After exploring Dalpura Ridge on a CWBW trip I have been planning to return and combine a few canyons…
Dalpura and Birrabang don’t really have any abseils (though there will prob be some climbs in Birrabang since we will be reversing it). I think the abseils in Better Offer aren’t too hard, though the last one might have a tricky start.
I would like to start by dropping into Dalpura and then exiting to the east to do Better Offer, and finally exit via Birrabang – since this means ‘rest’ hopefully it won’t matter if we are tired 🙂
This has the potential to be a long trip so make sure you bring a headlamp. Wetsuits shouldn’t be required, but seeing as there will be wades (and potential short swims) I would throw some thermals into your pack (a small dry bag is prob recommended).
I would like to have an early start. If you are stuck for transport I can pick people up (and drop them off) from Bell train station.
After having a full group, I was a little annoyed about all the people who dropped out… but in a way I was also happy as I prefer smaller groups. With these mixed feelings we met on the Bells Line of Road where Dalpura Ridge starts and walked out along the old firetrail.
As we got closer, we entered an open area I couldn’t recall from my last trip here. We followed this down and after contouring around the nose of the ridge found our way in. We had a look at the bottom of the jump-in (to check depth etc – it was much shallower than I recalled) and then we all headed up to do the jump.
We finished the canyon much quicker than I expected and after a quick stop to admire the view we tried the exit gulley I wanted to try out. It turned out to be great walking and was even quite pretty in a couple of spots where the water had cut into the sandstone.
It wasn’t long before we where back on the ridges, and then a track that seemed to be heading towards the traditional exit gully.
We soon spotted our creek, and after a quick bite to eat tackled our first drop which could easily have been bypassed. It was a short drop – probably a couple of metres at most – but was deceptively tricky due to the fact it was overhung and slippery. (We did it as a hand over hand).
After some more creek walking the next drop suddenly appeared. It was quite barrow and was actually starting to look canyony here! But the constriction didn’t last…
Some more creek walking ensued before the creek narrowed again. We came across a slide that probably warranted a handline, but we all slid down instead, the impact at the bottom pushing us back onto our feet.
The next canyon section began with a short pitch that landed us into a chestdeep pool – I think this was the first time we got this wet (excluding Dalpura).
The constriction was short lived and finished where another major creek entered from the right. There was a bit of a scramble to get out. Scott climbed up to the left, I to a precise jump into shallow water between some logs, and Ruby stepped down to the right of the water.
In the open area, we walked across a giant gum that looked like it had fallen in the last week. The ferns around the top of its horizontal trunk all looked fresh and there was still moisture clinging to the flayed roots.
Shortly after was a big abseil down a waterfall (two 40s should just make it). You could scramble the first bit but there wasn’t an obvious anchor. There was a bit of an overhang at the bottom which pushed you into the water.
Immediately following this was a short final drop that was fairly slippery. What I liked most about this pitch was the way the creek did a sharp bend around what appeared to be a narrow stone wall. Next time I’m back I’ll have to remember to have a better look around from the top.
Soon we could see out into the Grose Valley, and we soon headed left onto some ledges that would hopefully save us the longer trip down into the valley.
There where some great views along hear and the combination of sun and pleasant wind we soon found an ideal lunch spot (and as Scott pointed out: complete with phone reception!).
As we continued around the ledges we came to one very doggy spot, as I scuttled across, trying not to look down, I was a little worried about the others who I hadn’t been canyoning with before. I was relieved when everyone was across.
I scouted ahead and soon came back confirming that we where cliffed out. On the up side there where plenty of solid trees, and our bonus abseil looked like it would drop us onto a suitable ledge to reach Birrabang Brook.
The plan worked! and we where soon scrambling up our third ‘canyon’ for the day. After gaining some height the cliffs began to draw closer to each other and we passed what I thought was our optional exit gully – but everyone was happy to continue.
I got some practice in at counting creeks but was a little confused when we got to a pass on the left with a red ribbon tied around a large fern… was this the exit gully?? It didn’t really matter as we where continuing anyway, but I started to doubt where we where on the map.
Around the next corner I was surprised to see someone approaching from ahead, and even more surprised when it turned out to be my mum! She mentioned she was going to do Dalpura, I think she decided to come down Birrabang as she’d run into us (?).
We continued upstream, up a couple of small climbs (all pretty easy), using the bearings of the brook and side creeks to orientate ourselves.
Quicker than expected, we reached our exit ridge. We weren’t completely sure, but any doubt was soon extinguished when, we came across a distinguished track – extinguished/distinguished 😉
After some easy walking, we where back at the road and paralleled it back to our cars with plenty of light to spare – yay!
I read in the car for an our or two to make sure mum got back safely.