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Sea, surf, seal! - Wellington bouldering

posted 8 Mar 2010, 12:49 by Miles Mason   [ updated 26 Mar 2010, 03:58 ]
We flew down to Wellington
for the weekend to compete in the 2
nd leg of the National Bouldering Series. There was a great mix of friendly people, sharing beta and the sending vibe.

About 40mins from Wellington, around to the south east, past Wainuiomata. This is followed by a 40 minute walk along the beach with an easy stream crossing. The Baring Head boulders are on a rugged, desolate coastline. It’s a pretty scenic location to climb at with the sea and surf but keep an eye out for angry toothsome seals masquerading as boulders when you are daydreaming. The cook straight is notoriously windy and we needed a spotters just to hold the mat down, although the deep sand is soft enough that a boulder mat was not always needed.

The climbs are predominantly eliminates and the permitted holds had been chalked up by local experts the previous day. Although the Wellington rock guide describes the problems I would recommend getting a local to show you the moves or just to go during the NBS comp. There are lots of low traverses for those adverse to heights as well as scary highball problems with nice sand landings. The comp was very laid back with the focus on collaboration and fun. We never threatened to take out the title but learned heaps and met some cool climbers. The crazy add-ons games in the rec center seemed to pay off, Ben and I making quick work of a supposed V8 that strong men struggled on but went easily with tricky thumb beta.


The following morning we returned 
to visit Turakirae Heads, just down the road. Well, you park your car 100m further away but then walk for a further 45mins. Follow the DOC path and take the sideroad right when you get to a fenced-in section and a sheet of orange corrugated iron. Alternatively you can keep going and the bush bash over bouldery terrain getting constantly lost. Eventually we did find the sector known as The Bronx, named after the steeply roofed cave filled with the hardest lines in the region. The problems were so cool with slopers, pinches and blobby gym-like edges and incuts. The rock texture was cool too, with some Castle Hill-ish friction slopers and some Quarry-like flat slippery edges and pinches. The steep problems generally finished at a lip that you had to mantle so bring boulder pads as the landings can sometimes be other boulders. I had so much fun at Turakirae Heads and can’t wait to go back. We managed to send a cool V4 called Slaprobatics and I got my first flash of a V5 on Rotund for Success.

Text by Garry Williams, Photos by Lucy McGee.