Wollangambe One (Upper Tourist Section)

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T2
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Wollangambe One (Upper Tourist Section)

Post by T2 » 22 Jun 2018, 14:29

Wollangambe One is a great introductory canyon near Mount Wilson. It is extremely popular in the summer months. Most of the canyon involves floating down the river with high sandstone wall on both sides. There are plenty of opportunities to climb up on the sides and jump into the water. Immediately downstream from the exit to this is the equally impressive Wollangambe Two (Lower Tourist Section).

Difficulty — Easy
Time — 6 to 8 hours
Distance — 8kms
Elevation — 320m
Abseils — none
Swimming — Yes
Quality — 6/10

*** WARNING *** In recent years there have been a large number of unprepared groups requiring rescue from the Wollangambe River. In the worst case, a young man died after his group became lost. Make sure your group knows that canyoning is a strenuous activity requiring good fitness. Completing this trip usually takes 6 to 8 hours, but large or slow moving groups will often require up to 10 hours. It requires a descent and ascent of more than 300 vertical metres, including an exposed climb up tree roots. It also involves long, cold swims and climbing around large, house-sized boulders. Ensure your group has the appropriate equipment, including a first aid kit, floatation, and thermals or wetsuits for warmth. Make sure you have a map and compass — and know how to use them — as mobile phones do not have reception. Exits can be easy to miss. Be prepared to spend the night in the canyon if you need to stay with an injured party member or run out of daylight.

Access:

Drive to Mount Wilson, via Bells Line of Road. Once in Mt Wilson, continue a short distance until you see the Fire Station on your left. There is a large parking area in front of it, although this is often overflowing on busy summer days.

Equipment:

Lilos or some form of floatation is required. While there are several scrambling sections, most of your time in this canyon is spent swimming in deep water. Wetsuits and/or thermals will also make the trip much more pleasant. The rocks can be extremely slippery, so ensure shoes have exceptional grip.

Entry:

Follow the fire trail just to the left of the fire station. In less than 200m you will come to a T-intersection. Turn left and follow this trail. The fire trail passes over the top of the hill, where there is a foot track that provides a shortcut on your right. This soon crosses another fire trail where a sign marks the start of the track to the Wollangambe River.
The one point where people run into trouble is where the track branches below a large sandstone outcrop. Avoid the track on the left as it will take you further upstream and add at least an hour to your day.
As you get close to the river the track swings sharply to the left, following along a small cliff above a gully. There is a steep climb down into the gully using tree roots before the track continues to the river.

Canyon section:

The canyon starts with a long swim just after you reach the river. This is the point to put on wetsuits and inflate your floatation device.
For the next few hours the canyon involves floating through long, deep pools between the impressive canyon walls. There are some sections that require scrambling over rocks and through vegetation. In some places route finding can be challenging and it may take time to find the easiest way through.
There are a number of points where you can climb up the cliffs on the side of the canyon and jump into the water (always check the depth first).

Exit:

The traditional exit is at a small sandy beach where a gully comes down on the right. A small sign (black arrow on yellow background) is attached to the cliff marking the way. This exit is initially very steep and includes a section where an exposed section must be climbed using tree roots. Follow the track up hill until it meets a fire trail where you turn right. Follow this back to the entry track.
Alternatively, it is possible to continue downstream (starting with a 2m scramble or jump) to the next exit. This will add about an hour to the trip, so do not attempt it if your group is slow or running short on time. This exit begins on the right hand side about 100m before the next major creek junction (Why Don't We Do It In The Road Canyon / Serendipity Canyon). Follow the track up the hill, past a track that comes in on your left, until it joins up with the normal exit track. Head left and continue up the hill to the fire trail (as above).

Tom Brennan has produces an extremely useful map (below) showing the popular canyons and access tracks around this area. The full version can be found here: http://ozultimate.com/canyoning/maps/wo ... anyons.pdf
gambe.jpg
Original: http://ozultimate.com/canyoning/maps/wollangambe_canyons.pdf
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User avatar
T2
Site Admin
Posts: 376
Joined: 15 May 2018, 10:33
Full name: Tim Vollmer
City: Blaxland
State: New South Wales

Re: Wollangambe One (Upper Tourist Section)

Post by T2 » 07 Oct 2021, 10:51

Mt Wilson Mt Irvine RFS undertake a lot rescues in the Wollangambe -- most weekends during summer -- and most of them could be avoided with proper preparation and planning.

They have installed new signage to ensure groups heading into the area understand what the trips involve and are properly prepared. Simple things like a dry set of clothes and matches can make a big difference if your group needs to stay in the canyon overnight. By being properly prepared, we help free up rescue resources to respond to genuine life-and-death emergencies. A PDF copy of the signs can be downloaded by clicking here.

Here is the full text of the warnings.
A MESSAGE TO CANYONERS FROM THE MT WILSON MT IRVINE RURAL FIRE BRIGADE

WALK WARNING

THE LOCAL RFS WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU, JUST NOT TONIGHT IN A CANYON, SO PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION BELOW AND IF YOU ARE NOT PROPERLY EQUIPPED TO CANYON SAFELY, PLEASE DO NOT PROCEED PAST THIS SIGN

Canyoning is a strenuous day. Getting to and from the canyon requires a descent and ascent of over 300m on a track that is steep and rocky in places. The entry/exit tracks require an exposed climb on tree roots.

The canyon involves many long, cold swims, for which lilos and wetsuits are recommended, and there is a significant amount of climbing up, down, and around house-sized boulders.

The exits may be hard to identify and can easily be missed.

Parties need to ensure that all members are capable and know what the day entails.


LENGTH OF TRIP

WE WANT YOU TO GET HOME SAFELY AFTER YOUR CANYONING TRIP. CANYONING CAN BE DANGEROUS AND WE HAVE HELPED IN A NUMBER OF RESCUES OVER THE YEARS. WE WILL BE THERE TO HELP BUT PLEASE TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS SO THAT YOU CAN COMPLETE YOUR TRIP SAFELY.

It is a full day activity. Expect to take 6 to 8 hours:- up to 10 hours for bigger or slower groups.

Make sure you are prepared to spend a night in the canyon, to stay with an injured party member or due to running out of daylight.

Make sure those at home have a realistic time of return and are prepared for the group to be out overnight without unnecessarily calling in emergency services.

There is only patchy mobile coverage once you leave here and no coverage in the canyons.

Know what track you are on and what canyon you are doing.

It can take 3 to 4 hours for rescue parties to reach injured people.


GEAR REQUIRED

CANYONING CAN BE DANGEROUS. IT IS EASY TO GET INTO TROUBLE. WE ARE THERE TO HELP BUT WOULD MUCH PREFER THAT YOU ARE FULLY AWARE OF THE DANGERS AND TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS. LET’S NOT MEET BY ACCIDENT.
  • Carry a PLB to give location if injured or lost. Please only set off if genuine injury or life at risk.
  • Map and compass, plus be able to navigate in and out of the canyon. Do not rely on mobile phones for maps as they are of no use when flat or wet.
  • Gear needs to be waterproofed in dry bags or a number of sealed garbage bags.
  • Head torch, first aid kit and matches.
  • Lilo, plus wet-suit or thermals for in the water.
  • Warm dry clothing (thermals and woolen jumper or fleece).
  • Suitable footwear for both walk in and walking in the water/canyon (good grip)

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