An Introduction to Kanangra Creek Canyons (read me first)

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DavidM
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An Introduction to Kanangra Creek Canyons (read me first)

Post by DavidM » 10 Apr 2019, 17:36

Use these descriptions at your own risk. You are responsible for your and your party's safety.

There are six canyons leading into Kanangra Creek. By the writer's judging of order of difficulty:
- Kalang Falls. More an abseil trip, usually dry
- Kanangra Main
- Danae Brook
- Davies (usually overnight)
- Thurat Rift (usually overnight)
- Carrabeanga (overnight)

Kanangra Canyons are very different from Blue Mountains canyons. Overall, they are bigger and harder
- Much more vertical. Abseils are long, with most canyons containing some 60m drops
- Many abseils, typically 10-15
- Steep trackless walkouts of 600m or more altitude gain
- Some have challenging navigation for the walk in and exit
- Loose rock, loose slopes underfoot, and scratchy prickly bush
- Remote
- Long days, commonly 8-12 hours

Some recommendations for those new to Kanangra:
- Become familiar with Kanangra conditions. They are very different from the Blue Mountains
- Do the easier canyons first. Do not go straight to the hardest.
- Use single-rope techniques, setting the rope length for each drop. This is much faster than lobbing your 60m rope down a short drop. Use a descender that is smooth and provides enough resistance for your single rope.
- Use a rope bag and your rucksack for rope management. Do not lob your 60m down the cliff; it will get snagged and waste your time. Learn to stuff a rope into the rope bag and/or your rucksack, not coil it after every drop.

A note for those wanting to "explore" these canyons:
The body text of the canyon route descriptions is minimal, other than The Slot. It contains a very short introduction, and route information largely by means of grid references to find the canyon and to exit. The abseils information and GPS files are separate attachments. If for some reason you want a mystery tour in the wilderness, just read the text section. However, at least one member of the party should carry and have available the abseil information, and have the GPS information loaded into a device, to be used if necessary. For Carabeanga due to previous fatalities the crux abseils are presented inline.

A note for visiting foreign canyoners:
Most Kanangra canyons are v4a2 to v4a3. The ropework is not difficult, it's that the abseils are long. The rivers are not aquatic, except if it rains hard. The water is not particularly cold. Navigation and the conditions for the walk-in/out are probably much harder and the walks much longer and more vertical than you are used to. The anchors are very much poorer than you may be used to. A good suggestion is to post on the "Blue Mountains Canyoning" or the "OzCanyons" Facebook groups for local canyoners to take you on a trip. If you do one Kanangra canyon, it has to be Kanangra Main via The Slot v4a2/3 (depending on rain); it's nice and sporty and vertical, with minimal walking to the canyon and between abseils (but a steep walk out).
19/7/19



Chris Koziarz
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Re: An Introduction to Kanangra Creek Canyons (read me first)

Post by Chris Koziarz » 23 Jul 2019, 16:55

Hi David,
Can you explain (or point out the link explaining) the mysterious, multi-components grading of Kanangra canyons, e.g. what do you mean by a grade of v4a2VI*** (4 components I presume)?

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T2
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Re: An Introduction to Kanangra Creek Canyons (read me first)

Post by T2 » 24 Jul 2019, 15:56

Chris,
David is using the European canyon grading system. It was developed in the early 2000s by a number of people bodies in France (with people from canyoning, caving, climbing and mountaineering backgrounds). Since then it has become the dominant grading system in areas with flowing water canyons. It is also used in countries where canyoning is a newer pursuit, so hasn't developed its own local rating system. These descriptions are pretty standard now across Europe and in New Zealand. They are particularly helpful for outlining aquatic challenges, such as hydraulics.
The Kiwi Canyons page has a good explanation of the rating system: http://www.kiwicanyons.org/legend/grading/
The basic aim is to provide a summary of the technical difficulty, the level of commitment, and the quality of the canyon in a short, simple, consistent way.
The ‘v’ stands for vertical difficulty, and is followed by a number from 1 to 7. The ‘a’ stands for aquatic, and is again followed by a number from 1 to 7. The roman numerals cover commitment, which essentially covers how long a trip it is, approach time, difficulty in escaping a flash flood, etc. Finally, the stars are an indication of quality.
All of these points are subjective to some degree, but they are about providing more information than the Jamieson grading often used in the Blue Mountains.
Personally, I'm yet to come across a perfect rating system that covers the diversity of canyons. In Australia, where aquatic challenges are minimal, that component is of limited use. On the other hand, navigation and route finding to remote wilderness canyons can be extremely difficult, but isn't really covered.
I hope that helps.
T2

Chris Koziarz
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Re: An Introduction to Kanangra Creek Canyons (read me first)

Post by Chris Koziarz » 29 Jul 2019, 15:29

Thanks Tim.
Of all canyons I visitted in NSW, only Kanangra (maybe Bungonia that I'm yet about to visit) fit well into this EU/Kiwi grading system. Maybe if we include bushwalking (incl tricky access through properties) component into commitment grade, then all wilderness canyons (esp. N Wollemi) will be v1-2a1VI. I personally grade access through properties (that includes various NP restrictions, like exclusion zones of rare vegetation) the most difficult, often insurmountable challenges. Simply because I don't have negotiating skills and not enough money to pay fines & time to go to jail. For everything else in OZ canyons, there is a rope & descender & bushwalking skills.

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