Bridges Creek v5a4V*

40m

Private land, permission required

The upper section of this creek is where the bulk of the canyoning lies. The first few waterfalls descend into a very nice section of canyon, with high polished walls lined with quartz veins. From here, the water course descends into an incredibly tight, steep and channelized ‘V style’ slot. All the water runs between a gap no wider than 30-60cm, making the descent while on rope quite tricky. One must stem or bridge their way down as to not be pummelled by the flow and end up inside or behind the falls (which happened to a member of the first descent team). Once in the slot there is a bolt mid-way down which lines the abseiler directly into an undercut at the bottom of the slot. Everything goes black until you pop out on the other side into direct flow of the waterfall. This slot section, although the highlight, can and should be avoided by taking the dry line on true left due to this undercut hazard. Luckily enough for the first descent team this undercut had a through passage and no logs or debris lodged inside. This is not a guarantee for other parties. From the bottom of the slot there is another small narrows with downclimbs and even a small 4m jump until the upper section terminates with a 30m waterfall. There is a long section of boulder hoping until the lower section, which the team found anchor gear in. There is only 1 mandatory rappel, the rest can be down climbed until the river floor. These downclimbs are rather sporty though and should only be attempted by competent teams. Otherwise, sling or other anchor material must be used to descend this section.

All in all, without the slot section, I’d say that this canyon is not worth it apart from the adventure quality this canyon holds. There are better canyons in the area to invest time and energy into.

Escapes from the watercourse on either side are numerous for most of the canyon except the slot section, but escapes from the drainage look near impossible unless you’re a goat.

Ropes: X2 40m

Access: This canyon is on private land. Permission from the land owners must be given before attempting this canyon at scotts@reesvalley.co.nz

Drive up the Rees Valley until you get to the Rees Valley station where there is a DOC carpark, Muddy Creek flows directly next to it. Park here and cross muddy creek and walk up the true right of the creek until you get to the toe of an obvious spur. This is Bridges spur. Follow this spur up through the thick scrub, but trend left until you break through at around 630 vertical metres. Once through the scrub it will be open. Continue to trend up and left toward bridges creek, eventually you will reach the rim of the canyon. Follow this rim as it has the best travel to about 1100m where it flattens out and you will gain a view into the upper valley. Follow this ridge where it is flat for about 200m. From here you will start your descent into the start point of the canyon. It is recommended to wear harnesses and helmets and to get ropes ready as the descent is very steep and filled with bluffs. You are aiming to enter the creek at roughly 1020m.




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