Attendees: Tanner, Leo, Ruby and I

Sat 30th:

I thought I had plenty of time, but by the time I had dropped the hitchhiker off and refueled my car it was eight by the time I located the others car at the Cathedral of Ferns. I wasn’t strictly late, but I hadn’t packed yet… luckily not everyone else was packed either.
By the time we where all ready it was about half past. I probably looked a little funny eating yogurt from my green, ceramic, smiley face bowl, but it still tasted good.

We where walking in via the ‘Gammbe two exit track, which went well despite taking the slightly longer fire trail without the gate. Before the firetrail ended, I stowed my bowl behind a distinguishable fallen tree with skeletal flayed branches and hoped it would be there on the way back.

We crossed the ‘Gammbe and after putting our still dry shoes back on used the convenient permanent rope left at a climb at the start of the gully. I wasn’t too sure where the track for Waterfall of Moss went and hadn’t really put any thought into it being difficult; we however managed to pass it.
The route we took went left up an obvious pass next to the cliffline. We then scrambled up and followed the cliffs left, but soon noticed we were paralleling the canyon with no easy way up in site.
We passed a possible climbing route, but I didn’t really want to do any serious climbs with that kind of exposure so made the call to continue. We soon came across some anchors and I figured we where at one of the side creeks that could be used to enter the canyon. I scrambled up a bit, and after a quick evaluation was pretty confident we could reverse the pitch via a ledge. After some pack passing we where all safely up. The next abseil was even easier to reverse and it wasn’t long before we where on top of the ridge and heading towards the route I walked out on last trip.

Progress was good and can probably be attributed to the fires that have cleared a lot of the scrub. We where soon crossing the two peaks around 557 958 and I decided to try the creek to the north rather than the larger to the west that I had originally planned on trying, after some down climbing it became apparent we weren’t getting into the Yarramun this way and we contoured round to the other creek and managed to find a more suitable way down.
We had lunch on the banks of the Yarramun and crossing a log bridged across the water continued to scrub bash to the next creek. There where some interesting plants in here and it had a different feel to it though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why except for the Kangaroo Pears, two kinds of Native Tomato, + ??

A couple of hours later and we where finally at our first canyon for the trip – it was a really long walk in and I can understand why people don’t frequent this area.
As we continued along the creek we did a few wades but in general didn’t come across anything canyon like. The creek then seemed to end… except for a climb down into a hole. Excited, I climbed down and had a look around. Even after my eyes had adjusted, I couldn’t see a way on. I borrowed a headlamp and after locating a way on popped my head around a corner and spotted glowworms glowing on the roof above. I immediately turned the light of and told the others so we wouldn’t make too much noise. Blindly I felt my way onwards enjoying the starry scene above me despite the gunk (probably charcoal) on the surface of the water.

We emerged from the dark into a short section of canyon. I can’t remember the order well, but there where several other dark sections and one good canyon section. I found the canyon quite strange – it was almost like most of it had collapsed.

 

 

When we reached the junction with the Yarramun, I could see why we had missed the side creek last trip – there was an abseil (around 15m I think). Looking to the cliffs to my left, I found them surprisingly familiar and I had the sneaking suspicion that the abseil wasn’t mandatory as I knew our planned camp was just under those cliffs.

Having carried the ropes, we abseiled anyway and never did verify my inkling. A few swims later and we where climbing up to our home for the night.
I quickly unpacked and was soon perched around our fire cooking my sausages (which turned out not to be enough for a hungry canyoner!).

We agreed for an early start, but after reading a bit I was quite surprised at how late it was.

Sun 01st:

By the time we had broken our fast and were packed it as around 7:30 which I was pretty sure would get us out well before dark.
We continued down the Yarramun, which was much deeper here than where we had crossed the day before. We passed the side canyon I used to exit on my last trip here an continued scrambling/rock hopping/swimming down the creek.

A while later we got to what I thought was the second side canyon. Tanner and I went to investigate. To our disappointment it only went a short way through a narrow slot before terminating at a waterfall (I’m not sure if it was the one I was looking for or not).

I tried counting creeks, and using my compass to identify the two northerly sections, but in the end this wasn’t necessary at all as the junction at Interesting Creek was so obvious it was impossible to miss.

We decided to eat once we exited onto the ridge. This proved to take longer than expected… I spoke to the others on the last trip and they had described a nice camping spot and an exit at the junction. I didn’t really see either of these things and as we continued up the creek I hoped we would find a way out.
We soon tried a pass that looked quite good, but after the climbers had several attempts at a climb. I was happy to continue on to find another way out.
Just round the corner was the ramp out I had jokingly prophesied. This headed back above the last climb to a nice lunch and de-wetsuit rock before a final scramble to the top.

After a climbing upwards and through a saddle we began to make good time as we pretty much following the same route we used to enter. Navigation was going well, and  it wasn’t long before we where dropping into the western branch of Waterfall of Moss… or so I thought. In hindsight there where lots of signs this wasn’t the case: For starters if I wasn’t so confident, checking my compass would have revealed we where in fact dropping down on the wrong side of the ridge. Additionally, the bearing of the creeks where a full 90degrees out!
Anyway, having packed my compass and map away, we continued down the choosy creeks and I think we all began to wander why it was taking so long. We eventually got to a wonderful section of canyon, but even here there where signs that we where wrong – such as debris and lack of footprints (we had heard there was a group doing the canyon on this day).

When the canyon finished and opened back into creek, there was no doubt left that we where not where we intended {Update: the canyon we ended up doing instead of Waterfall of Moss was Oldman Canyon}. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but Ruby had run out of food and needed to start eating the last snacks everyone else had to keep her sugar levels up. It was a bit more serious than I expected, and I think a switch sort of clicked and I switched into leader mode. I sent Leo back up the creek to look for an exit, whilst Tanner and I pulled out a map and GPS to work out the best route to take. We where quite far of course, but luckily it looked like easy walking if we could find a way through the cliffline. Right on cue, Leo returned advertising our way out.

We climbed through up to the 819m mark and continued across a narrow section to the main ridge line. We circumnavigated a valley and then began looking for the track that again eluded us. We tried reversing the creek with the hand line, but our attempt was foiled by a large drop… not giving up I scouted ahead along a ridge and called called back to the others when I found a way down the first cliffline. We dropped down and I began fearing we would never get down hear when I stumbled across a neat pass that looked like it would drop us right at the bottom of the drop we had stood above several minutes ago. It didn’t let us down and we where soon on the other side of the Gambbe with darkness right on our heels.
By the time we reached the firetrail it was completely dark and a light drizzle began to fall. We picked my bowl up from beneath its guardian tree and taking the shorter route this time soon arrived arrived with increased rainfall to our transport.

Despite plans of eating, Tanner decided to head off, leaving the three of us to cook on Leo’s small metho stove. I soon became impatient and visited our neighbour on the other side of the shelter. To my disappointment, he didn’t have one either, but he did offer us cheese and apples which I hungrily accepted.
On seeing Leo’s stove he remembered he did indeed have a similar cooker and my noodles where soon ready.
?? (Name) had run a Wollongambe trip with a crazy number of people (something like 30) and had left his jumper and car keys at the lookout (we didn’t see it because it was dark), and has to break into his own car – which is apparently quite an easy thing to do.

Leaving my beer to ?? I was the last of our party to leave. I called home to let mum know we where safely out and then drove to Blackheath to be mistaken for a burglar again 😉

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