After several rain aborted attempts we made it up to Sudden Valley Bivouac last weekend.
A short trip from Hawdon Shelter took us over the Hawdon River where water levels are generally kind. We expected to get our socks wet but I picked the deepest point to ensure our shorts were too. After 15 minutes we crossed the stile over the electric fence. It was not turned on today ( I had to check). A 40 minute stroll up Sudden Valley saw what was a wide valley narrowed to a gorge. it was pretty straight forward in low water conditions. We have tried this route in higher water conditions but it is not recomended. Onward we zigged & zagged the river as required. There were a few cairns along the route. We arrived at the so called Devils Chute. It was pretty obvious. After clammering up some slippery boulders on the river we were about to climb. The chute itself looked like a scree slope with a jumble of larger debree. A "track" sign had been posted to the left of the chute.(The sign was not obvious) but if you continued on from this point Barrier Falls would send you back! We decided to take the track.
After the initial scramble we started to wonder if the chute was a better option. The so called track had 45-60 degree elevation. Damp (no sun), very slippery but some handholds. We had to pass up packs a few times but with care we gained safer ground after about 25 minutes. I was not looking forward to the descent so the Chute became a preferred option.
After reaching the top of the chute we climbed up a well marked track for 20 minutes before descending to a point above Barriers Falls. Take the time to drop down (carefully) and take your Camera for some great shots of the Falls. Quite spectacular. Progress on for 15 minutes through more boulder outcrops along the Stream and then emerge in to a widening valley. The wind was very strong and off course the rain came. We arrived at the new Bivouac 30 minutes after entering the top valley. Total travelling time three & a half hours.
Thanks DOC a great little Bivvy (one year old). A good place to rest and cry out with the pain from my thigh cramp. No sympathy from Jason.
Close to the bivvy were great views of of the surrounding Canyons & crystal clear waters to quench your thirst.
After a great nights sleep we returned in relatively fine weather. We made our way back to the memorial plaque at the top of the track next to the chute. We sighted an obvious track that lead on the the avalanche chute. Being adventerous we chose a 5 minute run down the scree to the bottom of the chute. There was no devil today (but treat the chute with respect when it is raining & stay close together so you dont send rocks down on those below). Once down to the stream the kind waters let us pass through.
The return trip to Hawdon Shelter took us 3 hours.
A brilliant short trip, could easily be done in a day in fine conditions, but there are plenty of tent sites if the 2 man bivvy is full.