Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cronus Falls

my campsite

Trip Report – Christys canyon – 31 Mar-1 Apr 2012
Party: Tony Ruzek, Sharon Roche & Chris Birdwick
We met up in Kanangra early on Saturday morning. Here we consolidated our gear and decided to have a crack at both Dione Dell and Middle Christys over the two days we had. I also persuaded Tony and Sharon to leave behind their stoves as we’d have a camp fire instead.
We made the short walk into the Dione Dell creek and walked down the creek to the first abseil. The water was still up from all the summer rains, so we got wetter than expected. Tony and Sharon smartly changed into wetsuits before the first abseil. It was also a bit fresh in the mornings being one month into Autumn. There were 4 nice abseils in total before we reached Margaret falls and had lunch at the edge. We admired the views as we planned our next moves.
Not having enough rope to descend down Margaret Falls, we needed to walk around the side and re-enter the creek a little below the falls. This involved ascending to the main ridge, a short walk along it, then taking a steep side ridge back down into Christys Creek. We knew this would take some time and would likely mean a compromised campsite in the middle of the canyon.
Overall, the walk around Margaret Falls wasn’t bad except for the very last part as it became very steep and some searching was required before finding a way down without needing to abseil. Also, along the ridge top I stumbled too closely upon an olive coloured snake (possibly a brown snake) which reared up a little before we both retreated.
We were back in the creek mid afternoon, and first had a short drop to descend before hitting Cronus Falls.
Our progress was slowed considerably by the steeply dropping creek and extremely slippery conditions. Almost every rock was a slippery hazard needing very careful movements to avoid falling. We guessed this was because of the wet Summer.
We arrived to Cronus falls and they were spectacular! But it was starting to cool down as night approached and there was a gushing cold wind coming off the falls at the base. We all became cold and began shivering a little as we descended and made a short swim out of the pool at the bottom. We needed to keep moving or find camp somewhere.
We continued on through this impressive gorge, warming up a little as we did. We had just passed a dead floating animal in the water, when we found a small flattish area about 1 hour before dusk that would suffice for our campsite – with a few leeches and stinging nettles.
We put up our tent and fly, changed into dry clothes and then set about trying to find some dry firewood for cooking. However, almost everything was sodden and covered in moss. We found a few less sodden dead twigs up some trees and the like, and then attempted to get a fire started. After a bit of effort we had a very small fire going but didn’t have much wood to keep it going or make it bigger. All we could manage was to barely boil enough water for two of our three meals - which we then had to share. This was enjoyed with some wine, cheese and cognac.
We didn’t plan to get up early the next morning as we knew it would be cold, but knew we couldn’t leave too late as we still had quite a few abseils to get through. The abseils continued as we passed Barralliers Falls, and the canyon closed in through one impressive section. There were a number of short swims, often at the base of the numerous falls. We got some sun in the middle of the day and we were gratefully warmed up.
On the last drop I opted for a small water jump, then it was a few hundred metres to the junction with Wheengee Whungee creek where we had a late lunch. We also noticed some trout darting about, but didn’t have time to attempt catching any.
Then it was time for the climb and walk out. Just as we began to ascend up the steep ridge to Mount Great Groaner, a storm front came through with thunder and lightning close by, some small hail and extreme wind. A short while later it eased up as we continued along Colboyd ridge back to the road. We made it just in time arriving at dusk, and also picked up a few annoying leeches along the way.
It was quite a challenging trip, but extremely enjoyable and a great canyon.