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Guide to a Fitter You

First Time At Butterbox Canyon – What a Treat

The Butterbox canyon is a canyoning trip which I had been wanting to do for years now!

Why? Because it’s one of Kerrie’s favourite canyon; and if you know Kerrie, she has done a lot of canyoning in the Blue Mountains. There are a lot of amazing canyons in the Blue Mountains so this one has to be pretty special.

However I never had to chance to do it until now. This is mainly because there is a very exposed Grade 15 rock climb that you need to do to get out of the canyon. I was worried that I might not find the spot to rock climb if I did it myself, or worse be unable to climb the grade 15 after hours of canyoning and in canyoning shoes. So when I received a message from Kerrie on whether I’m up to do Butterbox canyon, I jumped at the chance.

We met at 8:30am on a Sunday at Mount Hay road and made our way to the car park at the end of the road. It’s mainly dirt road for most of the way with lots of pot hole, so I parked my car early along the dirt road and jumped in one of the SUVs to make the bumpy drive to the car park.

View from the Car Park

From there, we grabbed our gear and made our way to the start of the canyon. One of the great things about this canyon, which I discovered towards the end is that the walk out isn’t too bad. Granted that the route is very steep, I feel like I did 2hours of step ups) and there’s the rock climb mid way, but the distance isn’t too long. My GPS told me that the total distance covered, from car park back to car park, was 5.69km.

Group Photo at the Start of the Canyon – Lots of squinty eyes as we were facing the sun.

Signage About the Canyon

Towards Canyon

Towards Canyon

It was very well signposted and not too long a walk before we got among the trees and that’s also where the visitor’s guestbook is. We signed in, noted that it was 9:32am and that there were two groups in front of us. One tour company which is a party of 6 + 2 guides and another group of 2 who were just 2 mins infront of us.

There were a number of abseils in this canyon and they all seemed pretty close to one another. We also did a number of jumps, 3 from memory. There was one more which we could have done, it would have been a 8m jump but the water level looked lower than normal so we decided to abseil down instead of jumping.

Abseiling

Abseiling

On top of that there were a number of swimming sections. Below was the first swimming section that we encountered and I was able to stay relatively dry up until that point. The water was very fresh and the temperatures dropped to 15 degrees in there.

There were a couple of swimming sections

Top of Abseil

The highlight of the canyon was a section, that is towards the end where there are two abseils in quick succession. Inbetween the two abseil is a very small rock platform which can probably only fit 5 people on it. We had a party of 5 and it felt like we were at capacity when all of us were standing on it. And at the end of the second abseil, you abseil down a waterfall into the water. From there, there is a small ledge to stay somewhere dry while belaying and then a swim to continue on.

Abseiling

At the final abseil, we were greeted with some sunshine which we were glad to have since we were all starting to feel the cold from the water in the canyon.

We had lunch there and got out of our wetsuits before making the walk back to the carpark. It was about an hour of walking to the rock climbing spot and it felt like we were doing step up exercises the whole time. After the climb there was still another hour of walking before we got to the car and the initial part of that was quite steep.

The bottom of the exposed Grade 15 Rock Climb

View from Top of Rock Climb

Rock Climbing

Towards the end, we ran into a juvenile copper head snake that lay on our path. It eventually moved and let us past.

Below is a map of our canyoning trip

And here is a graph showing the altitude and temperature during the canyoning trip. The altitude is represented by the white line and you can tell from the sudden drops where the abseils were. I’m not sure what the dips in altitude are from, but I suspect it could be from the jumps that we did. You can also tell from the temperature where we got out of the canyon and into warmer weather.

Butterbox canyon temperature and altitude chart (Altitude is in white)

It was a great trip. Did it live up to the expectations that I had? Absolutely! I’ll definitely be back here against, it was so much fun!

Edwin Kwan

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