Whungee Whengee – Sat 18th of Jan 2014
Attendees: Me, Mum, Kent, Jamie, Joe, Max, Louise, Tim, John, Tony, Peter

After a long train trip home which ended in a fight on the platform, I woke surprisingly early and lay in bed for some time before packing.

Mum and I then drove to the Cathedral of Ferns camp-ground which was were we would meet with the rest of the group. Once everyone had arrived there were eleven in total;some where from recent trips (Kent, Jaimie, Joe, Louise), whilst Max is in SUSS and I did Wybird cave with him a while ago.

After everyone arrived we headed down the exit of Wollangambe 1, (in Joe’s words) ‘turning left at the ant hill’.
When we got to the Wollangambe river some opted to take their shoes off to keep their feet dry a while longer. I took the ‘going for a swim’ option to cool down as it was a late start and it was getting quite hot.

We headed up the gulley on the opposite side, keeping left to get on top of the ridge-line. On the way up, Mum spotted a diamond python which was of substantial size (pretty cool!). It retreated into a hole behind a rock vanishing completely.
We kept following the ridge as it rose with the sweltering temperatures, veering to the right after about 1km. We then picked a path along a dried up river bed which led to the first abseil into the canyon.
At this point I discovered I had forgotten a descender so I (again) used a Munta hitch to descend. I was surprised at the size of the fish in the pools at the bottom of the pitch.

As we continued down the canyon it quickly narrowed into a section which was quite deep, both in terms of canyon height and water depth. There was quite a lot of gunk in the water due to the recent fires. I floated through on my back my shoulders brushing the walls on either side. I went ahead to see if it went further as most of the others who had done the canyon had hadn’t started this far up. I came to a second (third?) narrow section which seemed to end in a dead end as there was no light filtering in. I climbed up through a hole and found a sling on the other side. By this time Kent caught up and revealed that the dark dead-end actually did go though a narrow tunnel to emerge on the other side – quite cool!

 

I began to get quite cold swimming through the cold dark passages (which included a number of duck-unders) and had to stop to put on my wetsuit. It didn’t help very much to begin with as I was already quite cold. I warmed up a bit during lunch where we stopped in a sunny patch.
Not too far from our lunch spot the canyon opened up in to what would have been an ideal lunch spot… oh well. I was quite warm now and dropped down the next abseil first. It was probably the trickiest abseil of the canyon as you abseiled over the waterfall which went over some chalk stones.
I belayed a few people down and borrowed a light to explore some caves beneath the waterfall. It went in much further than I expected and there where a number of glow-worms.

 

 

The next abseil was not much further on. After some more duck unders and swims we came to a spectacular narrow section which has quite high. Not much further and another dark climb down through some boulders and we were into the warm waters of the Wollangambe. We floated down to the exit which was crowded by another group (I got changed in the water). We regrouped at the top of the first climb and continued up taking a number of breaks.

We soon turned onto the 4WD track and then turned left followed by a right and where at the cars. Despite being a little cold at the start, it was a great day. Apparently it is usually much more spectacular, but the fires have trashed it a little.

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