Party: Nolan, Andrew (trip leader), Tony, Billy, Joel
We met 8:30am at Bell station, Tony caught the train; I drove up in my car, whilst Billy & Nolan caught a lift in Joel’s car. From there it was a short drive to Zig Zag in our two cars where we stopped for a break to fill up our water bottles and last stop for the amenities. As usual the large groups of heavily modified 4wd’s were out there in their droves lowering their tyre pressures for their usual off road outings.
Just over an hour of driving we reached the tigersnake car park where we sorted out equipment with everyone trying on every harness and helmet until they fitted perfectly. Billy used my spare camp harness whilst Nolan and Joel used the club’s. We took a 60m, 40m both 9mm statics and a handline for the trip. After about 15 minutes of firetrail we reached the open rocky area for a quick snack break. Myself and Tony used this time to scout the route that leads down into Penrose Gully for a future trip. It wasn’t long before we were on the foot track and had expansive views of the Wolgan area and spotted our exit slot on the other side of gully.
Upon arriving at the entrance slot we harnessed up and Tony gave a quick demonstration of the abseiling technique and I gave a demo of the belayers job. The first crack was a bit tricky for people to abseil down but everyone made it down safely. I ended up coming down the slightly difficult way by sliding down the crack to the side of the pool without abseiling. We did a lot of pack passing throughout the canyon including lowering down the packs on the rope at the 17m abseil. We did this so beginner abseilers could just focus on their abseiling technique. At the bottom of the 17m drop we had a lovely open canyon to walk through till our final 25m abseil down into the darkest constriction of the canyon where we needed to put on our headtorches. Tony went down first with his full body harness setup self-belaying with an alpine up descender and also had a chest ascender fitted to the chest harness just in case it was needed.
Negotiating this abseil from the top is a bit tricky due to how narrow it is especially with a large pack on and the way you need to position yourself so you can get into the crevice. Billy, Nolan, Joel and I followed suite with Tony bottom belaying all of us. It is a surreal environment descending into the dark constriction and reminded me of descending into one of the caves at Bungonia.
This was our last abseil and from there it was a short walk to our exit slot which leads to a very distinct track that runs across a ridge firstly. Then drops down into a gully before disappearing at a pagoda which we then had to climb to access the higher track back to the ridge we came in on and back to the cars. From looking through the Tigersnake logbook the canyon does get a steady amount of canyoners almost every weekend.
Thankyou to Nolan for taking some great photos
I’ve compiled both mine and Nolan’s photos in this link: https://flic.kr/s/aHskBRjZo5