Windows Canyon Extended Sunday 24th January 2010. (Australia Day extended weekend, continued)


Ben Bullen 1:25000


Jim, Dug


Back at the Long Paddock Camp Site we settled in for a comfortable evening preparing and eating tea, chatting with SBC members, in general relaxing for tomorrow. A thunder and light show moves over but luckily no rain although the mist settled amongst the trees as the temperature dropped. During the night we were made to cringe by the drips falling from the trees above the tents, knowing the bush would be wet to push through next day.

Dug and Jim survey the pagoda county before finding an enty to our creek We wakened to a muted bird dawn chorus, just the odd call; the birds must feel the way we do. A misty morning no one rushing to leave as we eat breakfast. Shane decides he won't go to day as he needs to leave by noon anyway. Jim and I drive to the Old Coach Road Car Park, you beauty it is completely dry here (only about 10km from the camp place). We have been down Windows Canyon previously and it is well worth the trip. This time we are looking for an extension which I have read is quite tight, I think I know the tributary required any way we like to explore. We each take one long rope (which means no spare for eventualities) and head off along the Tiger Snake Canyon walking trail. Pleasant morning, overcast but nice temperature, the views of the pagoda country we pass magnificent.

We find the right location to follow a ridge out to the side creek required. The strange rock formations created by time and weather with the sandstone rock, worth the trip on its own. Not knowing the exact location to enter, we start near the top of the creek and push down through the usual creek scrub. We drop down one small abseil and bash on, as we go I note places we could get out of the creek between the cliff lines. Soon we find another abseil and set the 63m rope which just reaches, into a mossy cliff sided chamber. I go first and take a look ahead before Jim comes down. Whoo what's this, I did read that it was narrow, but not this narrow surely. The canyon narrowed to a irregular sculptured slot up about 20m cliff above and 20m down to a stony bed below.  No way I can get into that, let alone move along or down, with or without a pack (not even naked and covered in oil :-); although I doubt I'll ever try that). Even if I could squeeze through there is nowhere to anchor the rope here so we would have to use double rope from the anchor up top, the problem with that is rope pull down due to the friction of all that rope rubbing on the rock walls.

"Hey hang on Jim, I can't get through here, and we would have problems with rope pull down. I'll have to come back up."  Prussicing up a narrow 27m or so slot, is a sweaty business, thank goodness for all that vertical rescue training in the past.  First real prussic in anger! Have done short prussic on trips previously when I've gone down a short way to see the rest of the drop, but I don't really count them.

Donald Duck Rock! Jim has done a rece of the cliffs to locate a way down while I was prussicing, but we chose not to use then as we cannot see the landing. Eventually we made our way right over to the far side of the amphitheatre where we just walk down. The facinating rock formations make the trip worthwhile in its own right. I would have liked to try and backtrack the bottom of the creek we tried to come down to see what we could see; but Jim was worried about the time as he had a long drive tonight.

This is a good canyon with several abseils as we descend through the slot through the main cliff lines above the Wolgan. At one place there is a magnificent overhang in the cliff where we have magnificent views of the beautiful cliff lined Wolgan Valley. Another abseil is through the "Window", a rock Dug Through the window formation created by rocks swirling around in a hole in the creek bedrock and drilling down due to water flow. In this case the water and rocks broke through the side of the rock and eroding way below and leaving the window above. The final abseil is very airy 45m down the wide rock face of the Wolgan cliff line.

Lunch was taken in the shade of the overhang at the base of the cliff. We then only need to descend the scree slope to the abandoned railway line perway from the old oil shale works and follow this to the Old Coach Road and hence back to the vehicle. A pleasantly warm pursuit this afternoon, a fortuitous flow of water in a side creek, very welcome.

Back in camp by 5:30 Jim packed up ready for his drive back to Berrima. The SBC group were still working with prussic practice, so I went over to talk. In particular to tease Ian, that he put the mozz on me with his talk of prussicing last night. I fussed around making drinks and then dinner into the evening, before joining CBC for nibbles, round the fire. Another flash and rumble display with mist but nothing in it. I was lucky enough to be able to arrange to do Coachwood Canyon with a course of canyoning graduates (the canyoning instructor was feeling unwell and was unable to accompany her charges). Another more advanced group planned to do Contradiction Canyon, a fairly long day.

Thank you Jim for a great day canyoning, 'twas a bit exciting perhaps! Till next time. Dug Floyd January 2010.