Jugglers Canyon Ð Friday 14th April 2006
Karen & Michael Buchegger, Mick O'Neill
This was our second canyon in two days, having done Serendipity the day before. Michael led that flawlessly and today it was Karen's turn to lead her first canyon - quite an effort considering she did her first abseil canyon the day before!
This time we drove right down to Tower 20 and left the car there at about 8am. from the car we walked about 100m up the power lines firebreak along the edge of the tree line to find the track. We followed the track and within 5 minutes from leaving the car, we found the entry track heading right at a large burnt out tree and down into the creek.
Almost immediately after reaching the creek we took off our packs for the first climb down and used a short rope to hand-over-hand down the first "abseil". There was another climb down which was OK for tall people with long legs but a challenge for others.
Ten to fifteen minutes later we were at the second abseil and karen used our brand new 37m, 10mm rope to set up using an italian hitch tied off with two half hitches and clipped into another carabiner. michael was first down with his right foot on the large log and his left on the rock wall. just before the bottom he used the small ledges to work his way around the pool to avoid getting wet. karen dismantled the setup, fed the rope bag through the sling and threw it down. She then descended on double rope and I followed. At the bottom we found there was 10m of rope spare making the abseil 13-14 m. We finished this abseil at about 9.10am and the next drop was just around the corner. Michael captured this abseil on video and it is good to watch if you turn your TV on its side! Good one Michael.
We carefully walked along the narrow ledge to the tree to set up for the next drop. The tree is close to the edge but here is a convenient ledge below it which makes the start quite easy. I can't remember the size of this abseil but it is less about 12-15m and is all free fall. You must stay connected to a safety line until you are ready to go as you are standing right at the edge.
Just around the corner is the last drop of about 18m. the anchor tree, a assuring on the left, is very close to the edge and the lip of the overhang is very thin, making the start awkward but if you use the higher sling option from a fork in the tree, this makes it quite easy. Each abseiler should watch and direct the rope as it settles on the edge at the start to make sure it isn't resting on a sharp section. Karen once again set up cautiously but flawlessly and we were all soon at the bottom, a bit disappointed to be finished a very pleasant canyon.
As we had a long drive ahead of us back to Coolamon, we skipped the visit to Beauchamp Falls and headed back to the car. We headed left up Greaves Creek and were soon at the junction with Grand Canyon. We headed left again and after a short, pleasant walk we found the Pilcher Track directly under the power lines high in the sky above. We had a rest to cool down and have a drink as the temperature was already in the low 30's. heading up the exit track, we came to a rock shelf with a long shallow cave. there was a clear track both left and right here and Michael and I couldn't remember for sure which way we went last time. We turned right this time and Karen continued to set a good pace up in front. To our surprise the track became less distinct and then abruptly disappeared. Apparently we should have turned left along the caves! Since we were near the top of the climb and heading in the right direction, we decided to continue, knowing that we must eventually find the track again as it zigzags up the hill. About 50m further on we were back on the track and heading for the car.
To our surprise it only took us about 30 minutes from the Grand canyon track to the car which we reached at 11.20am. It was very satisfying for me to see both Michael and karen grow in confidence and skills and perform so well leading their first canyons, (Michael having lead us through Serendipity the day before). it was a great couple of days and none of us was looking forward to the long drive home. Karen was kind enough to keep us awake and "entertained" with her regular conversation on the way home.
Thanks to both for a fantastic couple of days and to my brother John for his very generous hospitality. - Can't wait for the next trip!