Canyoning Robinson Creek Jan 2022

After our French Ridge tramp we drove to the Haast Pass on a very sunny day and went canyoning. Craig had picked Robinson Creek, which he’d done before. We had a bit of a gear faff in the sun at the side of the road and then set off walking up into the forest ascending for 15-20 minutes to the top of the canyon. I had my new 5 mm wetsuit which I was hoping would keep me warmer than I usually am in a canyon. Rachel squeezed into her, somewhat too small, Trademe wetsuit. This involved Craig and I lifting her up by the waist of the wetsuit and trying to shake her down into the suit.

We started with a few small abseils. It’s a very pretty river and the features weren’t too difficult. We descended and the sides became steeper until it was no longer possible to escape. We came to a section where the guide had warned us about an unprotected traverse out to the anchor bolts. Craig went first and I watched as he abseiled, then walked down a narrow slot and climbed over to the bolts. He set up the anchor there and Rachel headed down the rope next. Craig belayed Rachel across to the anchor using my climbing rope that we’d brought with us to use as a puller. I abseiled, pulled down the static rope and then headed over. Craig belayed me across to the anchor and started setting up the next abseil. Everything going to plan.

I went first and abseiled into a huge cavern. The water tumbled past me on my right and I got a little caught in the flow for a while. It hit my helmet with some weight but I slid down the rope into the water without a problem. Rachel and Craig did a better job, more or less keeping out of the flow. It was amazing looking back up to the top of the abseil and to the light coming in from the river above. It really was a huge cavern. Once the others were down we took happy snaps and then walked out to the next feature.

We had a few more small abseils and we were at the bottom of the canyon and out into the sunshine. We emerged by the road and dumped our wet gear at the layby. It was a definite high-summer feeling and I was keen to camp somewhere and relax. We drove down the road to Pleasant Flat and set up our tents in the sun dumping our gear on the grass to dry.

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