Kanangra Main is a spectacular trip descending one of the steeper gorges of Kanangra-Boyd. It starts with several pitches of abseiling beside the 150m high Kanangra Falls, in Kanangra Creek, and continues down numerous smaller falls, mostly in the 40m range.
Kanangra Main is a serious undertaking, especially in wet weather. The quartzite rock becomes extremely slippery and scrambling is much more difficult. In high water, some of the abseils become quite dangerous. All party members need to be experienced abseilers, and it is advisable to have done some of the less difficult Kanangra canyons previously so that the slippery rock and scrambling is familiar.
From the car park at Kanangra Walls, walk back up the road 600m. Take a track to the right that leads down across Kanangra Brook and up around the right side of Kittani Top. As you near an obvious head, the track forks. Take the left one, which becomes vague, following the top of Kittani Rim around to above the top of the falls. Head down to the point to the right of the falls to where you can see a small waterfall just before it flows over the edge.
Either scramble down a short exposed gully to the right of the creek and left to ledges below the first waterfall, or abseil 10m from a tree on the true right just above the falls. The first set of anchors are on the edge about 10m to the right of the falls.
The first three to five abseils go down the main face to the right of the falls. There are a number of options for anchors depending on your rope lengths.
The first abseil is from bolts and slings, and is about 52m to a small ledge. To avoid rope jam issues, it may be better to abseil 15m to a very small (3 person) ledge with bolts and reset for 39m abseil to the next ledge.
The second abseil, from bolts, is about 40m to a ledge between a large pinnacle and the main face.
There are abseil options on both sides of the pinnacle.
From the right side, the third abseil is about 48m into a pool. There is an alternative anchor off small trees about 15m down from the top. If you want to avoid the pool it is possible to traverse right (facing out) on the rope along a narrow ledge about 8m above the water to another anchor point for an 8m abseil. This may make it more difficult for subsequent abseilers, and for the pull down.
From the left side, it is 37m down to a small ledge, where there is an anchor for a 15m abseil straight down the fall - difficult and dangerous in high water.
The fourth abseil is 25m from the right hand side of the pool, into another pool. There is also an anchor on the left hand side. From the bottom of this abseil, it is possible to escape up the gully to the side.
It is a short walk to the fifth abseil, which can be done from anchors on either side of the falls, with the main bolts on a ledge on the right. It is about 47m, finishing on the right hand side. There is also an intermediate anchor on the right.
A scramble/swim and short walk leads to the next drop, which involves an abseil of 12m or possible scramble down, on the right, to the large chockstone. From the chockstone, it is a 9m abseil from bolts on top, or continue from the previous abseil down through the hole - pulldown might be difficult. Alternatively, do a 7m jump from the top of the chockstone, after checking depth. The water is not particularly deep, so be careful.
Another short walk leads to the next big drop, which is done in two parts. Abseil about 15m from slings on the left across the falls to a set of bolts on the right. Then abseil 56m down the right of the falls across a big greasy ledge, and down to a pool below. If your ropes are too short, there may be 17m abseil from the greasy ledge, using a somewhat dodgy setup involving a piton and bollard.
A short walk again gets to the next abseil, which goes from bolts on the left, about 45m down a slippery waterfall - the most photogenic of the trip. The pulldown is difficult due to the flow. An alternative anchor can be found around the big boulder on the right, which can avoid the pool/waterfall.
Another scramble or swim gets you to the next waterfall (15m) which can be abseiled from bolts on the right, or scrambled around on the left.
The next waterfall (25m) is abseiled from slings around a tree on ledges on the left, or from bolts on the right. It goes straight down into the pool. There may be a drier route if you scramble further left.
The final waterfall can also be scrambled around on the left, or the right, or abseiled (15m).
From here it is about 40 minutes of rockhopping and scrambling down to Murdering Gully, which is the gully leading up to the saddle between Seymour Top and Mt Kanangra. Climb Murdering Gully, and then up spurs on the left when the gully gets steep and overgrown. Traverse right near the top to reach the saddle between the walls.
- Difficulty: H
- Abseils: 11-15
- Longest abseil: 60m
- Quality: NA
- Time: 8-12 hours
- Distance: 6km
- Ascent: 520m
- Wetsuits: Recommended
- Maps: 8930-3S Kanangra