Lost Traction and Traxion Canyons (Wollemi NP)[CENSORED]

Party: Mum and I

No Traction Canyon:

Muddy brown fireworks leapt up into the headlights as we slowly progressed along the heavily potholed rd. With the rain during the night we were glad we hadn’t walked in the day before, instead waking up at 4am to facilitate an early start – minimising our chances at becoming benighted. I tried to grab a bit if extra sleep but the bumps kept jolting my eyes back open, the corrugations vibrating my spoon against the ceramic bowl. Sporadically I struggled swallow mouthfuls of my yoghurt; my body not really ready to break it’s fast.

The rd improved as we entered the National Park and it wasn’t long before we were parked. Morning light was illuminating the bush as Mum finished her breakfast. And soon we were ready to go.

We had a decent slog ahead of us. The plan was to walk out along the ridge and explore two cks from a high camp; one each day. From the aerial imagery I was quite confident we’d find some nice canyon formation. I also wanted to ground truth a topo map I’d made (with Tom Brennan’s help) featuring 5m contours and a 2x2m grid coloured to indicate slope. I was hopeful it’d help (or had already helped!) with pass finding.

A couple of hours later we arrived at our planned camp. We dumped our gear and were soon on our way. Dropping into the first ck, we found an overhang that we prob could have used instead of bringing a tent. We hadn’t gone very far before an unexpected upper constriction soon appeared in front of us! I climbed down the first bit and confirmed that we’d need to abseil. Throwing the rope up to Mum, she rigged it around a convenient tree and I dropped down first through the slippery narrow slot. I lost traction on the rock slipping a bit.

The canyon quickly opened back up into some coachwood forest. Mum found an open fruit that looked like a wild passionfruit.

It was surprisingly quick walking in the main ck. We mainly stuck below the cliffs CL.

The creek began to cut through the rock again forming canyon, so back in we went. There were a couple of nice abseils. I think it was one of these that had a sling in place.

After a bit of tight constriction the canyon began to open a bit. There was still one short abseil, be the anchor was far back, so we needed the whole rope. Whilst abseiling, Mum’s bag tore open and her dry bag fell out the bottom. Confused apon finding it, she thought she’d lost her pack!

Reaching the end, we had lunch in the sun and then headed upstream. We found a tunnel and after passing through crossed over it continued upstream to an exit I’d used before.

There were then lots of passionfruit growing where we tried to exit the second clifflines… but it was better to stay low all the way up to our camp. We were back at about quarter to 4.

Mum got tent and fire duty whilst I went back to get water. I got back just as Mum was finishing. We had a relaxing afternoon.

Traxtion Canyon:

Another early start. But not crazy early. Mum’s microtaxion wasn’t on her harness. The day before, she’d passed up her jumar so I could help remove a carabiner (attached to the top of the jumar with a microtraxion attached). Did it get left there? Should we go back? Mum asked if perhaps I’d kept it. I didn’t think so… We decided to continue with the trip.

This ck was further from our camp, and in retrospect it might have been better to reverse the order since we weren’t sure we’d find an exit.

The ck dropped down steeply, but after a bit of bushbashing we had a bit of a pathway to follow were the water had scoured the vegetation clear.

This creek too had an upper section of canyon. 3 pitches. On the first we pit a log across so the rope wouldn’t get jammed on the pull. The final two, we combined as a single abseil.

The creek then opened up into a pretty amphitheatre type area with overhangs on either side as well as a large «lion king» rock.

This ck too slotted up into a second constriction. Here there were rope marks around the tree so we knew we weren’t the first here. It wasn’t particularly narrow at the bottom, but slotted up around the corner.

The anchor for the next drop was a medium size rock. Mum checked the tape and found that it had burnt through. We retied it and made some improvements to the cairn anchor. The canyon here was dry and with little moss on the walls had quite a different character to the previous canyon.

The final pitch was from some chock stones jammed into he end of the canyon. There was some tape here too.
At the bottom we had lunch and filed up our bottles before looking for a way back up through the cliffs.

It wasn’t far before we found a crack that looked like it would go. Mum led the way, and I helped from below. There was then some scrambling, a small climb up to a tree, an easy but exposed traverse, a ramp up, then contouring again to finally scramble up. We’d made it! Next time I’ll have to look further around to see if its easier were the map suggests.
There was a strange noise. Too big for a snake. Sure enough, scanning the tree I found a goanna climbing upwards. By the time I spotted it again for Mum to see it was nearly at the top of the tree!

We climbed a pagoda to get through the second cliffline and were soon walking back to camp.

We packed up camp and began the weary walk back to the car. There was a possible storm coming our way. The temperature dropped which was nice. We got a few fat drops but it ended up being a dry storm. Mum struggled with energy on the way back.

All in all it was a great trip. Everything went to plan. Two nice canyons. And neither day was overly long. The gradient map proved to be useful in finding a pass. Though it was also inaccurate in that it had shown ways out at the end of the first canyon that didn’t exist. Perhaps the overhung canyon walls?

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