27-31/12/2012 - photos

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Richard Pattison, Andrew "Smiffy" Smith

With an identical group to the previous year, four of us headed off into the Coorongooba for a 5 day canyoning trip. In practice it was really only three full days, since Rachel and I had just flown in from New Zealand the night before, and we had to be back in Sydney at a reasonable hour on New Year's Eve. Rich and Toni had been out in the area already for 5 days, so we met them near the start.

We walked in to a good ridgetop campsite and used that as our base for the whole trip, as it was convenient to the creeks we wanted to check out. All of the creeks were canyons, most of them fairly good. "That's almost a downclimb!" was the motto for the trip, as numerous dodgy looking drops were variously scrambled, bridged, or climbed via flimsy looking logs.

While the four of us were canyoning, Toni was doing day walks from the base camp.

Smiffy also has pictures from this trip.

  • Day 1 - Smiffy, Rachel and I have a latish start from Sydney, and we meet Rich and Toni on the road on the way in. We walk in to the campsite that we used for the trip on a hot and humid day. Rachel and I are fairly tired and have sufficient water, but the others need to get water, which they do by visiting a small canyon not far from the campsite.
  • Day 2 - we descend two canyons, one on either side of a ridge, exiting via convienient passes. The first canyon is good with some deep dark sections, and it goes on for some while, with some challenging bridging. The second canyon starts in a rainforest gorge, in contrast to the usual pools and slabs, but is more open and less impressive. There are numerous drops in both. Smiffy leads the way down the second canyon converting abseil after abseil into a scramble or downclimb, the rest of us following in his wake!
  • Day 3 - The plan is to start the day by redoing a canyon from last year, so I am contemplating sitting out the day as I'm feeling pretty sore, but we change plans to check out a new creek first. Rich's feet are bleeding from being sandpapered 7 days straight, but he limps on. The canyon is good with quite a number of separate sections. At one drop there is a pile of loose stones half way down, and Smiffy does some excavation, resulting in some massive splashes. After a reasonable number of abseils and a few swims, we reach a larger creek for a late lunch. Rachel and I opt to explore this creek while Smiffy and Rich head off to do a canyon that we did the previous year, but on a day when Smiffy was sick. Rachel and I wander downstream through a lovely gorge to a tricky waterfall, on the other side of which we find Toni! After a bit of exploring, I find a route around the waterfall, and Toni joins us for the walk out via an easy pass. It is late when we get back to camp, though this is no issue as it has been so hot that a late walk out is ideal. Rich and Smiffy beat us back to camp, though Rich's feet are in no shape for anything, and he plans to sit the next day out.
  • Day 4 - Rich is heard asking about strapping tape. The prospect of the other three of us canyoning while he is at camp is too much and he tapes his feet to buggery and dopes himself up on painkillers. We give him a light pack and he limps off with the rest of us for another creek system. The first canyon is pretty without being spectacular, featuring numerous log slides and log climbs, as well as a few abseils. At the creek junction Smiffy and I explore downstream finding a short canyon section before reaching another creek junction. Given we are planning on coming down these creeks from the top, we return to Rich and Rachel and head upstream to find a pass out over the ridge. The other side of the ridge is scrubby, and once in the creek, the thoughts we had of crossing another ridge and into another creek are forgotten. This is good, since after a bit of scrubby walking, we hit some canyon. Even better, we can explore the side creek we were considering coming down from the bottom - and there is no canyon. After a quick lunch we continue downstream into a great deep section of canyon. One drop has a cold looking pool at the bottom, and we walk along a bit further and do a long abseil that combines a few drops. There is more abseiling, and the canyon gets deeper, darker and more impressive. Eventually we reach the creek junction that Smiffy and I reached earlier and head downstream through more easy canyon. After a while it opens out into a beautiful rainforest gorge, which keeps on going. Just as we are wondering if we will end up in the Colo, a steep pass appears and we scramble out and walk back along the ridges to camp. Toni is not there when we get back, and we worry for a while, but she arrives back from her walk before dark.
  • Day 5 - we get moving fairly early to try and beat the heat, though it doesn't really work. We make it to Cyrils Rocks for a hot morning tea and enjoy the panoramic views over the wilderness. Then it is a bit of a slog along the fire trail and back to our car at the top of the hill. Milkshakes in Kandos are the order of the day before we part ways and head back to Sydney for the fireworks.