Saturday, June 19, 2010

Climb Away!

This past weekend, we took a trip to Wharepapa South, one of the largest rock climbing areas in New Zealand. We climbed at the Froggatt Edge crag, specifically on the Slug Wall and Main Wall, which probably won't mean anything to you unless you've climbed there.  I really enjoyed the rock; in contrast to the Gunks, it felt like there were almost always options for fingers and toes in the pockets formed by volcanic gases as the rock cooled eons ago.

rock porn :-P

We started off on Slug Wall.  Dave led two of the bolted routes and dropped top ropes for us to play (Jon led a third, which Dave, Jon, and I climbed).  Dave's two leads here were named Teenage Mutant and Ninja...  the third route we climbed was at the left of the wall, the last route to involve the ledge.  Too bad I don't remember the name of the third climb, because it was my favorite: challenging enough to be interesting, not so hard as to be difficult.

beautiful Bexie's yoga grace is obvious

One of the highlights of the trip was climbing with Bexie, Cat, and Mel.  They hadn't climbed before, but I was so impressed by their willingness to give it a go.  Cat learned to belay, and ended up belaying me with Jon backing her up.  Bexie wasn't even planning on climbing, but she sent one route (i.e. climbed it to the anchor at the top) and started working on another.  And Mel?  We didn't have properly fitting shoes for her, so she climbed in her Vibram-soled, approach style hiking shoes.  Bad ass French Canadians.  :-)

i look on in awe at the display of bad ass-ness happening next to me

After climbing on Slug Wall, we went around the corner to Main Wall.  HOLY STUNNING!  Dave led Terror Incognita, which was a really beautiful, sustained route that started with some slab climbing, went around a roof, and finished with some tricky face climbing 25 m off the deck.  I was really proud of Dave, and I was so happy he enjoyed the route.

just think...  he hasn't gotten to the hard part yet

We were planning on doing more climbing on this wall, but the sun set quickly and it started to drizzle.  I only climbed four pitches over the course of the day, but considering how little climbing I've done over the past year, it was enough to roughen my finger tips on the sharp volcanic cheese grater.

that's me, at the top of something or other

The setting at Froggatt Edge is lovely.  The crag is actually in a farm, a working farm, so we carefully stepped around cow pies at the base of the climbs!  The rolling hills are covered with grass colored in the vibrant greenness of spring.  I hate to bring LOTR into it, but seriously, couldn't you picture the Fellowship camping out at the base of this?

no new zealand blog post is complete without a lord of the rings reference

As part of the same road trip, we went to the agricultural Field Days outside of Hamilton, where we were entertained by Good Keen Bachelors herding alpaca (I'm not kidding); to Rotorua, where we were entertained by the smell of rotten eggs and bubbling mud (yay, geological phenomena); and to another kiwi house, where Dave saw his first, and probably last, living kiwi.  Good times.


  1. Nice climb. You never know when another Kiwi will pop up! Love, Mummers

  2. and, Oh, Bali, I wish to enjoy you some day also!

  3. It was a beautiful climb. I was so psyched for Dave!