Cocktails on Ben Lomond

Some things in 2016 were just meant to happen. Perhaps Brexit and Trump are the logical expression of rising inequality and anxiety about neoliberalism and globalisation? And perhaps the universe had plans to correct our absence from the ANU Mountaineering Club’s annual Cocktails on the Castle event by encouraging us to host our own in…

Bungonia Canyon

“It’s like walking through an Annika painting” mused Josh as we scrambled down the much-maligned Bungonia creek gorge. Having spent the previous weekend at the Blue Mountains canyons of the Wollemi, and discussed extensively during the 5 hours of driving in each direction that the Blue Mountains really are quite a long way away, this…

Mt Wilson Canyoning

“Geronimo!” So screamed Glen Robinson on the third abseil of this Wollangambe River canyon, as he sailed past in a single jump. Our own trip there had much lower water, so we all chose to forego this tradition,* but we appreciated the sentiment of enthusiasm. We’d actually been a party of five members, driving two…

Newnes Canyoning Extravaganza

In March 1913, the crowds waited anxiously for the Lady Denman to speak. The fate of the pronunciation of the new Capital of the Federation of Australia rested on her utterance, and so the Governor-General’s wife sealed its history with her two syllable word, Can-bra. Just over a century later, of course, almost nobody cares.…

Trusting Your Life to a Carrot

Climbing up a vertical rock face, some half dozen metres above the entirely unforgiving ground, I am relying entirely on my finger strength… and a carrot. I am in the Blue Mountains, and being introduced to lead climbing. I’ve tried it once before, but for the most part I’ve always climbed using a top rope.…

Malaita Wall and Empress Canyon (Blue Mountains)

Storms are the great enemy of canyoners, turning the relatively safe and accessible sport into a potentially life-threatening trap. As such, it was a disappointing start to a three-day weekend of adventures run by the Australian National University Mountaineering Club (ANUMC) when the forecast was for thunderstorms. The enormous annual Blue Mountains Extravaganza, the BME,…

Blue Waterholes

Categorising my recent trip to the Blue Waterholes presented a challenge: Bushwalking? Canyoning? Caving? All of the above! This picturesque spot on the Cooleman Plains in Kosciuszko National Park seems to offer everything. It started with some brumby spotting (absurdly easy with the high numbers up there at the moment) on the Long Plain Road…