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O-TRIP 2010

posted 16 Mar 2010, 19:22 by Miles Mason   [ updated 16 Mar 2010, 21:22 ]

The idea behind this trip report was to collaborate some first timer's views on what orientation trip is all about. You can find Sami's report here and Paco's here. It was an amazing weekend, 70 club members, 1 crag, 1 BBQ, 150 Sausages and a whole lot of beer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us guys!


Photos by Tony Tse




Here's what Sami Vance thought:


O-Week: The ‘O’ stands for ‘Owesome’

 

I’m not the kind of person who gets excited about big organized social events, but I figured an exception could be made for a climbing event as praised as O-Week. I stuffed some food and blankets into my pack, slung my (mildly used) climbing shoes over one shoulder and marched myself to the library hoping I didn’t look as nervous as I felt. I don’t know why, but I was worried that I wouldn’t make many friends because I’m not a very good climber. What a silly thing to think!


The club officers sorted us into our proper cars and we set off. The drive was notably beautiful because of the perfect

rainbow we drove under. I secretly wished that it marked the end of the rain for the weekend. I can’t say much for the first night of camping because as we pulled in to the site, we were congratulated for being the last car to arrive. (Yay for us!) Everyone was milling around the twenty-some-odd tents visiting anonymously with each other in the dark. Most of us had never seen so many stars in all our lives and opted to keep our torches off as to enjoy them more. One by one we went to our tents for a cold restless sleep: all of us wondering what sort of climbs tomorrow would bring.

 

Bright and early we packed out and made the short drive to Froggart’s Edge (If I had known that bakery was on the way I would have packed less food. Yummy!) We were briefed on safety then set loose. There must have been 10 different lines set to climb on. So many flavors! Every skill level had a chance to be challenged. All of our worries about not enough gear or the possibility of rain were forgotten as the day carried on. I climbed around on the easier ones then opted to rest and do some yoga (oh, my aching arms!) The rock was full of pockets to stick fingers and toes into, but was sharper than what many of us were used to and the skin on our fingers wore thin (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger). We climbed for hours before remembering we had to go set up camp again… oh yeah, and party!

 

Our new camp was even better than the last. Post card views of New Zealand country side surrounded our new little lake. In the lake was a little island. On the island was a little rope swing. That ratty rope must have flung over fifty squealing people into the sunset. I had unfortunately left my bathing suit at home but wasn’t bothered because the social climate around the grill was super chill. There must have been almost as many sausages as there were stars and I don’t know how many ears of corn! We all drank and ate until well after sundown. Then suddenly, the phrase “glow worms” spread from person to person like a wild fire. We wondered into the woods and found, as if the sky and fallen into forest floor, glow worms all over the ground. I had never seen such a thing.

 

The next morning, people wandered back into the lake in an effort to wash off a long night of drinking. We were willing to have a late start, but not too late! Most of us had climbing problems we needed to re-attack or whole new ones to start. Back at Foggart’s, all new climbs were set up. I managed to get in another climb before my arms starting hurting again. I decided that I shouldn’t wear myself out too much or I would start to avoid the sport again, and I simply can’t let that happen. I have so many new people to go climb with now!

 

By the time I got home, I had seen and done things I didn’t think were possible. I did a line above my skill level with little to no direction from my cheer leaders below, I saw hundreds of sausages, thousands of glow worms, millions of stars, a person climb with a broken leg in a boot and two people climb half a wall with no hands. NO HANDS! I also got to eat the worst Chinese food ever… but that’s beside the point. I had a great time, I made some great friends and I can’t wait to go back. When can we go back!?




From Paco Galván:


The Deep Pockets of Froggart's

 

Bloody knuckles, sore shoulders, bruised knees and high spirits jog our memory of a weekend that won’t easily be forgotten. It was daunting weather forecast for our group, but not enough to discourage us from pursuing the one thing that fuels our fire and powers our machine, climbing. We were here for one thing and one thing only…to get our hands on some natural stone.


Any passing bystander would have witnessed peculiar a scene on Friday evening in front of the University library. An uncharacteristic group: a bunch of rock hugging, rope wrapping craggers, eagerly waiting in the gloomy weather to be shuffled into cars packed with gear and potential new friends. Slowly but surely we dissipated, frantically packing the cars with ropes, bedrolls, food, beer and gear. We were ready for an epic weekend. One by one each carpool made their way out of the urban confines of Auckland and hit the highway to the rural farmlands of the Waikato.


Taking our time and filling our bellies along the way with some delicious Ostrich burgers, our carpool (Tony, Jacob, Jugo, and myself) was among the last to arrive at Lake Ngaroto, which looked more like a music festival I once went to in Southern California. As our cars' headlamps illuminated the darkness of the lakeside campsite, we were astonished at the sheer amount of tents and cars. We immediately knew we where in the right place. After much debacle and a few laughs, we finally managed to erect Jacob’s vintage, over sized tent. We settled in for a quite evening under the stars and fought the bitter cold in anticipation of a full day of some quality New Zealand ignimbrite.


As the sun peered over the horizon, the fog began to rise off lake and the craggers slowly made their way, one by one, out of the warmth of their sleeping bags. After a brief morning meeting and a quick pack-up, we headed off to our main destination…only after making a stop for some delicious baked goods in Te Awamatu. Making our way past Bryce’s Climbing Café in South Wharepapa, we began to see glimpses of what was to come. Scattered in the rolling green hillsides were clusters of boulders and cliffs, so tempting that they made our palms sweat and our mouths dry. It was the rock that we came to climb. Eventually, we pulled off the narrow farm road just outside the entrance to the crag and made or way up the dirt road to the hidden wonders of Froggart Edge. It was absolutely mind blowing. Huge vertical outcroppings of high-friction, pocket filled ignimbrite. For a moment, climbing evaded our thought process. We were blown away at the sheer majestic nature of the landscape, but immediately remembered what we were here to do, climb. The rest of the day was history.


That night the group settled in at the new campsite at Jones Landing with the sun still in the sky. Everyone was still buzzing from the excellent first day, and was ready for some swimming and food. As the sausages and corn heated over the barbeque and tents were erected, people shared stories of their experiences on the rock. Beginners and experienced climbers alike; everyone was in high spirits and oblivious to fact that they had exerted more energy in one day than most would in a week. As the night sky invaded, our group relentlessly continued revelry and socialized under the bright stars. After a few beers, some sausages, a glowworm hike, and a brief chocolate binge, the craggers slowly made their way back to their tents eager for another day on the rock.


The next and final day began with a bit of a later start than before, due to some mild hangovers, but unremittingly everyone made their way back up the narrow road to Froggarts Edge. Not before long, the entire group was back at the crag, fingers deep in the pockets of Froggart. As the afternoon carried on, and as the flesh disappeared from our fingertips, we approached the end of what was to be a weekend we would never forget.

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