start of more travels

Still in Wanaka, but leaving tomorrow or the next day. Been working at a five star hotel doing housekeepeing for the past weekend, it’s been good! I did a day of berry picking too but that sucked. The tentative plan is to head South (probably to Fiordland), then meet a fellow climber friend (from HangDog) near Mt Cook to do some multipitching, then meeting another fellow climber friend (from Castle Hill) in the Christchurch region to be outdoorsy, then head to the North Island (probably a stop in Wellington, hopefully at Craig’s) and back on to my flight to Fiji February 11th! Busy crazy times!

It would be best to not expect to any blog updates until I get back to Fiji. I’ll be keeping in contact with Kat like I have been the rest of the trip, but probably no Internet access.

I’ve been climbing a lot, as usual. Have done two more 19s since the last post.

I finally have figured out more of my housing situation. Originally I was planning on living with a friend from last semester, but decided that it would be safer/more convenient to live on campus. I was glad I put in my application but then a couple of days ago I got an email from USP saying that I am on the waitlist for dorms along with a bunch of other returners. Doh! Rewind life! I teamed up with a great Aussie girl (Katelin) and we found a place online. It’s hard because we don’t have anyone that can check it out so we have to go for something really nice. It’s still cheaper than Canada rent but it has a pool and I think it even has a cleaner. That should reduce the possibility of bed bugs though.



climbing progress!

I have been welcomed into Wanaka with wide open arms. It is quite possible that I don’t leave for a while. Problem? Definitely not.

After I blogged up a storm last week, I walked over to the local climbing gym to put up a ‘climb with me’ sign and I chatted up the girl (Sarah) who worked there. She gave me her cell phone number and told me to text her up if I wanted to climb. Cool, thanks! She told me to come climbing at the gym the next day and I met a ton of local climbers.

I ended up working at the hostel two days cleaning in the morning and two full days on reception. I get 9 nights of free stay total, so that is pretty cool. There were a lot of cool people that were coming through the hostel around that time, so that was good. My roommate (Robyn) is a laugh and a half, haha.

I went to Puzzling World on Thursday with two German girls. It was alright. We sucked at the maze.

On Friday while I was working I met a guy from the UK (Lance) that was passing through the hostel and he had no plans so we decided to go climb. We ended up meeting up with two local climbers, Glen and Jane, from the gym and it was a great day!

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Today I went climbing with Glen again. He is a bit of a local climbing celebrity because he’s set ~150 routes out of 800-900 here. He is very, very knowledgeable and a good climber. He’s been really helping me with my climbing and teaching me to relax and breathe more. No more scurrying up routes. On Friday, I led a 17 route confidently on my first try and today I led an 18 route confidently having top roped it last week. This is some real progress! When I was climbing in Paynes Ford with Brendan, by the end I was leading 15s and 16s (by accident, I am bad at reading guidebooks). I think my break from climbing in Fiji has really helped with my lead climbing confidence, I am not as nervous anymore. I can feel myself getting stronger every day too. I don’t do big long days like I did in Squamish because I am climbing so often and I am worried about tiring myself out.

I really like the rock here (schist). It’s not quite as reliable as granite, and is a bit gross in some areas but it’s quite funky! I find that there are ALWAYS places to put your feet.

I’m hoping to climb again tomorrow, probably with Glen and maybe some others. That’s about all I have planned so far, which I really like.

I have been eating quite vegetarian-ly for the past while because I am always on the move/meat is quite expensive here. Lots of chickpea curry, black bean dishes and eggs. TONS of kiwis (more vitamin C than an orange, more potassium than a banana!) and Braeburn apples (crunchy and sweet, yum!). Kat reminded me that I since I am doing so much muscle build/repair I should eat more meat, so tonight I am making a skillet lamb enchilada pasta. YUM


After a day at Castle Hill, we drove down south to Wanaka with a stop at Lake Tekapo and a stop to see Mt Cook (highest peak in NZ). We spent two days climbing in Wanaka on some really cool metamorphic rock. It is schist and is very sparkly and shiny! It is totally different than any other climbing that I’ve done. I really liked it.

I feel up to snuff with my climbing again, after this past month. I am a lot more confident lead climbing now and feel my technique and strength has improved. It’s great! I don’t want to lose it again.

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And now I think I am up to date.. Craig and Pia have left to go tramping (insert eight hundred sad faces here) so I checked myself into a backpacker in Wanaka. I’m working for a couple of days on reception for a week of free accommodation. I am hoping to get some more climbing in.. the rock here is unlike anything I’ve climbed before and a lot of it is in my climbing grade. I wanted to stay here for a while so it was nice that the backpacker was looking for a person to stay.. not as nice as a real  job but saves some money for sure.

castle hill

Castle Hill is a bouldering area near Arthur’s pass which is very, very beautiful. Arthur’s Pass is half way in between the East and the West coast… the pass (duh) to get across. We met up with some other uni tramping club friends of Craig and Pia’s and did a day of bouldering.

We took our time on the way there and stopped in Greymouth and in Murchison for pies (mmmm). A few other places as well, it was very relaxed.

I am not that good at bouldering… it requires a totally different mindset to route climbing and I am not very good at it.. yet! It was a bit pathetic when we first got there and tried to do some of the routes.. we looked a little floppy. Eventually, more of their friends showed up and they helped us out a lot. There were a bunch of us! Some kiwis, some Canadians, one Danish, some Italians, some British.. etc. It was a really great group of people and we had a big communal meal together.

The day was HOT (a turkey baster) and a lot of the day was spent in the shade. We went swimming at a nearby lake which was.. cold.

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hangdog climbing camp

I stayed at Hangdog Climbing Camp for a little over half a week and it was great! The campground is right beside Takaka near the ‘best’ area for sport climbing in New Zealand. It was a really great atmosphere.. everyone was friendly, chatty and there was always something to talk about. It was a combination of Kiwi and international climbers, some who where there for just one or two nights and some who have been there… a while.

It was typical climbing dirt bag.. there was only one shower (which cost money), and two fridges for 150+ people to jam all their food in. There was a really nice swimming hole with rope swings and deep water solo-ing but MAN it was cold the day I decided to go in.

Brendan and I climbed three days (four days in total) at Paynes Ford and in Pohara. Paynes Ford has really nice limestone crags that are very smooth and slopey, but with lots of pockets. Pohara had taller cliffs by the sea – very nice!

Among the many great people we met, we met a great group of people from the Victoria University of Wellington Tramping Club who I ended up travelling with later on. On New Years Eve we went to a bar nearby in the middle of a field called Mussel Inn (I though it was Muscle Inn – “rosemarie  not everyone is a climber”). It was a lot of fun and it seemed like every person in the Golden Bay region was there! We had a fush and chup NYE dinner too.

Here are some pictures from the two Paynes trips:

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I ended up linking up with two climbers from the tramping club, Craig and Pia, and decided to travel with them down South so after three days of climbing I said bye to Brendan (byeee Brendan) and hopped into their extra seat. Or.. half a seat really (the car was really full). I’d love to go back to Hangdog.. it was a really great place to meet up with people. If I hadn’t met up with Craig and Pia, I’d probably still be there (not a bad thing!). In Craig’s words, we had to drive four times around Takaka to break the orbit and actually leave Hangdog.

christmas week

Hallo! Long time no blog.

I am blogging from Wanaka, a town in the south of the South Island. I have had a crazy awesome time in the past few weeks!

Christmas with Helenka was lovely. She took the bus from Franz Josef to Nelson for a couple of nights and we stayed in a backpacker. That was the first time in a week and a half that I slept in a real bed (instead of my tent) and I slept horribly! Doh! Christmas eve I went climbing with Brendan (an Irish backpacker I met in Nelson who I have been climbing with) and then once Helenka showed up we got frozen yogurt. Christmas and Boxing Day were two BEAUTIFUL days and we walked to the centre of NZ post, had a big bbq pot luck at the hostel, hung out with Brendan and went to the beach with the entire population of NZ. On Boxing Day, we went to Helenka’s relatives (her granfather’s uncle’s grandaughter or something like that) and they had us over for a very nice lunch. It was really nice and they were really friendly! Helenka had not met them before.

A few days after Christmas, I had a day off of berries so I called up Brendan and we went on a super impromptu 24 hour trip up to Paynes Ford, the closest sport climbing area. We stayed at Hangdog climbing camp (more info later), met some great people and had a blast. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to stay there longer.

The berry season ended New Years Eve – I was there for two weeks. It would have been nice to stay there a bit longer, but it actually worked out really well because Brendan was leaving and starting work pretty soon so I’d be losing my climbing partner. It solved my “should I stay or should I go now” dilemma quite quickly, yay! The berry job was really good, the family was super nice and I really go to know one of the other girls who is my age and her mom. They are a laugh and a half. It only paid minimum wage but they let me stay there for free and I also really liked being around so many locals, even though a lot of them were very young. On Christmas eve they brought lots of snacks and desserts and we had a mini work party. It was fun 🙂

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By the way, have I mentioned that boysenberries are THE MOST DELICIOUS FOOD ON THE PLANET!!!

It takes very little rain for a berry crop to be ruined.. they go moldy really quickly. Yuck.

So on New Years Eve I packed up my tent and all my stuff and grabbed the bus to Hangdog Climbing Camp with Brendan… to the next post. 🙂