Slip Sliding Away
At 5:15 the gang met at the club. Grabbed packs, ropes, boots, tents, pots and other gear. Then we headed north in two cars. We stopped at Levin and the students did the food shopping and headed off again. By the time we got to Bulls the petrol station was the only place open, so it was pie time. Finally we got to Kinloch at 1:30 am. Kindly Susie let us camp on her front lawn. Man were Simon and I sick of driving and everyone was tired.
Five hours later we were up. Packing the food, eating and loading up. Susie could take all our gear and four of us in the charter boat. Cathy, Tess and I walked to Kawakawa Bay 1.5 hours away. We had taken two tents and a fly. On arriving we found that one of the tents had been packed with the wrong poles and outer fly, so the fly was going to be well used. It was lightly raining and we had an early lunch while waiting for better weather, which did arrive.
We headed for the cliffs and threaded our way along the access track. This track wound its way along the cliff face sometimes 20 metres up where a safety rope was needed. Sienna, Catherine, Tessa and I headed off to do some Trad climbing lessons. While Sienna enjoyed the lesson, Simon, Rex and Mirth headed up the classic grade 16 ‘High Hopes’ followed by the challenging 19 grade climb ‘Sidewinder’. Cathy and Sienna had a wonderful time up one climb and I thought they’d never come down, constant laughter floating down. As dusk descended we headed back to the camp where a little slacklining and firewood gathering ensued. A good cup of tea was had and the dinner prepared as we got the fire going. We used both the fire and a cooker to make the meal and had a great meal before heading under the fly. This was a first time for most and we all had a good night’s sleep. Little wind and no biting bugs.
The next day the weather was even better though we could see it was raining across the lake at Whanganui Bay. Tessa woke up to see she had become one with nature, her long hair had intertwined with the leaves on the ground - brush, brush, brush and more brush. After breakfast we headed back out and got stuck in heading up grade 18s and 19s.
At one point we were at a very thin section of the track, so we were all attached to a safety line or a bolt when Simon slipped with a handhold breaking and before I could blink he had gone. There was a 20 metre drop onto rocks at this part of the track. Luckily he grabbed the safety line on the way down and it held. As a backup he had the daisy chain attached to the safety line and harness, so if he had missed the rope he would have been saved. Simon pulled himself back up and after our hearts started again we headed back to climbing, Tessa and Mirth were in good leading form with the rest of us enjoying the views, once we got to the top of the climbs and then abseiling back down. Life is good when you’re climbing. Rex even said his famous refrain (I pity the fool) as he admired the view. Sadly, before long it was time to head back to the camp.
Eating lots and loading heavy packs then heading up the track on a windy day back to Kinloch by 6:00pm ... We headed into Taupō and had dinner and took off to Wellington with lots of coffee stops for the drivers. Back to the club and a quick drop off of gear and straight to bed for a 4:00 sleep before getting up for work. Can’t wait to go back to Kawakawa Bay as there are so many good climbs there and a good place to camp. SH
trip report text here
- Party members
- Stuart Hutson (leader and scribe), Sienna Kelly (Chips), Rex Moar (Mr T), Simon Russell, Catherine Sangster, Mirth Starfish (Fish), Tess van de Benken (Messy)