Bowens Creek – North Branch Canyon – 8 January 2018

Bob and Doug were keen for a canyoning trip and had suggested the North Branch of Bowens Creek. I joined them. It had been a while since I have been down this branch from the top.

This trip starts at the bend at the base of Mt Wilson (near the large wooden Mt Wilson sign). Bob dropped us off there and then drove to near Wynnes Rock Lookout, where would finish, and then rode back to join us by bike. He didn’t take long. We were off by 9:15 am.

It was easy pleasant walking down to the creek and then along the open creekbed. We arrived at the first section of canyon around 10 am. The North Branch of Bowens Creek has abut 5 constrictions. Many parties only visit the lower section of the canyon – the fifth constriction. This is the longest and deepest part of the canyon, but there are a lot of delights upstream and it is a shame to miss them.

The first constriction is not that deep, but quite narrow. It has a few short drops and we used the rope about 3 times. Once for a short abseil. It ends with a short swim. It took us about 30 minutes to go through this section.

Then there is a pleasant walk down an open creek. Very soon a tributary joins from the south. This makes an interesting way out for parties just visiting the upper constriction.

After 20 minutes, we reached the very pretty second constriction. A nice section of canyon with quite a few wades. At this point of the day, the canyon light was nice and soft – with an etherial mist. Perhaps a type of inversion?

This constriction was followed by some slower walking through boulders. This brought us to a drop, that we abseiled down (about 8 m). We had now entered the third constriction which is a series of swims through good quality canyon. The sun had now burnt off any mist in the canyon and the lighting was a lot harsher for photography. We finished this section off around 11:30 am.

Thats the last decent section of canyon for a fair while. The creek from here on is quite ┬áreasonable for a long section – a nice open rainforest gorge. All the way down we could not help noticing lots of large red yabbies. Doug wondered how the ecosystem could support so many.

We passed through a very short (50 m ) fourth constriction and kept on going down the creek. It then became a bit bouldery with quite a few water gums to make our way past. Slower going. We then passed where the track enters on the left. It is used by people just visiting the lower constriction. It was around 1 pm when we reached this constriction.

We completed the two abseils (14 m and 12 m) and went through this constriction. Again – very harsh lighting for photos.

We had our lunch break around 2 pm at the junction with the South Branch. Then we climbed out up the track to the fire road and back to Mt Wilson.

More photos from the day are online here on my website.

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5 Responses to Bowens Creek – North Branch Canyon – 8 January 2018

  1. chriskoz says:

    While visiting there yesterday, on the last abseil third photo from the bottom, I took my rope out and because rocks were wet it just slid down into a hole (!) that I haven’t noticed and was washed by the waterfall down into the pool. My emergency rope was only 13m so I abseiled single strand and left the rope behind, which is now hanging as a fixed line over that waterfall.
    The lost rope ended I think at the bottom of the pool (it did not float because it was heavy with dirt) and I was unable to dive for it in the darkness. I was lucky it was the last abseil otherwise I would have had to keep diving.
    I don’t know if and when I return to clean it up (I hate to admit I polluted the canyon with old pieces of nylon) but this section of a canyon attracts fair amount of people so someone will come there soon. Is iy worth to spread the word about it and where? Would someone mind taking the ugly fixed rope that I must have left behind and toss it away (or return to me if they care)? The same with the other rope left at the bottom of the pool, maybe it gets washed ashore but I don’t know when that happens: the pool is some 15m long swim…

    • Dave Noble says:

      The best place to post a notice about your left rope is on the OzCanyons Facebook page. Lots of active canyoners subscribe to the feed from that page. The pool at the bottom of the abseil is very deep (people jump that waterfall quite often) – and I would suspect your rope is sadly lost.

      I was talking to some canyoners yesterday that had recently been down Crikey Canyon, and had also lost a rope in a deep pool. They too were unable to retrieve it, despite trying, and were luckily able to make there way down the rest of the canyon with their remaining short rope.

      • chriskoz says:

        Thanks Dave I will post a link there to here.
        An alternative jump of that last waterfall is a very scary prospect (at least 9-10m from the rock lip to the unknown dark water surface and the hole where my rope slipped in is too narrow for a human, otherwise it would provide not so scary steep slide) I cannot imagine how anyone could risk it in non-emergency situations. Even in dire emergency (e.g. my leftover piece of rope be too short) there are less risky options, e.g.: abseil to the end of rope and a controlled plunge from there.
        BTW, a drop at the start of the third constriction (with two nice swims therein) that you describe to abseil down (about 8 m) does not have an anchor (or I didn’t find one, correct?). I didn’t want to waste time trying to establish something to retrieve rope from, so I followed a scramble to the left which ends with a reasonable 4m jump, you can make it equiv to 3m if you hang to the handholds till you can. Judging by polished rock surface, lots of people take the jump. Or maybe all but the last person abseil your way and check the depth for the last to take the rope and jump, the safest option if you’re not alone.

        • Dave Noble says:

          No – there is a good belay point on a ledge to the right on that drop into the third constriction. Its a short drop down to a narrow area between a large boulder and the canyon wall. Then a easy scramble down the last bit.

        • chriskoz says:

          Thanks Dave for all your help.
          OzCanyons facebook is a closed group so you have to be a member to be able to post anything there and to see the responses. Somehow their admins are unwilling to approve me or are slow doing so, I don’t know the reason because I have no feedback.
          Your referral would definitely clear/speed the things up if you can kindly do so. Or maybe you have the message posted on my behalf if I cannot join there for some reason.
          Thanks again.
          In addition to may email that you know, I’ve added my facebook page as my website to this message.

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