Steep rock climbing with athletic foot swing

Dry Winter Leads To Early Cave Season

This year's dry winter resulted in one of Christchurch's popular crags, affectionately known as 'The Cave', having been in good condition for spring. This uber-steep crag often suffers from dripping wet holds until summer kicks in, by which time the hot temperatures and predominant easterly breezes can give unfavourable climbing conditions for the exceptionally hard routes to which the crag is home.  But this year The Cave was dry already in early spring, allowing local climbers to make the most of cooler conditions. Young go-getters Jake Townshend and Enzo Murray both made successful ascents of Kaz's Project (33), once considered one of the very hardest routes in the country. Theirs were the fifth and sixth ascents of this route respectively—and pretty impressive given both climbers are still in their teens.

Popular Lower Hutt climber Bob Keegan, based in Christchurch, also made a successful ascent of Hypermachismo (30) at The Cave. This route climbs most of the Cave classic Bogus Machismo (29), then veers off right to a hard final boulder problem to ramp up the difficulty. Jacob Doornebosch, another Wellington export, also finished off Nosferatu (30), which he was very close to doing in autumn—before lockdown cut his efforts short.

Jacob Doornebosch climbing Dracula, which shares the punchy upper section of Nosferatu. Photo: Tom Hoyle