Griffin Creek v3a5IV***

****UPDATE   Griffin Creek’s future uncertain due to hydro proposal... learn more on the NZ Canyoning Association Web page. With hard work from the NZCA and FMC, this canyon is safe (for now) but we need to remain vigiliant to other threats to our canyon. Join NZCA (for free) to do your bit. *****

*****CANYON HAS CHANGED  read this whole post, (including comments) before visiting Griffin, as the guidebook description appears to be mis-leading for some people. *****

Griffin is one of the classic canyons of NZ, definitely top 5 according to the author of the Canyoning in NZ guidebook.

Big, watery, beautiful, long, technical.. Jumps galore into pumping whitewater. Huge pools, powerfull waterfalls… This canyon is a pure gem in NZ!

Guidebook update 12 Mar 2017:

R2 13m or J 10m

Bolts were damaged, and have been replaced by another double bolt anchor about 1m to the left of the old one where it should be protected from floods.

Bodengo Falls R8-R10:

Unfortunately the description in the guidebook is a little misleading, according to subsequent parties who have descended this canyon. The main problem is trying to access the R10 TL anchors by leaping over the flow is nearly impossible, and highly risky. (See PIC 3 for a view of that spot). The subsequent teams placed extra bolts on the TR in order to avoid this risk, but its a tricky sequence to put together.

This sequence is by far the technical crux of the canyon, and most parties will (should) bypass the section on the TL as described in the book. If the following description is confusing, then the bypass is for you. If you’ve got a strong team with excellent problem solving skills and are very careful to ensure you always have a line of retreat, then following the water through the Bodengo Falls section is an excellent and highly technical bit of canyoning.

R8 can be a J18m into a big clean pool.

There is one new bolt at the bottom of R8 by the waters edge. This is set as a ‘retreat bolt’ ie, if you get to R9 and can’t make the moves to get to the R10 anchor (or any anchors are damaged), you’ll need to have pre-placed a retreat line on that bolt in order to pull yourself back upstream (its not possible to swim against the current due to the shape of the walls there).  (PIC 2 is the view from that bolt and PIC 4 is looking back at it.)

(PIC 3: Shows the existing R10 TL anchors as described in the guidebook.)

There is a new single bolt at R9 TR.

A new bolt anchor has been installed part way down the slab (in a crack system, hopefully protected from floods. In PIC 5  the Canyoner using that new bolt anchor with a footloop to access the new R10 TR anchor as described in this update.

The R10 anchor has a devation bolt lower down, which must be use to avoid the extremely powerful flow. (see PIC 6).  About 5m below the deviation there is a ledge to get off the rope to do a 13m jump into the pool.

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2 Responses to Griffin Creek v3a5IV***

  1. Chris Whitehouse says:

    After a recent trip down Griffin Creek I’d like to clear up the confusion around the Bodengo Falls section. First and foremost, from the top of R8 you must go left or go right, there are no other options.

    Going TL involves heading up into the bush from the top of R8 then abseiling down to a ledge to bolts (TL R10) where you can abseil to the pool at the bottom. This can also be a jump.

    Going TR involves a technical sequence which avoids heading into the bush but is tricky to get right and is time consuming. The TR sequence has previously been described and the photos paint a very clear picture but I’d like to share my experience so below is a full description of our version which worked well.

    My personal opinion is that if you are a confident swimmer and enjoy a technical challenge then go right. If you want the most efficient and fun way with an awesome jump then go left.

    At some point there should be a second bolt added to both R9 and TR R10.

    TR sequence:
    R8 has two bolts, one of which is quite rusty and there are no hangers or nuts so you have to take your own.
    I was lowered from R8 down to the TL of the pool. From here I swam (still on belay) on the TL until I was past the turbulent water, then across to the pocket at the end of the pool on the TR. For an experienced white water person this is a relatively easy swim in normal flows, but would be fatal to not make the pocket. I did this towing a pack but it would have been easier to send it across on the rope afterwards
    From the pocket I climbed the crack up to the R9 bolt and clipped the end of the R8 rope into it (so that those following could use it to pass bags and for safe access)
    I then used a separate rope to abseil down to the foot loop bolt on TR. A problem I encountered was that the rock below the foot loop bolt was very slippery (due to the recent drought) and was therefore incredibly difficult to get to.
    Once standing in the foot loop, the TR R10 bolt was easy to reach and clip into. At this point the others came across in the following manner:
    Second canyoner abseiled down R8 and swam across the pool and up to R9.
    Third canyoner derigged R8 (including the hangers) and threw their pack, tied to the end of the rope, into the pool which canyoner two pulled in quickly from R9, being careful that the pack didn’t get flushed over the waterfall.
    Canyoner three then jumped from R8 and swam to the pocket on TR and climbed up to R9.
    Canyoner two then brought me a rope so that I could rig TR R10.
    The R10 abseil was also incredibly slippery and the deviation bolt was awkward to get to. I clipped the rope into the deviation carabiner and then the descent became much easier down to the pool. The others then followed.

    On another note to make the whole trip simpler I feel that taking two 60m ropes is best.

    This is a seriously fun canyon that totally deserves all the hype and support to keep it flowing naturally! A huge thank you to those that made it happen.

  2. Shanan Fraser says:

    I went through Griffin last weekend and it was awesome! I feel strongly enough to comment that contrary to the guidebook, jumping over the flow to access the TL R10 bolts would be EXTREMELY risky and difficult and is not really an option.

    Also, the R8 bolts currently have no hangers on them. This serves as a reminder that the R8, R9 & TR R10 Series is very technical and should only be attempted after careful evaluation by those with the highest level of technical skill. If you have any doubt as to your ability to complete this section safely then bypass it on the TL.

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