Crikey!

22/02/2017

Kent, Ruth, Doug Doug, Camera Doug, Roy, me

Back before Steve Irwin made “Crikey” his world  famous catchphrase Tony Norman peered down into a dark slot in the Bungleboori Wilderness and, stunned at what he saw he uttered “Crikey Mother of God!”. Thus the slot was dubbed “Crikey Canyon.”

Peter Tresider has since claimed he visited the canyon on a solo trip in the 70s…. David Noble has some comments on that claim in his guide book critique.

Anyhoo,

Of the Blue Mtns canyons with published track notes Crikey is a bit of a holy grail. It’s remote. It’s deep. It’s dark. It’s technical. And it’s beautiful.

It’s one I have wanted to do for many years but for one reason or another I haven’t managed to get to. When a mate appeared in photos of a trip out there I mentioned it was one I was keen on doing. Oh they’re going again next week. Says he.

Only problem is they are doing a 4 day trip mid week and we are a little busy at work.

I confirm which day they plan to do Crikey. A quick chat to the boss (work) and I pull a favour and get a day off at short notice. A longer chat with the real  boss(home) and I get a leave pass.

Now whether to get an early start and do it in a day (doable if you know where you are going and have no issues along the way) or walk in and met them the night before. I go with the latter and Roy decides to come out with me as a guide despite having injured his ribs the week before. I get away from work around 2pm, do some last minute packing and swing by to pick Roy up, then off we go.

The trip in was fairly uneventful, the track starts clear then comes and goes a bit before disappearing altogether. A slight navigational hick up saw us miss a turn on the main ridge as we follow a spur a little out of our way. Eventually Roy say he doesn’t recognise anything and we decide to check the map, realise our mistake and back track to the correct heading.

We reach the camp cave around 6pm where I meet Kent, the trip organiser, Doug No 1, henceforth known as Doug Doug, Doug No 2, aka Camera Doug and, Ruth. The group were enjoying a meal and cup of tea after a day in Bridge canyon aka Steep Creek. We chat and laugh and as the sun goes down bunk down for a early night around 9.30

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Making ready for bed.
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Early morning stirrings in the camp site

We weren’t planning to leave camp until 8.30am so I take a wander up the bottom of Froth and Bubble canyon (aka Bubble Bath) for a bit of a look while others are slurping tea and cooking breakfast.

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Looking up the exit portal for Forth and Bubble
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Forth and Bubble canyon
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the end of Froth and Bubble canyon

And then we were off. Crossing the Bungleboori we scamper up an easy pass and then with a bit of navigation, follow a ridge down to enter the creek not far above where it drops into the canyon.

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Time to suit up

The abseils come thick and fast and we have several ropes to leap frog each other and keep things moving. Most of the abseils have tricky starts, some of them in dark sections. It’s everything I love about canyoning, problem solving on the fly in a truly stunning environment with good company.

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The first abseil is the easiest. Ruth on rope with Roy offering tips
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Is that an odd coloured glow worm? No a light in Roy’s pack the only indication he is abseiling down through the hole on the second drop
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Roy in the dark section. Image captured by using the TG4 in live comp mode then using my head torch to light paint Roy and the canyon walls
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How tenacious is this tree? Growing through the dark and stretching 50m up into the light before the hint of a branch or foliage
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Kent in a narrow section
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Camera Doug disappearing into the dark abyss
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Deep and dark
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The play of light was magical
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Eastern Water Dragon
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The canyon opens out a little and Doug Doug slides down next to the water dragon
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Ruth and Doug negotiating a boulder/log scramble
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Lower section Crikey canyon
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Looking down from the top of the second last abseil
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Roy on rope
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Ruth wading down the canyon. you may be able to make out Camera Doug on abseil and Doug Doug and Kent looking on from the top of the abseil
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Looking up from the bottom of the last abseil with Roy disappearing into the glowworm cave

Shakey shots of the glowworm cave. The connection screw for my tripod had fallen into the bottom of my bag so I had to make do with hand held, braced against the wall. Click to enlarge.

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Looking out of the canyon to a large land slide near the junction with the Bungleboori
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Ruth and Kent scrambling over boulders while admiring the canyon walls
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Working our way upstream on the Bungleboori
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Working our way up stream on the Bungleboori

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Boulder scrambles R us

Scrambling back up to camp. Click to enlarge

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We are met by John who had walked out int he morning but missed us before we left so spent the day exploring the ridge tops. Here me and Roy say our goodbyes and head out with John while the other have another night under the stars.

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All in all a great 24hrs out in the Aussie bush. I had built Crikey up in my mind over the years and was a little worried it wouldn’t meet my expectation but it was every thing I thought it would be. Deep, dark, technical and very rewarding

Big thanks to Kent and the others for allowing me to tag along on this part of their adventure out near the junction of the ‘boories

My Go Pro was freezing up this trip and I have check the footage to see if it got anything worthwhile yet. if there’s anything decent I’ll put a video together shortly.

Party Size: 6, all experienced

Time: 24 hours car to car or 7hr camp to camp at a fairly relaxed pace

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