Friday, 30 May 2008

Dan's new route at Mangaokewa

Mangaokewa is a large limestone cliff that has everything (free camping by a river, flush loos, overhanging rock if it rains etc.) but few routes. In fact route development only started a few months ago. There are lines all over it waiting to be climbed and locals that were friendly and willing for us to use their 'development kit', including a petrol drill:-)
(The cliff is mostly hidden in the trees)
So after climbing 10 routes a day for a few days I got to it, putting up my first new route.

Clearing loose rock from the top, brushing and cleaning.

Drilling and putting in the bolts felt weird, especially because at home it would have been let using two dodgy small cams and a thread. But it's a sports climbing cliff so..
In the end the route was prepared and climbed clean by me about 6 times. I think it is about F6b+, so maybe 21. 'Moonshine' was born. The name after a good Sheffield beer and the cresent shaped line it takes.
Me on the FFA, Jo belaying and taking photos again!
On the good holds between the two harder sections on Paynes Ford style rock.

Well, the locals put bright plastic names tags on their routes and this was taken with the macro.

So go to New Zealand and don't miss out the excellent climbing in the North Island, even the topo's are free! (

More tourist stuff.

Drove to Taupo. Sky diving too expensive and weather not great so opted out this time. Quite disappointing but will manage it one day. Lake is emmence and you can still see Volcanoes.

Then drove onto Rotourora for geysers and egg stench. Stopped at Orakei Korako and saw mud pools, silica terraces and hot spring cave. Also went to Waitapu Thermal Wonderland to see the Lady Knox geyser that spurts about 12 meters high and the champagne pool with bright orange silica formations.

Drove further north to the Bay of Plenty where we cooked up a massive meat feast on a bar-b-que by the sea and then up the coast to Mount Maunganui to watch surfers. Too cold for us though.

Climbing in the North Island

We only left 2 and a half weeks for the North Island as everyone we spoke to said there was not as much to see as the South. When we arrived at Bryce's climbing shop and cafe we started to regret not arriving earlier. There is loads of climbing in the North Island but just not consolidated into one guide book.

We camped overnight in a school playing field costing 3 pounds a night with flushing toilet and water- luxury.

First day we climbed at Froggat Edge, no relation to the Peak District and no similarity. The routes are well bolted sport and the rock feels like pumice stone and sounds hollow. However, the pockets and friction made for really enjoyable climbing. Dan did 10 routes grade 16 to 23, Jo a few less but lead a few.

The second day we went to Waipapa crag. Lot more technical climbing so Jo suffered a little and Dan thrutched he way up one 18 much to Jo's delight.
Dan on The Arches (18)

The third day we went to Sheridan which was back to steep, pocketed long climbing. Dan climbed loads again and was barely phased when he came across a missing bolt. Jo did a few more leads without freaking.
Jo lowering of Grade 17.

After 3 days with sore bodies and fingers it was time for more tourist stuff.

A bit of the North Island.

Caught the Ferry across from the South Island to the North. It took 3 hours and surprisingly had sheep aboard. They really are everywhere in NZ. It took over an hour to leave Marlborough Sound but it was good Dolphin spotting territory.

Visited Wellington for a day seeing Te Papa museum and walking around town. Oddly small for a Capital city. Drove up the west coast and parked up on the beach front for the night. Expected problems from the locals as spoiling their view but instead received smiles. The radio gives you the impression Kiwis are fed up with people ruff camping in their vans, spoiling the area.

A big thing at Okahune, NZ carrot capital.

Drove up to Tongariro National Park to see some Volcanoes. Dan's first volcanic experience and he wasn't disappointed. There's three volcanoes in the park, all snow capped and active. We walked 17km to Tama Lakes for amazing views of the park.

Mount Ngauruhoe

Tama Lake and Mount Raupehu

Sunday, 11 May 2008

It is all JUST climbing.

But we are loving it.

For the last week now we have been staying in a house (with beds, showers, kitchen, TV and everything!) that is a few minutes form Paynes Ford by the sea. We met a couple of guys at the crag, one mentioned he had a hoilday house, or 'bach', that we could use and hay presto were lording it up like 'proper' people.
Thank you Mike.

Farewell Spit

What is going on here? Cows in tarps?

No job, no house, no need to shave.

Making use of the kayaks Mike said we could use. Around Abel Tasman.Spot the seals...Err, Jo. What are you wearing?

Monday, 5 May 2008

The Paynes of getting Older (Jo turns 30 at Paynes Ford)

Jo's birthday at the overhung Bo Peep Slab
Flashing a grade 24 at Bo Peep, Pohara.
Jo having just lowered off having redpointed her first grade 21, Make My Grumpy Cat Dance. Excellent effort!
Taking a rest on the classic '1080 and the letter G' 23.
Having climbed and down climbed to clean 4 routes over this roof today my arms are a little tired right now.

Big Fish

We arrived at Paynes Ford in torrential rainfall which consequently meant the climbing routes were dripping. The best solution to sitting fustrated drinking coffee and beer all day was to drive 5 hours to Kaikoura on the East Coast near Christchurch to go Whale Watching.
We were aboard a fastcat boat, captained by a man whom appeared to know the whales every move by either listening to them underwater or by radio from the planes flying overhead. We saw 4 sperm whales on the surface and doing their tail lifting dives. The average number of sightings in 2 a trip so we felt very excited and lucky.

We also saw a pod of Dusky Dolphins whom were too shy for photos and some New Zealand Furry Seals.

Wanaka and West Coast

We had 3 fantastic days in Wanaka. The sky was clear blue every day and with all the autumnal colours of the trees the views were spectacular.
Lake Wanaka
We climbed trad and sports routes in the valley of Mount Aspiring National Park on pretty good Schiste rock. Jo strangely developed a head for leading and lead her hardest route 17 on bolts and 15 on trad. Maybe there are some side effects to bungy jumping.
We also decided to go tramping in true NZ style. Only a day's walk but published to take up to 11 hours. It started up hill to the 1500m peak of Mount Roy then across the Summit track and down through a creek. It took us only 6 hours but this was long enough when we only had 1.5 litres of water between us. We hitched a lift with another traveller to get back to the car then started the drive across to the west coast.

View from the summit
After a full days driving up the west coast past the Fox and Frans Josef Glaciers and following coastal roads that could rival the Great Ocean Road in Aus we parked up for the night in a lay by and watched the sunset.
A perfect evening with a cold beer watching the sunset
and the sand flies biting your ankles.