Party: Felix, Arslan, Isabelle H, Isabelle T, Michael, Nathan, Nuria, Swe, Thushan, Vanessa, Yuxin, Yumi
Leader: Felix
Trip report by: Yumi
Date: 11/04/2015

The trip started with some trouble on my part in locating Felix and his crew at Lithgow, which in hindsight wasn’t really that hard to figure out… Hats off to those who got up early for the 3-hour train ride in. Once all 3 cars were on the same side of the station, we drove towards Newnes for some abseiling practice.

Everyone did really well on their first abseils, although there were some interesting variations on the standard “on rope” and “off rope” calls. We were all feeling pretty good about doing Tigersnake canyon and wolfed down some lunch before getting on the road again. Belle and I were in for a surprise at how unsuited our little hatchbacks were to potholely fire trail conditions. A certain engineer in my car suggested we’d feel the bumps less if we went a bit faster over them. I started to realize that this theory might only apply to holes up to a certain diameter, after which you can certainly feel them. Being much closer to the ground than my car was, Belle’s car was struggling behind us, but we all made it to the starting point by about 2 pm.

After a short walk in, we were faced with a tricky abseil, which everyone squeezed through quite well. This was smoothly succeeded by two more abseils, with people checking each other’s safety before going down. Most people managed to stay dry, which I later discovered was due to some belaying intervention. As people were going down the third and final abseil, Felix managed to cajole most people into posing for a “I’m letting go with my other hand” photo. Daylight was slowly receding, so we decided to exit the canyon early, and scrambled up the hill till we hit the track, just as the sunset was bathing the ridge in a golden glow.

Our exit strategy was for Felix to lead the convoy and wait for the other 2 cars at the turnoff. My car arrived first, and we joined the rest in the back of Felix’s ute for some topnotch stargazing (some of us saw our first shooting stars!). But it was getting late and there was still no sign of Belle’s car. Just as we were about to get worried, we spotted the glow of headlights in the distance, and watched as Belle’s car trundled toward us. What used to be a nice clean car was now splattered with mud- apparently her wheel had slipped, causing the car to get stuck in a hole. They were entertaining ideas of spending the night, eating meringues for sustenance, but were saved by some commendable pushing efforts. There was a quick car shuffle, and Belle H. and Michael wisely decided to spend the night at Felix’s instead of enduring the train back to Sydney. So we parted ways and that was to be the end of any dramas for the night.

A big thank you to Felix for running the trip, and clambering back and forth to ferry backpacks through the canyon, and of course to Belle T. for her perseverance on that dirt road and for her help with gear. Thank you also to everyone for picking things up really well, which dispelled our initial misgivings at the size of our party. And from the general consensus, it was an enjoyable first taste of canyoning 🙂