Rock climbing cliff

Nebuchadnezzar Gets A First Repeat

Josh Cornah has made the second ascent and first by a New Zealander of Nebuchadnezzar (34) at Babylon crag in the Darran Mountains. The route is a contender for the hardest sport climb in New Zealand and was the first climb in the country to be given the mythical grade of 9a/8c+ (35/34) when it was climbed by the visiting German climber Roland Hemetzberger in January 2016. The route is 25m long with 8 bolts, which were placed by Derek Thatcher as one of several hard open projects he established on the sheer right wall of Babylon crag.

Belay image

Note: Since the original publication of this piece, Josh has pointed out that Roland only ever suggested 35 or 34 for the route and that he feels it was more like 34 than 35. Appropriate parts of the story have been altered to reflect this.


Ginger-headed rock climber on orange rock
Josh Cornah attempting Nebuchadnezzar (34) in 2020. Photo: Tom Hoyle