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Quick Dip Canyon Saturday 23rd January 2010. (Australia Day extended weekend)

Map:-

Rock Hill 1:25000

Party:-

Shane, Jim, Dug.

Friday Night

Shane and I drove down separately, because he needed to be back for Monday (pity because it is more environmentally friendly to car pool as much as possible). We met at Richmond for the usual Pizza, I had extra garlic and the flavour was good this time. Then on to the Long Paddock where we arrived just on twilight. Jim had already set up camp and there were just two other vehicles there, quiet for a long weekend. A pleasant night to camp out, although the others found a few mossies.

Saturday

Up, breakfasted and away by 7:30. We dropped one vehicle at the Galah Mt gate, and then drove on round to Natural Bridge, to be away walking by 8:00. The map shows Mt Cameron Fire Trail but this is just a rough walking track with a number of dead trees felled across to limit opportunities for vehicles. A pleasant morning to be wandering through the bush, sights, sounds, and aromas to please us. As always, many wild flowers and colourful parrots, I think it has overgrown a lot in the past year since we walked this way.

After about 5km. where the track swings east, we set compass bearings and take to the bush. Not far in we encounter an unexpected creek flowing NE (hmm perhaps we have come too far north). We study the map carefully and decide that the creek could be inferred to extend further south than shown. Just to make sure I pull out the gps but it refuses to get a satellite lock (funnily enough a similar thing occurred to a squad gps, on the Wollangambe Search, in this case they connected to the internet and updated the firm wear to make it work). Oh well you shouldn't rely on technology. Should you? We head on in the appropriate direction and find the expected creek system (or is it Ferny, which is similar, mmmm). The grid reference from the Canyons Near Sydney book is between the two tributaries, standing there we wonder why (changing datum's doesn't make it any better). I take out the gps again; change the batteries, no change, hmmm. Then the menu pops up with an option "new area". I try this and very soon we have a lock which confirms our position with 4m accuracy.

We have glanced at the northern tributary this looks as if it would "go"; possibly without abseil. As we head over to the southern tributary, Shane and Jim can hear voices from the direction of the northern tributary. Breakfast creek is in that direction on the other side of Rocky Creek (another popular canyon) Near the top we have an amphitheatre like cliff line but we are below this so scramble our way to the creek edge. This proves to be the top of a canyon chamber below. We can see a fern covered ledge below but cannot make out what is beyond that. We set up the 63m rope and Jim goes over the edge to investigate, mm the rope doesn't feel as if it has reached the bottom. Jim prussic back up 5m or so and we set two ropes. Jim heads off down again and yells back from the ledge that they do bottom.

A most imposing chamber over 50m deep where we abseil but all of the other cliff faces are 20m taller than this. This abseil is a mix of wall to the ledge and then over a lip to free fall, where the chamber widens below us. A most splendid place cool mossy rock, tall tree ferns, and the narrowness above us, showing just a long narrow glimpse of the blue sky. We stopped for a drink and snack to admire our position. The chamber was 100m or so and then the canyon opened into a wider scrubby creek bash, with a number of fallen trees. Not too bad really but we have had better. Down near the Rock Creek junction the canyon narrows again and we need to do a few short abseils, before we slide down round a corner into Rocky Creek. An altogether interesting end to this part of the trip. Right up there with the best of narrow creek junctions.

As we stood around in the sun discussing where to have lunch we could hear voices approaching. Soon a seemingly none ending stream of canyoners arrive, they have just completed Breakfast Creek Canyon (possibly the voices we heard earlier). They a group from SBC who are doing a graduation canyon after finishing their canyon course. Then Sue (a member of BWRS) arrived as a member of the party. In due course everyone heads up Rocky creek towards the exits. This walk/wade up Rocky Creek is always pleasing a most pleasant spot, especially so on a hot day. At the standard Rocky exit we three stoped and ate a late lunch in the shade of the camping cave. The SBC party continue on, to backtrack Rocky Creek Canyon.

The exit is very pretty a canyon in its own right, although quite steep in parts. There are sections full of magnificent prehistoric tree ferns, others narrow rocky cliffs, others tall eucalypts reaching for the sky. At the exposed scramble I need help and Jim takes my pack which I feel puts me off balance. Back at the car by 4:45 we change and drove over to pick up my vehicle. Back in the Long Paddock by 5:30 we found the SBC group is just completing putting up camp all around us. Ian T (another BWRS member) is amongst them, he has been with a group learning to canyon, tomorrow he tells me they will learn to prussic.

Thank you Jim and Shane. A great new canyon and not all that long, certainly a shorter day than I expected. Till next time.  Dug Floyd January 2010.

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