Coorongooba Labyrinth Canyoning - 26 - 31 December 2006

All images © David Noble. No image can be used for any purpose without permission.

Party - Rik Deveridge, Rob Hynes, John McGrath, David Forbes, Rachel Melrose, Chuin Nee Ooi, John Robens, Don Cameron, Dave Noble

Above - John McGrath abseiling into a nice section of canyon

During the period between Xmas and New Year - it has been a common time to go and explore for new canyons, or re-do old favorites in the more remote areas of the Northern Blue Mountains. This summer a group of us had planned to go to the Coorongooba Labyrinth area - but bushfires meant that a lot of the northern part of Wollemi National Park was closed. Also we had no wish to go down burnt out canyons. So after some discussion and a few last minute changes of plan we decided to visit the southern section of the labyrinth via a long walk in from Glen Davis.

None of the canyons we visited were burnt out - although some access ridges had been burnt. The recent fires had burnt out a huge section of the park. Due to the drought - water levels in the canyon were low - although not as bad as creeks in the Southern Blue Mts. For a lot of the trip - we set up a fixed camp on a ridge - and carried up water each afternoon after visiting a canyon.

The canyons in this area are magnificent - and the ones we visited can be regarded as "showcase" canyons for the area. Typically they feature lots of abseils down tight slots. Only one member of the party carried a wetsuit - the rest of us made do with thermals. A lot of swims could be avoided by bridging above pools. As far as I know - all these particular canyons were first explored during the 1990's by the "other" Dave Noble (NPWS ranger and discoverer of the Wollemi Pine) and other members of his parties.

Visitors to the area are asked to not publish location details or route notes of the canyons in order to keep the wilderness aspect of the canyons  intact.

We carried a 46m rope, a 40m rope and a 20m rope. Belay points had changed since previous visits to these canyons and it is advisable to carry some lengths of tape to use as slings for some abseils. I think we only had to place two slings on this trip.

One objective I had in this trip was to shoot video of the canyons we visited - and I would like to thank the rest of the party for cooperating with this and allowing me to film without doing my fair share of setting up and pulling down ropes. I also carried a small still camera.

Photos -

Day 1 - walk in day
Day 2 - walk to set up  out fixed camp - and in the afternoon we visited this deep and dark canyon
Day 3 - we visited two canyons - the first one - deep and committing and after that another one with lots of abseils
Day 4 - we visited a long canyon with many abseils and canyon sections
Day 5 - we moved camp this day - and on the way did a side trip down a nice canyon
Day 6 - we exited via a beautiful canyon and then walked out via a large creek

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