Upper Bowens Creek South Branch

Today was the first of Sydney North Region Scouts summer canyoning adventure weekends and I was excited to note that I’d been allocated to Upper Bowens Creek South Branch, an awesome canyon that I had done five years ago.

With 43 participants for the weekend we split up into six groups covering Yileen, Gobsmacker, 2x groups on Upper Bowens Creek South Branch, Kelvinator and Serendipity canyons.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

It was however just as well that Stuart and Josh were leading the trip because I’d pretty much forgotten most details but now that I’m safely back home and reading my previous report, there is definitely no longer a highway to the canyon but the nav is pretty simple and it wasn’t long before we spotted the first beautiful wildflowers. The best part of course being that the flowers were purple - my favourite colour!

It wasn’t too long after we spotted the flowers when one of the Vennies, who shall remain nameless, said “I think we’ve left the 40m rope in the car!”. Hmmm, do we go back for the rope or see if Alex’s group had a spare 20m rope we could borrow? Well, Alex had a spare rope and rather than run back and waste 40mins or so to retrieve said rope we borrowed Alex’s.

About 10mins later, the Vennie says, “I think I’ve left my harness in the car”. That of course was easily fixed - tape harness for you.

Finally we arrive at the first pool where we start to suit up and you wouldn’t guess what happened next? Yep - you guessed it. Helmet is also in the car keeping a close eye on the rope and harness. I lent him my helmet for the day.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Federico looks on as Josh realises that the water is a bit cold.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Josh on the first abseil belayed by Stuart - there are more pics of Alex’s group in the gallery .

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Traffic jam where the two groups collide just above the second abseil into a nice dark section.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Nicole heading into the dark hole whilst Alex ponders the logistics of getting to Gasherbrum II in a COVID-19 world.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Federico belays Robert down the second abseil into the dark hole, which actually doesn’t look very dark at all thanks to the magic of photo pfaffery.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Looking back up at the second abseil - such a beautiful little section of canyon.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Alex watches on as Jade prepares to head down the awesome 3rd abseil.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

At the bottom of the awesome 3rd abseil - immediately on the left after this abseil is a side canyon - Corkscrew Canyon, which is not worth doing in it’s own right but well worth a side trip.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Baby snake watches on as we cautiously sneak past on our way up Corkscrew Canyon. This was the first of four baby snakes that we spotted throughout the day.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

The spectacular little waterfall of Corkscrew Canyon.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Looking back down the lovely constricted and dark section of canyon in Corkscrew Canyon.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Back in Upper Bowens South.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

I need to find more superlatives. Let’s go with - an epic fern filled bend followed by:

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

this amazing section which has been undercut and would be a good 5m deep. Soon after this the canyon opens out to a nice flat area right at the junction of Hand over Hand canyon where we stopped for lunch.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

A nice section of Hand over Hand Canyon.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Looking down into the next nice dark section of canyon which can either be abseiled or if you’re one of those caving types you can go full on troglodyte and avoid the abseil.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

The very small last abseil of the canyon.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

Yet another stunning section of canyon - you can either squeeze down near the log or jump - as long as someone checks where the submerged rocks are first.

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

This is the final beautifully constricted and dark section of canyon which …

[Upper Bowens Creek South Branch canyon]

then opens out and 100m or so later is the scramble up the hill.

It was so good to do this canyon again, I had totally forgotten how awesome it is. Sure we had some gear issues to deal with but it was a good learning experience for the Vennies to realise that even with missing, dropped or lost equipment you can still safely complete your adventure.