Party: Sky, Mon, Ulla, Nicola, Prab, Kshitij and Ian
Trip report by: Ulla Heikkilä
Date: 20/07/2013
Original report:

  • FreezeFest was much bigger this year, with quite a few trips taking place over the weekend, so each canyon has been written up by a different participant. This trip report was produced by Ulla Heikkilä:

Do you like the sound of this: temperatures close to zero, water ice cold, your wetsuit has a hole, your teeth are clattering so badly you’re biting your tongue but you should be jumping into that deep pool? Nor did we.

There were at least three of us who wanted to enjoy a nice weekend out at FreezeFest, but without dying of hypothermia. Luckily there were a number of dry canyons nearby. Sky suggested doing Tiger Snake and convinced Mon and Ulla to co-lead in no time.

Mon performing a quick tire change on the drive in

The idea was to drive out early Saturday morning and do Tiger Snake followed by the spectacularly-tight Crooked Crevice (Penrose Gully).

“After a few mishaps” (wording agreed on by all participants), it so happened that we met Nicola at Wentworth Falls already nearly an hour late.

Beautiful weather for the walk in (photo Ian Lu)

Then some getting lost happened on the way to Zigzag railway, and some more after that. We shouldn’t have been reading directions online telling us to take this left and that right turn but just followed T2’s instructions: drive straight ahead until turning off to Galah Mountain Road.

After a number of u-turns we managed to hit a pothole and got a flat tyre. Mon impressed us with her mechanical skills and got the tyre changed with our help in 15min!

Time to check the map (photo Ian Lu)

When we finally reached Barcoo Swamp we were running 2.5 hours late. Prab, Kshitij and Ian were patiently waiting for us and hadn’t lost their good spirits, although the best part of the day was gone. We had to give Crooked Crevice a miss, but Tiger Snake would definitely still be doable.

We quickly headed off to the start of the canyon. Reading two different track notes, which didn’t always agree, caused some confusion. An inevitable scrub bash followed, but we shortly reached the start of the canyon.

Looking across to the start of the upper canyon constriction (photo Ian Lu)

The first drop can be abseiled or climbed down, neither of which is very pleasant. We used a rope as a handline, more for the psyche than safety, and got down.

After the first drop the canyon is fairly easy, with beautiful narrow sections, a second abseil and a nice climb down some tree roots.

Then there’s a walk along the creek until the second canyon section starts with an exciting drop into a big and dark hole.

Descending into the upper section (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Nicola had the most stylish way of descending — she managed to end up with her head down and legs up, accompanied by huge giggles.

We all enjoyed this beautiful bit of the canyon. After that it’s only a short way until the canyon opens up.

At the end of the canyon we had some late lunch — given that we started the canyon at lunch time in the first place — and then headed up, finding the exit track much more easily than the way in.

Canyon formation (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

The sun was just setting when we walked up and the rest of the walk was done at dusk. We reached the cars just as it was getting dark, with a nearly-full moon overhead providing an absolutely stunning end to a beautiful day.

Special thanks for all participants for keeping their spirits up despite some of the “mishaps” and for sharing a great day with us.

Emerging from the upper constriction (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

The final abseil in the upper canyon (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Nic showing off her unconventional abseiling technique…

Canyon formation in the lower constriction (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Abseiling into the constriction (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Nic exploring the canyon (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Ancient ferns and ancient rock (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Sky scrambling up the exit (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

The walk out (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Twilight on the nearby escarpments (photo Prab Naththarampatha)

Given FreezeFest 2013 was much bigger that the year before, with quite a few trips taking place over the weekend, each canyon has been written up by a different participant. You can check out almost all of the adventures from over the weekend below: