Blue Mountains canyoning – unfinished business

KINGS TABLELAND – 1 December 2019
Back in the winter of 2017,  Trish M, Steve R and I went searching for a way into this creek to see if there were any canyon sections.  We did find a way in, but didn’t descend down to the cliff-line as a deep pool stopped us – and it was winter, no-one wanted to get wet.  So,  we determined that we’d come back in the summer (with ropes) after a bit more research to see how long the abseils might be.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years and we’ve got a bit more information.  As John G, Anna O-B, Jeff B and I were on the tableland to do another multi-pitch creek, John suggested that we also do my “unfinished business” creek, but not the whole creek, we’d had too much scrub the day before.  We were hoping that it would be an easier day than Saturday’s creek.

We followed my route in from 2 1/2 years ago (without the scrub bash down a little side creek).  Too much smoke for good views from the tableland, but easy walking.

The track we followed is very nice, great views, winds through all different types of vegetation and best of all no scrub.

From the saddle, we dropped down into a side creek.

A few small nice canyon sections in this side creek.

Another small canyon section.  About 15m from the end of this creek we climbed up an easy route which led us to the creek we’d be exploring.  The climb was fairly easy, except for those parts where John says “Marilyn you need a hand” and Jeff, without even looking says “nah, she’ll be fine”!

Up above the creek and you sidle around for about 50m (lots of scrub but once you find the right route it’s fairly open).

John and Anna looking down into the creek, they are able to see where the creek drops over the cliff from here. The last time I actually dropped down fairly close to this spot and avoided some swims.

This time we traversed a bit further along (through some really dense scrub) and then found a way down.

We dry-bagged all our gear and then waded along the creek.

At times it was only knee deep, but in this section it was up to my armpits!

Our first abseil, a bit scrubby and I was worried about the pull-down, but in the end it was easy.

Looking into the waterfall and pool (I took this photo as I abseiled down).

John on the first abseil.

Jeff on the abseil, was really nice with the two pools.

No problem with the pull down.  We sat in the sun and had lunch in the sun, I was getting a bit cold by now as the wind had picked up.

A small climb down to get to the next pool which you could skirt around on the lh side.  Anna and John looking for an anchor and determining the route down.  The trees were a bit small for my liking so we set an anchor way back off a nice rock.

John at the start of the abseil.  In the distance you can see our route forward out at the base of the cliff.

Jeff on the abseil.  You had to stay on rope all the way down to the bottom of the photo as the rock was wet and slippery.

We then traversed around to the bottom of the cliff-line and then we had 1.5k of traversing, very tedious, and we were only making 500m per hour!  In this photo you can see the angle of the terrain we were trying to cross.

Eventually we came to the known pass (this is a pass from the Tablelands down to the Kedumba Valley and is well knwn).

It’s a bit sketchy in places, and well worn but it was way, way better than yesterday’s pass.

Once up the top, it was an easy hour walking back along the track, fortunately it was quite windy so it wasn’t as hot as it could have been.

A lookout on the track, John pointing out the smoke from the Green Wattle fire (in Kanangra) – the smoke was billowing like thunder clouds.  Also behind John smoke from the Cedar Creek (Ruined Castle) fire, behind me you could see smoke from the Gospers Mountain fire which is still burning, a month after it started. There was also smoke from one other fire, maybe the Red Ocre Fire Trail, all in all, four fires burning around us.

We were back at the cars at 5.30, another 9 hour day – for about 20m of canyon section and two (nice) abseils – and I was well and truly stuffed.

Thanks again Jeff and John for carrying the 2 x 60m ropes and thank you John for putting on the trip, they were two hard days, and very challenging, but had a great time!

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