The rugged region of the Blue Mountains is home to hundreds of Australia’s slot canyons.
Just like skiing is popular in Switzerland, so is canyoneering in Australia. However, only a handful of daring Australians manage to descend into these deep fissures. They are created by the erosive effects of water rushing through sandstone.
Australia’s slot canyons are nothing like those in Utah, Jordan or Corsica. Here you can see many narrow passage-ways and strange rock formations. But what’s typical of this part of the world is canyoneering, also known as ‘bushwalking’. It’s the Australian term for extreme hiking, which involves the use of special climbing gear. The only difference is that climbers go down canyon walls, instead of up.
Cascades of mammoth ferns flourish in the humid air trapped between Claustral Canyon’s narrow walls. The canyon was named for its claustrophobia-inducing passage.
The biggest slots were first explored in 1960s, when modern equipment was finally adopted. Without it, Aborigines couldn’t reach some of the most inaccessible canyons of the country’s Blue Mountain region. Along with good technical equipment and even better climbing skills, canyoneering also requires good physical shape.
Only the driven climbers are daring enough to explore new canyons. One of the most experiencing canyoneers Dave Noble searches for the most remote and difficult to access canyons. He says: “The darker, the narrower, the twistier-the better.”
There is still a number of undiscovered canyons in this region. Noble says:
“”Wilderness canyons should be left undescribed, so they remain pristine and so others can have the challenge of exploring them on their own. That’s part of the mystery.”
Photo Credit: Carsten Peter/National Geographic Stock