Abseiling / Canyoning / SUBW

Popeye Canyon

Party: Tim Vollmer, Tim “T1” Gastineau-Hills, Adam Perle, Kevin – photos

On New Years Eve Nosedive Canyon officially became my white whale. I’d set off with T1 and two of his friends down Popeye Canyon, which was in theory more an interesting way of approaching Nosedive than a canyon I was keen to do in its own right.

Heading out along Waratah Ridge to our starting point, it was a stunning summer day, and we were soon roughly where we needed to head off the track and into Popeye. After a bit of a look around and a small backtrack we failed to find any sign of a path, so set off through the ubiquitous spiky bush.

It wasn’t long and we were scrambling down a nice little ramp into a pretty side creek that soon joined the main creek. It was an attractive area, and very pristine until T1 disappeared for a bush bog that was the first of several delays to beset us.

Dropping down a small waterfall into the start of the 'canyon' section

Soon we moved on, gearing up just above the first abseil. It was a pleasant drop into a small dark cavern. Like most of the abseils in this otherwise rather ordinary creek it was really quite enjoyable.

To be honest, Popeye isn’t really a canyon. It has a handful of canyoniferous sections, but where it does come into its own is the large number of interesting little slides, squeezes, scrambles and small drops that make an otherwise disappointing creek very enjoyable to travel through.

Soon we were at the north branch of the Bungleboori and began to move along, enjoying some fun water jumps, as well as some rather pretty swims and canyonish sections. Unfortunately, the pleasant surrounds and lovely day had made us more than a little complacent with time, and we didn’t arrive at our lunch spot – the normal exit for Hole In The Wall – until early afternoon.

What's the opposite of a water jump? T1 tries to make it across a deep pool and onto the sand

By the time we’d done lunch there was some concern that even with a small group we could have trouble doing a new canyon, especially as Adam and Kevin were rather rusty on the whole abseiling caper! Not to mention the fact that we had to be back at Mt Wilson by dinner time to meet up with Angie and they had to be at a party in Sydney, so a night walkout wouldn’t win us any friends.

So we set off on the exit track, cursing the third failed Nosedive trip. Back at the cars we split up, with Adam and Kevin heading back into the city and T1 and 1 on to Mt Wilson for an enjoyable camp and a relaxing lilo trip down Wollangambe 1 the next day.

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