cattlestop, gibraltar, sebastapol

Climbing! Climbing! Climbing!

These past two weekends have been filled with sport climbing, trad climbing, gym climbing, slab climbing, crack climbing, face climbing.. climbing climbing climbing! Thus, this post is going to be a bit climby heavy. I have included an infographic at the end in case this all sounds like rocket science. I also have a lot of pictures but I’ll have to upload them another time.

Last last weekend, Matt (American masters student at Canterbury), Lauren and I discovered that the seconds bakery we went to in the summer sells monstrous bags of slice for $2. It was awesome sharing it with everyone at Cattlestop Crag, though it may have led to my inability to complete a top rope on Shimmering Jelly (20, highly recommended). My belly felt like shimmering jelly. I’ll have to go back sans-slice (no way!). I also did my first ‘real’ trad climb on a 14 crack at Gibraltor Rock (Coup de Grace, 14). I may or may not have had a meltdown in the middle of the climb. You can ask some of Lauren’s friends if that happened or not.

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Gibraltar Rock climbing,Jan 12th 2012 001

This past weekend we did an extended weekend near Mt Cook at Sebastapol Bluffs. I was planning on going there in the summer last year on the way from Queenstown to Christchurch but didn’t make it as the girl I was supposed to meet up with changed plans (needless to say I got to spend a couple more days with the crazy Germans/Austrians I travelled with and instead went towards Otago Peninsula & Dunedin, so that was fine too). It is known for it’s long/tall bolted slab climbs.

We had beautiful weather all 3 days. There wasn’t even a cloud in the sky. The first day we ran into Glen & Greg, who I climbed with last summer in Wanaka. The plan too is to go down to Wanaka towards the end of September to climb for a while again. We also met up with Craig one evening, who is down south ski touring. I travelled with him and Pia from Takaka to Wanaka. AND EVEN (!!!) we met up with Brendan, who I spent a lot of time with/travelled with around Nelson/Takaka. He’s been spending the past month being extremely hardcore (12 hour scree walk? no thanks) and ski touring up around the mountains near Mt Cook. We knew he’d be in the ‘area’, but it just so happened that he walked out the day before we got there. It’s too bad his feet hurt too much to climb.

Anyway, the climbing! We tried to hit lots of the recommended and highly recommended climbs. The first day we climbed on Red Wall: Red Arete (15, 4 pitches, 90m) and Shark Attack (17, 3 pitches, 87m) which are two of the most well-known climbs. It was a good introductory day.

Seb Bluffs

Red WallThe second day was a shorter day and we went to Kingfisher Slabs. There I led a Keep Left Arete (18, 35m) and Serias (20, 35m). Serias is the best lead I have done yet. I really love slab climbing and this was by far the hardest as it was really long and the holds were so small. I had to take a lot of breaks. We also walked up to the viewing point of the rapidly retreating (very muddy looking) Tasman Glacier.

KingfisherThe last day we climbed at Poo Pond Crag (named that as it is right behind the sewage ponds, haha!) where we climbed a funny arete called Scorpio’s Sting (16, 25m), The Snout (14, 22m) and Poo Pond Slab (16, 2 picthces, 50m). This area was very vegetated/mossy.

I’d love to go back to the area because it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Not sure if it would be more rock climbing focused, but maybe more tramping/moutaineering/skiing focused. I want to go back.

Other then this, been up to the usual shenanigans. We had a charity bake-off at work last week for CureKids so (with Kat‘s suggestion) I made an oreo cookie dough cheesecake. Everyone LOVED it, it disappeared like wild fire and I won the cake category. It still gets mentioned once or twice a day. I think that’s why they keep extending my contract.

Oh! Monday I met up with Kevin who is my (fellow exchange student) friend John’s identical twin. John is from Iowa and goes to school in Colorado. That was really neat. I’m hoping to see Kevin & Cam again this weekend.

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3 of 3 picture posts: charleston & punakaiki

I am pining for when I’ll get to go back to Charleston! Dry weather is rare on the west coast, so I’ll have to keep crossing my fingers.

The swell was big when we were there.

IMG_0547 IMG_0549 IMG_0554What happens when you stand too close to the swell:

IMG_0568Baby’s first trad climb!

IMG_0560In general, it was very nice there (except for the sand flies).

IMG_0562 IMG_0569 IMG_0565 IMG_0555And the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. We wanted to make pancakes AT pancake rocks, but couldn’t find any pancake mix on the west coast. How strange. Guess we’ll have to go back (to try whitebait as well!).

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mt hutt, okonomiyaki & charleston

As Kat mentioned, I have been attempting to master the office-weekday, outdoor-weekend routine! This past week was the first time since I left Fiji where I actually felt warm outside. The adventures are multiplying!

Last last week, I kicked off the weekend by dragging my coworker Andrew to the rock climbing gym with Lauren & Natalie. He said his arms were very sore afterwards. One thing I love about gym climbing is that you can do it with anyone! We also had delicious pizza at the Brewery (one was minced lamb with a yogurty sauce, and the other was blue cheese, meat and pear). I would like a stone oven in my house. Beside the food laminator (hehe).

Saturday involved treating ourselves at the market (duck eggs have massive yolks!!) and my friend Kota’s goodbye evening. We met at a bar and then went to a nearby asian restaurant. I had mapo tofu and it was SPICY!!!!!!! This restaurant is becoming quite a frequented place as it’s open really late and pretty cheap. And spicy. Then we went back to Karim’s house and tried many of Kota’s latest brewings (cherry, honey and passionfruit!) That was probably a bad idea. Sunday I went to Mt Hutt to go snowboarding! I had been warned that the ski fields here would be a bit disappointing, but I wanted to get out. The season has been very warm here and only one big dump of snow, so there snow machines have been working over time. I opted to board, and not ski, because it really doesn’t matter about the size or number of lifts because I spend half the time sliding down the hill on my face. I am a lot better at snowboarding now, and I didn’t fall off the charlift the entire day! I can go down blue runs, but only really slowly. I can connect about three turns and then I get too scared about how “fast” I am going. The snow was ok in the morning but got really yucky in the afternoon. That was okay though because I got really tired quite quickly.

I haven’t introduced Karim & Natalie yet – they let us stay at their house for a week when I first arrived in Christchurch 7 weeks ago. Natalie is a singer, and she’s awesome (and Australian-born). (some shameless promotion) She’s on the radio! (cool) This is a bit confusing because I also have a friend named Natalie, who is t at the uni. Karim is a school teacher and half-Kiwi, half-French. He’s a great cook.

The week was pretty regular, but I have to say I am climbing better than I ever have before! I’ve been doing better and better every week and I almost can do a pull-up (maybe I can now!! I haven’t tried in a couple weeks).

Thursday night, we had our last-last hoorah for Kota and Karim & Natalie made okonomiyaki, hijiki salad, a pickled vegetable to put on rice, and japanese coleslaw (except I forgot to try it because I was too busy stuffing my face). It was incredibly delicious!!! I am still dreaming about it, I think I may have to make it this week (time to buy another cabbage!). Then singer Natalie had a small gig, so we all went to that.

Theeeen this past weekend, Lauren and I decide evade the horrible weather in Christchurch and went to the west coast. (Easy peasy, narrow-New Zealand!) We packed the van with the destination of mind as sea cliffs in Charleston (just south of Westport). It was an absolutely beautiful area with the waves crashing against the rocks. You have to be careful though, don’t climb the rocks that are being crashed against! The swell was absolutely massive (3m!) so quite a bit of the climbing was off-limits and both of us, while belaying, got an ocean-shower by a rogue wave. You anchor yourself in at the bottom too so that if that did happen (unlikely) you won’t get washed away to sea. That’s not cool.

Lauren took a lot of time to teach me how to traditional climb (where you put in your own placements instead of clipping to bolts). It was easier and harder than expected. It made me think a lot. I successfully led a few climbs, the hardest one being an 11/5.4. In rock climbing language, this means flat. Here is an infographic where you can learn about climbing!

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We also visited the pancake rocks in Punakaiki and watched the blowholes (where water gets pushed through tunnels and splooshes up in a geyser-like formation), and camped beachside each night.

I took a lot of pictures so hopefully I can post them up soon!

christchurch pt 1

Felix and Nico had to run off to a dinner the day they drove me to Christchurch, so I met up with Lauren in town. Lauren and I met earlier on the trip at Castle Hill through Pia and Craig (who I travelled South with). Originally the plan was to stay in Christchurch and climb/travel the area for about a week. I ended up showing up two days early and we ended up getting along so well that I actually stayed there for the rest of my trip.

A lot of Christchurch rock has been entirely obliterated. What used to be columns of rock is now a pile of rubble from the 2011 earthquake (2 years ago!). Christchurch area was a huge climbing area, but now it barely has any.

Now

Now

Before

We decided to check out Albert Terrace on the first day as it is supposed to be a good beginner/warm-up wall. We found the rock a bit dodgy as it sounded quite hollow. It was fine though, and we had fun on a route that in my book said was a 19 but then as more people came by to climb it kept upping a grade or two because people kept saying that it got re-graded a few times. Riiight.

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I also got a driving on the left side lesson that day.

The next day Lauren had to work in the morning so I got to practice driving on the left side some more. I am good at it other than all right of way rules because they are backwards!! Fiji drives on the left, so I am used to sitting on the left, but Fiji also does not have any right of way rules so I am not used to that. There are a couple of big adventures I want to do in Fiji this year where you need to rent a car so I feel a lot more confident now than before.

We spent a few days in the Banks Peninsula area looking for things to climb. On the way we stopped at Lyttleton which had a nice Kiwi beach, which was good, but then a lady who was also there told us that it was one of the beaches where the water is hot. We sat in a hot pool/puddle for a while. So awesome. Nature’s hot tub.

We also stopped and inventoried our food because we both had no idea what we had with us. We found out that if the car broke down we could probably survive on baked beans for a week no problem.

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My climbing book, South Island Rock, also know as the worst climbing guidebook I have ever seen, led us astray a few times. We did end up doing some trad climbing at Holmes Bay which was very smooth and crackular. My hands got torn to shreds quite a bit. But most of the time we just spend wandering/driving on dodgy roads (thank goodness for 4 by 4).

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The next day we were so frustrated at trying to find the cliffs (you seriously need a machete!) so we gave up and ate fush and chups and drove back to Christchurch. Then we went to the climbing gym. At that point it had been a seriously long time since I had a shower, heh, so it probably was a good thing that we went to the gym.

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Where is the crag??