"Something about reaching the top of a climb just feels like such an epic achievement"
Written by: Jacques Massie
I used to be bloody good at Rock Climbing but then White water kayaking took control of my life. Tough life aye. So when my buddy Tim invited me to Wharepapa South in NZ's North Island for a spot of filming and photography I jumped at the chance. If you are interested in giving Rock Climbing a go I am going to give you a couple options to try in NZ.
If you are already a climber and want to know a bit about Wharepapa South I will give you some helpful details below. Read on...
Just got to NZ and you want to try climbing?
Step One: Find a local climbing gym. Chances are you are based in Auckland, if not there are local climbing gym's in almost every major town/city so don't stress. For those of you that are in Auckland my recommended gym is Extreme Edge Rock Climbing Gym. The crew are great and the facility is excellent. The bonus is the community, there are so many climbers of different levels that you can link up with at the Gym.
Location- Extreme Edge is located in Panmure. Depending where you are based the directions will be different. So CLICK HERE to see the google maps location. Or see the map below.
Step Two: Find a crew of climbers at your level. Then find a mentor. Climbing is a team sport and if you want to make it outside then you need to find a crew that is keen to learn at your pace. You now need to find someone willing to teach you. Honestly I would recommend investing in one of the courses run by your local rock climbing gym. This way you can guarantee the training is correct and safe practice, you also gain a qualification and knowledge that you can pass on. If you are going to climb outdoors consider doing courses that are relevant to outdoor climbing; Setting up an outdoor climb, lead climbing clinic, setting up an anchor, belaying with an ATC... Some of these words are probably going over the top of your head. Point proven haha learn the basics so you can be safe and confident when you move to an outdoor setting.
Step Three: Go on a trip with your local gym. The easiest and safest way to get your first taste of Outdoor climbing is to go on one of your gyms trips. Most gyms run them once a month, just ask. From here the rock climbing world is your oyster. Keep learning, keep pushing and above all stay safe.
Where is Wharepapa South/Froggatt Edge?
For those of you reading that already rock climb here is a quick guide to Froggatt Edge and the Wharepapa South climbing area.
Location: Your first stop is going to be Bryce's Cafe. Bryce is a local climber and a bit of a legend in the area. Here you will be able to purchase a guide book for all the climbing crags within the area and no doubt you will have a chat with Bryce. You can also purchase gear and some pre climb coffee. If you are coming from Auckland get onto SH-1 Southbound. After about 115km's exit onto SH-39 towards Te Awamutu and SH-3. You will reach a roundabout after 43km's. Continue straight onto SH-3. At Kihikihi go towards Parawera DO NOT continue on SH-3. You should hit Wharepapa South in 20 mins. Bryces Cafe will be visible.
Facilities: If you are in need of accomodation you have a few options; Dorm rooms are $30 a night per person, Private Rooms are $76 for two and an extra $30 for every additional person. If you have your own tent or camper van you can also camp out on the school grounds behind Bryce's cafe. I do not think you can camp during school days though.. Check with Bryce for camping costs and availability first.
I definitely recommend hiring a car for this trip. It is easy enough to hitch down to Wharepapa South but you are going to want a car when you get there. There are multiple crags in the area and you are going to want to see them all.