White water in Dione Dell

KANANGRA BOYD NP – 21 February 2021
I’ve done Dione Dell three times over the last 15 years, but always as a winter (dry) trip and always wanted to do the wet trip, landing in all the pools (which look so tempting when you’re doing a dry abseil).  So, as we were in the area for the weekend we decided to give it a go, particularly as the water flow was exceptionally high at the moment after the rain we’ve had.

The group from the previous day camped nearby and had seriously decadent food (thanks Ali), and enjoyed the sunset after such a great day.

Next day, Trish M, Penny S, Omar S and Rob C joined me for the day everyone else went off to do other stuff.

We drove over to Thurat Fire Trail and easily picked up a faint track from where we parked the cars.  It petered out after a while and we just made our way downstream, slow going on the steep banks of the creek.

Eventually we came to the first abseil, and I went down first to make sure the rope was in the right place and untangled. (Photo: Penny)

Omar on the first abseil, bit of a swim once you’re off the rope. Water was much colder than the previous day.

Rob on the first abseil.

Fifty metres downstream was the second abseil, again I went over first to make sure the rope was not tangled. (Photo: Penny)

Omar about to do the second abseil.

Trish on the second abseil (Photo: Penny)

Trish on the second abseil.

The anchor for the third abseil was across the top of the waterfall and very close to the edge, I decided that we wouldn’t do the wet route but would do the dry route – Trish deploying the rope. (Photo: Penny)

Omar on a down-climb, not sure where this is but a good shot! (Photo: Penny)

Rob about to do the third abseil – checking out where he had to go obviously.

Penny on the third abseil.

Rob on the fourth abseil.  I was the first one down on this one and the rope easily tangled in some branches on the way down, very tedious trying to fix them – by this time I was getting tired.

After the fourth abseil it was a 6-800m walk downstream to the exit. We considered taking a shortcut, but this late in the day decided that it didn’t warrant the uncertainty of the unknown route out. (Photo: Penny)

We got to the end of the creek and headed up the spur.  as it was quite sometime ago that I did this trip (and was following not leading), I wasn’t sure we were on the right spur, but we headed up to the cliff-line anyway, and then it would be a case of right or left.  When we got up, I went off to see if I could recognise the pass out.

Once I got to this grotto, Uranus Grotto, I knew we were in the right place, the pass was just around the corner!

The next few hours were moments of easy walking and horrendous scrub.  From time to time we found a good track but then it disappeared.  Eventually we got into the swamp grass that I recognised and then it was 300m to the road (as per Penny’s mobile phone), and we were home and hosed!

Walking back to our cars (1k on fire trail), into the setting sun. It was roughly a 10 hour day.  Not sure why it took us so long, it’s supposed to be 5-7 hours or “less than one day”.  Was it the abseils, or the height of the water in the creek.  Definitely the “track downstream” to the first abseil was non-existent and the wet route took longer than the dry route.

Nevertheless, it was a good trip, although not as good as yesterday.  Will I go back to Dione Dell, probably not, a lot of effort for 4 abseils.

Thanks so much Trish, Omar, Penny and Rob for joining this trip, when you go back again to do it, let me know how long it takes you (lol).



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3 Responses to White water in Dione Dell

  1. Lindsay Barrett says:

    Nice photos M. Hanging swamps, after a lot of rain have much to answer for.

    Q? When are you (+ your fellow hangers-on) going to be “mad” enough to have a go at the “biggies” (Kanangra Main & Danae Brook) in high water?
    Hint: Geoff S led a small group (including me) through Danae years ago in high water, where we got some fantastic photos – but, if you really value your life – then save the really big ones for when the area dries out a bit!

    • marilyn says:

      I certainly wont be doing the big ones in this lifetime, we’ve been doing a lot of training and we do have 1 leader who I’m confident enough to publicise him leading a trip, we have 6 other leaders that would be able to go with him, but for the rest of the group, they’re pretty inexperienced with white water. All the white water stuff nowadays is SRT, ie the rope is set to the length, everyone abseils on single rope and then the last person uses double (or they have a biner block with a pull down cord), we’ve all been training to do this, and I’m ok with this way of canyoning, but in much smaller canyons (like butterbox) definitely don’t want to do the Kanangra ones in high water.

  2. John L' says:

    Thank you

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