Over the last two years I’ve fallen more and more in love with canyoning. Each trip is different and as they get longer, harder and colder you really learn what mind over matter means.
Last month I embarked on an expedition called Decanyonathlon, a marathon 10 canyons through the Wollongambi Region in 48hrs. Coogee Rover Crew came up with the idea as part of the Crew Challenge, so on September 11, 13 rovers took on this challenge after many winter canyons together in preparation. Teams A & B completed the 10 canyons, and I was on the support team carrying food, equipment and shelter. I’ve never carried such a heavy pack (19kgs) let alone canyoned with one, then taking on water weight. I have also never struggled so much through a canyon.
One member of the support team injured their ankle in the Wollongambi 1 Canyon on the Saturday slowing the group right down. Packs were redistributed and paths were carefully negotiated for a wobbly limping member. We canyoned well into the dark watching night fall around us, careful to avoid hypothermia we kept moving, head torches on and paddling as hard as we could. After what felt like hours we finally saw the glow of a fire, home base already started by Team B who arrived on time before dark. Finally a chance to warm up, have dinner and get a short but much needed nights sleep.
The teamwork and support was phenomenal, we were all absolutely uncomfortable, exhausted and in this together. Two cold nights under only a tarp, one injured member who needed his pack distributed, and multiple changes to the plan later we re-emerged in Cathedral of Ferns in Mount Wilson still in one piece, and having helped complete 10 canyons. Words could never describe the feeling of accomplishment when Teams A & B finally arrived, marking the successful end of the hardest thing we’d ever done.
Click here to check out the video, settle in cause it’s half an hour, but it’s well worth the watch.