thunderstorm blew through.
Rachel also has pictures from this trip.
- Day 1 - after driving up from Sydney, we walk in from the car and leave packs on a ridge. We head down our first canyon which is pleasant, but with no abseils. After lunch, Rich and I check out another creek from the bottom. This one has a spectacular section of canyon, deep and dark. Rich manages to reverse one waterfall but the way is blocked by a larger one. We also check out the next creek downstream. Unfortunately this one is blocked by a large waterfall, so we are unable to investigate further. We manage to find a pass nearby, probably the only one in the close vicinity, and make our way back to the packs. We set up camp on a nearby open ridge. Unfortunately there are quite a few mozzies, that hang around after dark.
- Day 2 - despite some thought of moving further afield, my foot is proving niggly, so we settle on some exploration of more side creeks. Rachel decides to have a day in camp, while Rich and I head down the first creek. Rich has managed to climb to the bottom so we know the first section is not long. The first abseil has a few surprises. A small snake which I think has disappeared, falls on me as I descend, and lands on a ledge. Rich, in trying to avoid the snake, pulls the small tree anchor partially out of the rock and slips, though recovers. The snake makes a rapid descent and somehow manages to slip past me. Rich completes the rest of the abseil, while we hear the snake complete the rest of the canyon. First descent to the snake? We continue through a lower section of canyon that is fairly open, and reach the cliffs above the main creek. Deciding to check out the next creek, we reverse this section and force a pass up and over the ridge. The next creek has a few drops, but no continuous canyon until near the end when there is a short, pleasant canyon with a few abseils. We scramble down to the main creek, and walk up to the pass we found yesterday. On the way out, we check out the top section of the second creek from yesterday. It also proves to have a narrow section of canyon, but it is fairly late in the day and we head back to camp. Happy hour is at a great lookout, and the gusty breeze keeps the mozzies at bay.
- Day 3 - we head a little further afield and descend into another creek. It drops into a short but pleasant section of canyon that ends at a creek junction. After exploring a side creek, we continue bashing our way downstream until it is fairly clear that there is no more canyon in the creek. After a break for lunch, we climb easily up the ridge to some excellent views. A bit of scrub brings us back on the open tops. Rich is keen to descend one of the creek we checked out previously, so we take a detour with packs on the way back. The rumble of thunder sounds ominously in the distance. We quickly make our way into the creek and down to a section of canyon. The second drop is into a massively deep, dark slot, and despite thinking the drop will only need one rope, Rich descends to find it about 6m too short! I tie off the second rope and Rich does a rope transfer to get down. The thunder continues to roll, with rain beginning to fall as Rachel and I descend. The canyon is very impressive. One more abseil follows, though we know this is the last as Rich recognises it from two days earlier. The storm hits with a vengeance, and we wait it out in the shelter of the canyon. We make our way back to camp via the first canyon of our first day.
- Day 4 - we pack up camp early, and are in our first canyon before 9am! It has a couple of nice abseils, but ends shortly afterwards. Leaving our packs at the bottom of a pass, we scramble around into our next creek, and walk some way down to a drop. This canyon is less impressive, though both drops have dodgy slings on them. The canyon ends quickly, and we make our way back to the packs via a large overhang with an aboriginal hand stencil. After morning tea in the cave, we make our way slowly down the creek and ridge to the car. On the way out we say farewell to the landowner and head to the Capertee Pub for lunch, and then enjoy the Easter traffic on the way home!