Tiger Snake (Wollemi NP, Australia)

Party: Michael Blair, Joel Palte, Weiyu Ju, Lisa Ryan, Madeleine (AKA Maddy) King and I
Trip: https://www.subw.org.au/members/tripDetails.php?tripid=1859

I’d been putting on a series of beginners trips, first running a horizontal canyoning trip through Suboir Canyon, then an abseiling trip down Wolgan Falls and now (combining the canyon and abseiling) the plan was to visit Tiger Snake Canyon one of the winter classics.

I ran a few errands in the morning, dropping off a wah wah mute, some stamp magazines and grabbing some walking shoes from the Aldi outdoor sale. Still, I had lots of spare time and listened to an audio book whilst waiting for the 9:15 train to arrive.
Lisa and I soon headed up onto the plateau to find the others waiting in Michael’s car. I did a quick head count and was surprised that we were one short. Nikhil had canceled in the morning as he’d woken with flu symptoms, but Shania was nowhere to be seen. There was nothing we could do now. I hoped she wasn’t still waiting at the train station (I rang her after the trip, and it seems she simply forgot. I’m glad I didn’t miss an email!).

Cramming into Michaels car, we joined some others at the car park at the gate across the Old Coach Rd. Judging from the cars, a group was presumably ahead of us, and another was sorting gear. It turned out they where a family. We’d already sorted gear when merging into one car, so we set out ahead of them.

Not paying attention we somehow left the firetrail following a ridge for a time before realising our navigational blunder. Back on course, we dropped down to the saddle and up the other side before dropping into the Tiger Snake drainage. The bush was recovering well from the fires but there were many trees down and the track was basically invisible in places. It felt strange being able to see so far and make out more of the hulking pagodas.

Soon we arrived at the upper constriction. I usually climb the first drop, but with some new faces and others from Friday keen to practice abseiling, I opted to use the anchor high CR. Its longer than dropping in with the watercourse, but an easier abseil.
Joel dropped down first and we slowly filtered down mingling with the other group who had caught us by this point. I talked a little about the naming of the canyon to those who hadn’t yet descended. Finally I dropped the rope and climbed down, not really in the mood for abseiling.

Visited on a joint SUBW/Ramblers trip on 11 Sept 77. The creek was investigated from Deanes Creek. Bob Sault, Steve McDowell and Dave Noble had gone on ahead, found the canyon, but found themselves trapped in a chamber of the canyon by a stirred up tiger snake… Keith Maxwell, Rose Adams and Hugh Patterson, who were downstream, helped the party escape by throwing articles of their clothing on top of the snake to confuse it. (The clothes were later retrieved with the aid of a long stick). A Ramblers party did the canyon properly from above on a later trip and also found the miniature canyon above (Kameruka Magazine Vol 16 No 2 – July 78)».

David Noble

Our feet got a little wet as we approached the second drop but with some creativity almost everyone stayed out of the water at the bottom. In an attempt to keep the rope dry, I climbed over the top.

A tight spot followed before the canyon opened back up. A climb down some tree roots led to the large drop that ends the upper constriction.

Taking a small snack break at the bottom, we were soon fighting our way through the scrub to the second constriction. We climbed up to the left dropping down onto the chock-stones from where we’d drop into the canyon.

Once down, I wandered up canyon alone. The others had finished exploring and might have been a little cold. I hadn’t been here for a long time and had forgotten about the arch. I climbed up through it continuing up canyon a way before turning back to catch up with the others.

The deep canyon soon opened up and after a downclimb or two, we took lunch at a large sandy area where I always stop on Tiger Snake trips.
Leaving our packs guarded by Maddy, the rest of us went to explore the nearby talus cave. Walking in the resurgence, we found some faint glowworms amongst the boulders. After crawling through the wrong squeeze, I retreated and soon found the way on, memory of the passage returning as a wormed my way through. Following the light, we then popped back up to the surface.

Scrambling up onto the exit ridge we paused again before walking back above the canyon. Veering up a gully we scrambled atop a pagoda to enjoy the Golden Hour for a short time.

We were soon walking where we’d walked earlier in the day and retraced our steps back to the car. On the way we found some core samples from coal surveying back in the day (though I’m not 100% sure that’s what they are).

Weiyu thought about walking back along time ridge we’d incorrectly taken in the morning, but changed her mind to join us. We were back at the cars just as it was getting dark. Lisa had again brought a surprise to share with us all, this time chocolate cookies. To Maddy’s delight, they’d been made with almond flour rather than wheat.

The group behind us arrived before we headed back to Bungleboori to split back into two cars. Thanks for a fun day out!

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