Dead Tree Canyon lies in the Wollangambe Wilderness. It is a tributary of the South Branch of Bungleboori Creek. It was first descended by Bob Sault and Ian Wilson of SUBW in early 1982. After being in the party that did the first descent of Crikey Canyon the day before, they had been dropped off at the end of the Waratah Ridge fire trail. They set out, and after exploring the canyon, they then had to walk back to Bell to catch a train to the city. On that first descent – they had had to push their way through the branches of a recently fallen tree on one of the early abseils – hence the canyon’s name.
I had noted the canyon about the same time (possibly 6 months or so before its first descent) on a trip from Bell with Paul “Large Sheets” McCallum, from SUBW, during a winter bushwalking trip. We were in Bungleboori South Branch and had endured some very cold wades. We then noted the canyon coming in on our left. Further down was a long swim that we both decided was too cold to do in winter, so we headed back upstream and forced a pass out on the north side very close to the canyon and just upstream from it.
I was on a SUBW trip down the canyon not long after its first descent. I can distinctly remember abseiling through the dead tree. One canyon guidebook author, who didn’t check his source material too well, erroneously refers the canyon as “Dead Log Canyon” – a silly tautology! Anyway – at the time I was not too impressed with the canyon. But that was a time when there were a lot of new canyons to visit – Hole in the Wall, Crikey, Banks etc – and Dead Tree Canyon fell far short in terms of length and spectacularity.
So, it was a long time between visits. And to really evaluate a canyon – you do need to visit it more than once. My second visit to Dead Tree Canyon was last weekend and it was a pleasant surprise. The trip was with Rik, Wendy and Rob. The “Dead Tree” has now become a log (there are many in the canyon – not sure which one was the original dead tree). Also – the abundant recent rain meant the canyon was flowing quite nicely. In fact – very nicely! It was particularly spectacular. An approaching thunderstorm mean we could not tarry on our descent and my photos were a bit limited.
After visiting the canyon, we went downstream on the Bungleboori. The creek was up and it would have been hard to go against the current. We soon came to the swim that had stopped me and Paul many years before.
Not long after the swim we climbed out and had a late lunch (4pm!) in a nice cave high on the ridge. Then headed back to the car.
More photos on my main website here.