Zorro

28-09-2017

Garry, Jodie, James and me

As David Bowie once sang, the only thing I ever got from you was Zorro… or something like that, I was never a fan so could be wrong….

 

Anyhoo it was back up to the plateau for more canyonng fun. Shoes and harness was still damp from yesterday and a bit of drizzle had set in but that wasn’t going to curb my enthusiasm.

This time we took a left and headed out along the Sunnyside ridge trail looking for a couple of short but spectacular canyons.

Our first goal was Zorro and we had no dramas on the way in.

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The entrance was lined with wild flowers
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the canyon gets narrow and deep very quickly.
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Gaz squeezing pass this tenatious tree
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Gaz dropping into the depths
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Jodie in the amazingly straight and narrow canyon
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Jodie watching James and Garry descend the canyon

There follows a tight shimmy down to a cold pool. There is an anchor above so I guess people rope up for it but it looks like tha would be awkward. It is a fairly straight forward down climb.

I have no idea how deep the water is but there are narrow ledges just below the water level so only you feet get wet.

James tries to bridge above the water but is unable to. Wanting to keep his shoes dry he wedges himself above the water level slips off a shoe and hurles it over the rock he thinks marks the end of the water. It makes a big splash in the small pool just beyond the rock…. No dry feet for you.

 

Then the canyon suddenly opens out in to the gorgeous Z chamber which links the parallel fault lines the entrance and exit passages follow

Then it’s more bridging over what is usually a long pool but in this dry spell it’s starting to dry up

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Then all that is left is a final abseil to exit, but before we do Gaz shimmies around the ledge to check out the views

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A quick scramble around the base of the cliff brings us to the exit slot, which is a nice, short canyon in it own right looking like something out of Jarassic park

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Once ontop we slip out the ridge inbetween the two slots with the idea of having lunch in the sun with a view

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Wind and drizzle interupt our plans and we abandond that idea and head back to the car

It’s not even noon so we do a quick car shuffle and go head in to check out some other features near by.

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James heads into the Crack of Doom!!!

 

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The Crack of Doom!!! with appropriate skull shaddow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaz in Crack Of Doom!!! 2
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Jodie in Crack of Doom!!!2 with gaz on rope above
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Gaz in Crack of Doom!!!2
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Cathedral Canyon
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Cathedral canyon

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James taking in the grandour of Cathedral canyon
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Gaz and Jodie soaking in the ambience
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The Cathedral

Then it was back up the Crack of Doom!!! 2 for an easy exit

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This poor goanna never made it out

And back tot he car for a much earned beerio.

Party size:4 all experienced

Time: about 5 hours total for both canyons

 

 

 

 

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…
― John Muir

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Coachwood and Rocky Creek Canyons

27-09-2017

Julie, Michael, me

Last time I did Coachwood canyon was about ’97. I couldn’t remember much about the trip other than the Coachwood forest made for nice photos and  as I abseiled out the end I could hear what I first thought was airforce jets zooming over the gully. Turned out it was a wall of hail that was just about it hit. It struck with avengence just as Della and Mandy joined me at the bottom. Gathering the rope as Rocky creek began to rise we made a dash down stream to the big bend where we cimbed up to a little cave to wait out the fury. An hour or so later we climbed up a hail covered ridge. Photos below (Click to enlarge)

 

 

Anyhoo, I had a week off work and I know Julie is always looking for people to go canyoning mid week so I hit her up.

Yep I’m off Wednesday, says She. Want to do Coachwood?

Sure do, says I

I was keen to get back, it’s reasonably dry but I had no recolection of the canyon itself.

Want to reverse up Rocky creek to exit? says she.

Are you freaking kidding how freaking cold is that going to be… I think but instead my brain replies with, Yeah, sure.

Anyhoo We drive up to the Bungleboori picnic spot to meet Michael. Instead we meet Geoff, Anna, Peter, Ruth and other assorted UBMW members heading off to do a rarely visited canyon not so far from ours. Anna looks confused as she does a head count. Oh we arn’t with you guys we’re meeting someone else.

all good they pile in cars and head off. Michael arrives shortly after and we do the same. Veering on the the Galah mountain road we see Geoff and his group driving backout. That was quick.

Big tree down just up ahead, we couldn’t move it. He informs us. We’re changing plans.

Oh we might as well have a look. Yep big tree. we go bush and carefully edge around it and continue on our way.

I think I know why I couldn’t remember much of coachwood. It’s not much of a canyon. A bit of fun but nothing overly “Wow!”

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We somehow missed the top of the first absiel and walked in below the waterfall
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The Coachwood forest I remebered being so picturesque

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Julie on the first of our absiels
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Michael dropping in
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Michael on the the very nice second last abseil
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Julie on the last abseil
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Lunch in Rocky Creek
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All Rugged up ready for the swim up Rocky Creek

Now traditionally for me Rocky Creek is a NewYears day or later canyon. It’s always cold so I was a little apprehensive. But we’d layed up. I had a thermal top, 3mm steamer wetsuit with a 3mm spring suit over the top. Woolen beanie to keep the noggon warm and over it all a light spray jacket to keep the wind off.

With all that on and working our way up stream I never felt cold at all. Infact because the beanie stayed dry it got a little warm and I ended up splashing water over my face a couple of times to cool my head down.

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Rocky Creek
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Rocky Creek

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The light is so different each time you visit

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Toasty warm

And of course the early waratahs were out on the ridge

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all in all a fun day out. I’d class it more of a trip up Rocky Creek with an alternate entrance

Party Size: 3 all Expereinced

Time: 5.5hrs car to car

 

What if something is on TV and it’s never shown again? Smudge

 

 

Then the next day it was off to do Zorro and Cathedral canyons with the Cracks of Doom Thrown in

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Glowworm Tunnels

09-09-17

Me and Mandy

Built in the early 1900’s to cart goods and supplies (and people as an afterthought) into and out of the new shale mine in the Wolgan valley the Newnes rail line was a marvell. 31miles (~50km) long, including 2 curvng tunnels carved through the sandstone where the line descended through the clifflines at Penrose gully, it took just 18months from survey through wild terrain to having trains run.

The trains themselves were special Shay locomotives that had a unique vertical piston and gearing arrangement that was able to deliver steady power to all wheels via drive shafts thus they were able to negotiate the steep grades and tight bends required to get out of the valley.

The line was always a bit of a problem child though. Not only were mining conditions in the Wolgan far harsher then expected (the seam was easier to mine from the Capertee) but maintenance on the track was expensive. The little culvet bidges used to span the “Dry gullies” proved completely in adiquate for the “gully rakers” and flash floods produced by summer storms. By 1934 the line was closed. Much of the remaining track and infrastructure were pulled up and shipped over seas for the WW2 war efforts in Egypt and Turkey.

The line was left to deteriorate but the second tunnel, with water now running through it from tunnel creek became the home of glowworms which exist naturally in the canyons and caves throughout the plateau and are a larvae stage of a gnat.

Being able to see glowworms in the day in an easily accessable spot soon became a draw card tourists and much of the line above tunnel became an access road.

 

Anyhoo. I’ve visited the tunnels many times and I always enjoy it. Dad took us there as kids, I took my kids when they were little and we’ve done it many times with friends and family. Now days though my visits are usually part of either a longer mountian bike ride or as a side trip from near by canyons. Each time I go I try and snap a photo of the ferns looking out of the tunnel and invariably it the photo ends up either with the ferns too washed out in the bright sun or the tunnel too dark or both.

Then I had a bright idea and contrived a plan to slip up at night to see what I could capture.

 

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I think it came out Ok for a little point and shoot camera.

click to enbiggen

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No matter how many times I do it driving through the first tunnel on the way to the car park is always an awesome experience

 

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Dione Dell

02-09-17

Tim, Scott, Louise, John, Autal, Craig B, Peter and I

Canyoning out near Kanangra Walls generally means epic full or multi-day adventures in big terrain.

Dion Dell is a little more sedate trip than most out this way. That said the waterfalls are very pretty and the terrain is just as aweinpiring.

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Craig B got nominated leader of the trip and so leads down the first drop
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Dione Falls at the junction of Dione Dell and Christys creek
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The early spring light was very harsh so photos were hard to get

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I always though the 60m absiel down the slot of Wallarra falls was a sure way to get wet. Tim proves otherwise
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The first half is the easy bit.  Now to stay dry it’s across  the slot and down the side
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The bottom of Wallarra falls. I’d set up the usual shorter drop (red rope) while others choose to have a got at the direct route (Blue rope)

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Autal and Tom admiring the views from the top of Margaret Falls
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Lunch at the top of the 110m drop at Margaret falls
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An arse of a cave… I mean the grotto of Uranus
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Wallaby pass up to Pindari tops
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On a clear day with a set of binoculars you can see Sydneys Center point tower. But it’s not all about the view

 

Party Size: 8, all experienced.

Time: 5hrs relaxed pace

 

To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, it’s the most valuable part: Aldo Leopold

 

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The Timber Chute

03-09-17

Mandy and I

A long time ago dad told me about this timber chute up a slot that gave easy access to the cliff tops above the Wolgan. They use to slide logs down it, said he. It’s somewhere around here, it’s an easy road up to the base of it and you can sit on the cliff edge at the top and see the whole valley.

So I’ve been looking for it on and off for years, well not really. I’ve always hoped to come across it in my travels but hadn’t really done any detective work  or set out with a goal to specifically go looking for it, just had it in the back of my mind that it would be cool to stumble across.

Once I found an old timber platform hanging over the Wolgan cliffs out past long swamp and thought maybe that was it, may be dad had is spot mixed up and they accessed it from the top rather than from the valley. No, he said, it’s down past the pub somewhere. Well that left a big somewhere. Not sure what it was we found, someone suggested a hang glider launch… Anyhoo

Last year while flicking through an old climbing guide that I had read and read again back when we had first gotten into climbing, one that has been sitting in my draw for the last 20 years, Lo and behold there it was staring me in the face. “The Timber chute walls”. You eeejiot Craig!

How had I missed that?

So I dragged Mandy out for a walk and we followed the cliff lines around and found a likely creek. But just up stream we were blocked by a small water fall. Our up and down route along the cliff had sucked up too much time and we needed to beat a retreat. Next time Gagdet.

12 months later I was keen as keen for another look.

This time we followed the old road up the gully before spearing off and making our way up to the cliff line. The lower cliff line here is more a jumble of broken slabs and each time we got into the creek we were stopped by another unclimbable waterfall so we traversed back and forward up through the scree and finally reached the base of the upper cliff. From here it was an easy walk around into the canyon.

And what a little ripper it is.

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Old retaining wall
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The Wolgan Clifflines never cease to strike awe into me
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The Portal
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The entrance to the Timber chute. Those two logs spanning the gap arn’t dead fall or wash down they are have been carefully measured and set into carve notchs. Unfortunitely there is no trace of the chute below this
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to get an evan ramp some of these notchs are 2 or 3 meters up in the walls

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It looks as though flash floods have wash quiet a few beams down

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I wonder if they had a bullock dragging the logs or if they just let them fly?

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When the canyon opens out at the top the tallest tree fern I’ve seen greets me
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Looking back down
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And back down at the old logging road this little lyrebird wasn’t shy at all.

Party Size. 2 Both experienced

Time: 3hrs car to car with lots of photos and a long lunch

You have Nothing to loose and a world to see. What are you doing in here?

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