Edwards River v3a4IV***

42m (rebelay allows 30m pitch)

Public access


2.45 hrs walk in / 7-8 hrs in the canyon / 1.15hrs walkout

This canyon is a river and should ideally descend in low flow as a canyon. As a guide, the Waimak – Below Otarama – was running under 50 cumecs on the ECAN website. The major jumping pools had little to no recirculations.

Have a strong team used to swimming in a river and extra sling just in case you need to build an anchor.

Follow the Edwards Hut Track until you are at the top of the canyon and can see the hut.

Has 7-8 pitches (several of which are jumpable) but lots of interesting bouldering, downclimbs and mandatory swims. Additional bolt anchors were installed in mid-January 2024. All abseil bolt anchors now two bolts.

There are a few hydraulic features that are easily avoided, but a slip while climbing or traversing could see you in a bit of trouble. Belays are recommended for the lead canyoner for these sections and also for accessing some of the anchors.

Notwithstanding the above caution, the only sequency feature is the large siphon at R2. Climb up onto the TL to a single bolt and belay up 8m to the anchor, then rap down into a flat pool with 15m of rope out and swim with the flow around the corner whilst on the rope. A ledge just below water level is on the right of the flow at the top of the last 6m drop. From this ledge, pendulum/step to the left side. Pull the rope from there, then downclimb/jump the last waterfall.

If it all gets too much at any point, there are multiple escapes on the true left back to the track, but in reality, these would be long and steep. There are many swims and floats, so be prepared to be in the water for much of the time.

First kayak descent October 2012.

Equipped by Tom Johns & John Harris February 2020.

Topo by Grant Prattley & Nola Collie 2024 – it’s uploaded as an image in the Photos below

First Kayak descent, a few years earlier….

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  1. Natasha Mealing says:

    Everything in perfect condition. Jumps are all good. Getting to the bolts requires confident scrambling. This may be due to the thought out bolt placements to keep them away from the flow of water when the levels get high. The water was higher than when we descended last year. It looked more like John and Tom’s photo this time. Awesome canyon!

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