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scheissami

New Zealand climbing in May?

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Hey,

 

Headed to New Zealand in May. Anyone have any recommendations for climbing there? Guidebook recs? Due to luggage constraints I'd like to stick to sport climbing unless the gear routes are epic or there aren't bolt protected climbs...

 

Cheers,

Erik

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Hey

I live in kiwi-land - where in the country are you headed?

There is plenty of sport climbing here, no need to bring the trad rack, it's mostly just okay.

 

If you are headed to the south island, the guidebook to get is "Rock Deluxe" - it's expensive (like 60 or 70 NZD), but you'll only need one book for the whole trip. Payne's ford has good sport climbing, Wanaka has good sport, I don't find the rock in Queenstown very good (Wye Creek), but there are hundreds of routes there.

 

What kind of grades are you climbing (be aware that NZ uses a different grading system than the states - a scale of 1- mid 30's with 20 being about 5.11a)? If you're climbing 5.10- up, I would highly reccomend going to the Darrans. Granite, and so overhung that the crags stay (mostly) dry in the rain - good for a place that gets 7 meters (21 feet) of rain/year.

 

Defiantly go to Castle hill - the only world class destination in NZ - pretty much all bouldering, but it's awesome.

 

If you're going to the North Island, there are downloadable guidebooks (free) at www.freeclimb.co.nz

Mangakewa is the best sport crag on the North Island - plus it has sweet free camping. Wharapapa South is okay, but Mangakewa is much better.

 

Bring good rain gear, some good books. Plan on spending lots of time in cafes, bars, etc... waiting for the rain to stop. Never take a rest day when it's sunny. Good call on not trying to go alpine climbing here.

 

Shoot me an e-mail or pm or whatever if you want more specific info/have more specific questions.

 

If you haven't already purchased your tickets, better climbing can be had in Australia. If going to Australia, defiantly bring both the trad and sport racks and head to Arapiles and the Grampians. The Blue Mountains (Sydney area) have tonnes of amazing trad/sport too.

 

Edited by EastCoastBastard

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We'll be headed to the South Island. My best friend's family is from Christchurch, so that's pretty much where we'll be staying. He's willing to climb but not always totally stoked, so climbing is sort of a peripheral activity for this trip. I'm considering just bringing my harness and shoes and trying to borrow/rent/buy rope and draws there, rather than hauling all of my stuff around. I haven't been climbing as much as I'd like, so prolly will stick to easier stuff (moderate 5.10 and easier).

 

Anything good for easy day trips from Christchurch? If there are long approaches I can already hear my buddy grumbling...

 

Thanks for the info!

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Castle Hill - about 2 hours from christchurch, little/no approach and even non-climbers can have a good time just walking around the boulders. I'd spend all of my time here if I were you.

 

The Port Hills are within Christchurch city limits, about a 20min drive from the centre of town and have a variety of mostly trad climbs on decent rock.

 

Gear is absurdly expensive here - I wouldn't even consider buying anything here. Renting climbing gear (ropes/draws) is inherently a bad idea and standards of safety and accountability are remarkably low here (especially so from a north american perspective).

 

Hanging Rock is a crag a few hours from christchurch and just so-so.

 

My strongest suggestion would be to just bring your shoes and boulder all the time at Castle Hill. It's probably the only place that's really unique and awesome climbing-wise in NZ. There are lots of "unique" places in NZ to climb, but few of them would be considered awesome.

 

Graham

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Thanks for the advice, likely will just stick to bouldering, then, though I'm not too good at it. Any guides for that? I'll see if I can scrounge a crashpad from my buddies' family/friends. I owe ya a pint!

 

Cheers,

Erik

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Rock Deluxe has a big section on Castle Hill. There is/was? a Castle hill specific guidebook but I seem to remember it was hard to use and it might be out of print. I have also heard rumours of a downloadable Castle hill guide for your ipod, but I don't know much more than that.

You can rent crashpads (never done it, just seen signs saying "crashpads for rent") next to the black (the shop is painted black) pie shop on the way to Arthur's Pass (your kiwi hosts will know what I'm talking about- probably). On the right side of the road as your driving towards the pass. The pies there are very good. Good pre, during and post bouldering snack.

Google (if you haven't already) Castle Hill and look at some photos - there aren't a lot of highball problems and just about all the boulders are surrounded by grass (and sheep shit)- if you choose wisely and have a good spotter you probably don't need a crashpad.

 

Hope it doesn't rain too much while you're here.

 

Graham

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