Reconnaissance

19-07-16

Julie, Lyn, Jim and I

 

With Julie being an active member of the forums back in the day and the administrator and driving force behind the Ozcanyons facebook group I was familiar with her name and adventures but had never met her in person.

When she put out a call to see if anyone was interested in a mid week canyon trip to a place I hadn’t been in 15 years and wanted to take Tal to at some stage I thought why not. It was school holidays and I could rustle a leave day so I sent her a message that we’d be keen.

Of course school holidays finished that week so Tal wouldn’t make it. Bummer. No worries plans had changed and it just so happened Julie was heading out to do the canyon I had failed to find on our scrub bash to no where.

That left me with a bit of a dilemma. I’d got the day off and was super keen but was reluctant to do it without the others. For some strange reason after I had lead them up the garden path, flipped out and aborted the trip they were all still keen to give it another go. We had unfinished business. In fact we had it scheduled the weekend before but illness, injury and other commitments got in the way.

On the other hand a recon mission with those who knew where they were going might not be a bad idea.  It was Ed who had put this canyon on our agenda so I let him know the deal and he said go for it.

As the day approached the weather forecast got worse and I started to think this canyon was becoming my nemesis. Then the day before things brightened up and Julie said it was game on.

I pulled into the meeting place and instantly recognised Julie from her trip reports and photos. Also there were Lyn and Jim Cook and after a quick meet and greet we piled into Jim’s car and headed off for a typical south Wolgan canyoning adventure.

The weather was pretty much spot on for this type of trip. Warm enough to peel off the jumpers. Cool enough you didn’t bake on the haul up .

It’s always good heading out with more experienced people. You get to compare techniques and either confirm you are doing things ok or learn better, or just different ways, to do it. Julie and the Cooks put me at easy right away chatting about past adventures as we headed up the hill.

I would have to say I felt a lot better about my failed navigation as we had a bit of trouble finding the entry point, and my three guides had been here before. We started down the wrong gully before resorting to pulling out the GPS to get a grid reference and consulting the map.  No big deal we just zigged when we should have zagged.

All these pagodas look the same. And indeed the next gully over did look rather similar.

Now in the right spot I realized just how close I was on my first attempt. My navigation hadn’t been the issue, just my interpretation. I was looking for an anchor point on the cliff line directly above, and I mean directly above, the actual anchor in the hidden gully….. Live and learn.

From here down the trip is really nice. It’s a fairly average canyon as far as constrictions but it makes up for it with some nice long abseils with some cool features and awesome exposure to make them memorable.

I’m even keener to get the others through here now.

Big thanks Julie for organising and letting me tag along

3
Jim leading us up the hidden slot
7
Julie
10
Natural Oculus
13
Entering the netherworld
16
Looks wet down there. We’ll send Jim first
17
A nervous smile? before descending into the water
18
Can it be bridged?
20
Lyn
25
Split in the Wolgan cliffline
27
This one was a bit damp with the spray but not cold at all
28
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