Awesome!!! Davies Canyon is one of of the best canyons I've done, but really Tuff. It's actually an open gorge rather than a canyon, but boy is it spectacular!
I'd previously written this up in another website which was hacked so hopefully I've remembered it correctly. It's entirely possible that I may have exagerated certain aspects of the trip ;-)
We'd been organising this trip for a while and Stuart had decided to buy a new rope to match his existing rope for the long 50m abseils, what dedication is that? But why did he choose 11mm instead of 9mm? Unlike many other canyons, there really wasn't much info on the internet on Davies apart from what was available on Tom Brennan's Ozultimate site, so it was bound to be an exciting adventure.
Day 1: Friday Arvo - Along the Ridge
Davies is long. You'd have to move reasonably quickly to do it in two days and seeing as we'd all well and truly reached our use by date, we decided to head off on Friday arvo and camp on the saddle on the ridge, then drop into Sally Camp Creek the following morning.
So we parked the car at the start of the King Pin firetrail and headed off at around 5:00pm. The first part of the walk along the firetrail is pretty boring, but it soon peters out to pleasant walking along the ridge along a difficult to follow faint trail amongst the Banksias.
We arrived at our designated camping area at around 6:30pm just as it was getting dark. We of course knew that the forecast was for a light drizzle that evening and of course, as soon as we'd picked our camping spot and lit our fire it started drizzling.
It is well known that the IT industry tends to attract all sorts of unusual individuals and that many suffer from Aspergers. Now, I don't know if Stuart suffers from Aspergers but, does anyone out there know of anyone else who enjoys eating Tripe, never mind bringing the stuff on a canyoning trip? But wait there's more - Stuart is a also a card carrying member of the Tripe Society. WTF?
We all brought bivi bags with us. I borrowed one from my long time climbing partner Greg. Based on my single night spent in a bivi bag with drizzly rain, I can honestly say that I'd rather gouge my own eyes out with a rusty spoon than sleep in a bivvy bag again.
Day 2: Davies Canyon
We woke around at 6:30ish, drained the water our of bivvy bags and then settled down for a quick breakfast. It was good to see that Stuart didn't have Tripe or other weird stuff for breakfast.
I think I may have mentioned that navigation in this part of the world is challenging even with a GPS? We dropped off the saddle at around MGA330417 but in retrospect I think we would have been better off heading up the the little hill at MGA333419 and then following the spur N then NW into Sally Camp Creek. So, even with our GPS we managed to drop off down into Sally Camp Creek too early, which probably added an extra hour to our trip - it didn't take long to realise that we were off route, but the hill was a steep scree slope so by then heading straight down was pretty much the only option.
We got to Sally Camp Creek at around 08:00 and then spent an hour and half getting to the first exciting 50m abseil at around 09:30. There are a few options for the descent here, including the Pikers Variant, which is to walk down the gully opposite the prow. We off course chose the most exciting and spectacular option which was the 50m abseil off the very narrow prow.
We arrived at the next spectacular 50m abseil at 11:50 - which is only 15-20 minutes downstream of the first abseil. Its so easy to lose track of time when you're absorbing the wonderful scenery around here. From memory, this abseil can be done as a series of three abseils or one large 50m abseil.
At about 13:00 after some difficult walking mostly on the side of the creek we got to this funky little waterfall. I really felt like going for a water slide, only problem was that if I did I'd be pretty mangled by the end of it.
20 mins later after a few more interesting creek crossings we arrived upon the remains of what I presume was not a very good Rock Wallaby and most likely a Rock Wobbly that had slipped and fell.
The next abseil, only 10m downstream from the unfortunate Rock Wobbly, was awesome - straight down the middle of a small waterfall as you can see from the photo montage of Andrew.
25 minutes further downstream and we came across this amazing moss filled area. It's the sort of place where you'd really want to set up camp - soft moss to lie on all night and just beautiful. I've not seen anything like this on any other canyon I've done. Of course you wouldn't camp here as you'd wreck the moss garden - but someone had previsouly done so and lit a fire right in the middle of it all.
We got to the final 50m abseil a little after 16:00. And again, it was awesome. Getting down to the abseil point is a little precarious. The pool at the bottom is lovely and flows into a narrow canyon section which looked like great fun, but seeing as none of brought wetsuits, we decided to walk around it.
After this the walking becomes difficult and scrubby in sections with the final part of the walk to the junction of Whalania Creek and our campsite for the night skirting up alongside the creek which was not easy. But, we were able to make friends and share lunch with some of the locals which is always a bonus.
We finally arrived at the junction of Whalania and Sally Camp Creek just as it started to get dark. We found a slightly sloping rock ledge, which became our camp for the night.
Day 3: 4 hour Slog up Mt Paralyser and back to the cars
Here's our lovely sloping campsite. We awoke at 6:30ish and started up Mt Paralyser at around 7:00. Mt Paralyser is seriously steep. It is in fact the steepest hill I've walked up. Some sections are at a 45 deg angle and you need to get on all fours to get up the thing. Overall its approximately an 800 metre vertical rise over a 1500 metres horizontally.
Andrew had hurt his knee, so I was carrying one 11mm rope, and it wasn't long before fate intervened and Stuart had a diabetes attack. I must say that one of the most impressive things I've ever seen is watching Stuart shove handful after handful after handful of Jelly Beans down his throat to counter the diabetes attack. 15 minutes and 1kg of Jelly Beans later and Stuart was hot to trot again. Although I had to take the 2nd 11mm rope which made for a heavy pack.
Four hours later and we got to the top of Mt Paralyser. I did have a few slips on the way up due to steepness of terrain and weight of pack - which resulted in me having sore knees for a couple of months afterwards. At the top there's a log book and it was interesting to note, based on the entries that on average only two parties per year do the trip. Coincidentally, one party had been ahead of us the whole trip and had camped around 2.5km further downstream on the North Eastern end of Mt Paralyser. As the North Eastern Spur is half as steep as what we walked up it only took them two hours to get to the top - I also suspect they may have been younger and fitter.
It took most of the rest of the day to get back to the cars as it was another few hours of walking along the ridge.
We stopped in at Hampton Pub for a well earned beer and got back to Sydney at around 7:30.