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Mangaokewa – bunga!

posted 25 Mar 2010, 22:51 by Miles Mason   [ updated 26 Mar 2010, 03:43 ]
Last Sunday (21/03/2010), Patrick, Jörg, Brian, Dan, Whitney and Chris went for a one day trip to Mangaokewa, near Te Kuiti.

Here's Whitney Baillie's take on what went on:

I have to say that I was a little hesitant to respond to Patrick’s email about the day trip to Mangaokewa, not only because he said that he was planning to leave at 7am on Sunday, but also because he said he was looking for some experienced climbers.  I would not call myself experienced by any means, but I responded to the email anyway and I’m really glad that I did. 

I showed up on Sunday morning on about four hours of sleep (I was so nervous that I was going to sleep through my alarm that I had trouble even falling asleep!) and we piled into two cars for the 2.5 hour journey to Te Kuiti where we, of course, stopped at a bakery to get our food for the day.  A short drive later I found myself looking up the beautiful (and fairly tall) hill that we had to hike up to get to the crag.  I felt like our hike was steeper than 45 degrees, but once we got up there I realized that it was worth it. 

Patrick and Jörg set up some top ropes and we got to climbing.  I was the only girl (and the only one with hardly any outdoor experience) so I had some trouble climbing on the limestone (which I think is also particularly difficult to climb, but maybe that’s just me), but everyone was very patient with me.  Everyone did their best to give me tips and not try and rush me to the top.  Even though I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped at our first spot, I did learn a lot of new things including how to climb a crack.  When we had climbed to what I had thought was everyone’s exhaustion, Patrick announced that we were moving to a new spot.

We climbed a somewhat dodgy ladder to make it to the second tier of the crag.  Although the trip to the top did make me fear for my life, the view was breathtaking. On the top tier there is a climb called Angry American (18) which Patrick thought was necessary for us to try since some of us on the trip were Americans.  The guys did a great job on a really challenging climb (there was a portion where they had to climb up a stalactite AND at the very end the overhand is about a 45 degree angle!) and they were even able to stop and take pictures along the way. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Once we had conquered Angry American, we were all exhausted and hungry, so we decided to head back.  We stopped in a small town for dinner where I had the most interesting (but very delicious) veggie burger of my life, and then we were on the road.   We made it home around 10:30 PM (alive thanks to my constant talking so that Chris wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel) and I was exhausted, but the good kind.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere of climbing in a small group and I hope this was my first trip of many!