by Mark Smith
The first monthly trip of the season was to Mount Maunganui, right next to the port city of Tauranga. “The Mount,” as it is traditionally known, is an idyllic vacation spot with beautiful beaches, splashing waves, surfing and other fun beach activities; shops, scenic vistas, heated saltwater pools for overworked muscles, camping… All overlooked by an ancient volcano crossed by excellent pathways. It is fairly nearby to Hamilton (about 1.5h) with plenty of facilities, easy no fee access, and excellent mobile coverage. In addition to all that, it is an excellent climbing crag. Right next to it is Moturiki Island. There is a land bridge to get to it, so access is easy peasy. Climbing is quite limited there and it’s slightly more difficult to get to, but you are rewarded with some fantastic sea sculpted rocks. It’s really very pretty.
Sadly, on this trip we could not do those rocks. There were some nesting gulls and they were very stressed out by our arrival. They were swooping and screaming the entire time we were there. As it turns out, they had good reason, as we could see their hatchlings.
While we were there, our youngest climber, Luise, daughter of Norbert, was itching to get on some rocks, so we played around on some nearby rocks away from the gulls. After that, we made our way up the Mount. Climb the stairs up and when the path splits, go to the right. Only about 100 meters past that is the first set of sport bolted routes on the left called Cables Wall. The scenery just on the path is fantastic, spreading out towards the Pacific Ocean. Matakana Island is clearly visible guarding the inlet towards the port of Tauranga, with a steady parade of laden barges going back and forth through it. The view from the top of the climb is that much nicer!
I setup a top belay station and thoroughly enjoyed myself in the sun and wind and the view. We made short work of the three climbs on that wall each of us taking turns on the climb.
After Cables Wall, we decided to hit Warratah Wall Left. A sweet climb called Cold Fusion (15) or perhaps Fatboy (16) was simple and far easier giving and giving with hand holds, but the rewards was tackling some very aesthetically pleasing rocks with overhangs, separate boulders and different styles required. At this point, a small crowd stopped by to cheer on Luise which she appreciated.
Norbert and his daughter having sated their climbing appetites, departed. Alex and I were left to our own devices. I was not feeling terribly strong yet, but there were definitely a few more climbs that I could hear drawing me towards them.
There was a steep overhanging start on the same wall that I could hear calling me. I decided to give it a go. Not terribly hard, but the rewards were fine. Alex and I poked around a bit more, but at the end, I think it was a good way to round out the day. For my part, I am still wary about hurting myself again. I could feel my arms and shoulders in a good way, so I reckoned it was a good place to finish the day.
Posted By: Sefton Priestley