Maiden Van Voyage to Kawakawa Bay
Wellington Aniversary weekend
Friday afternoon I took off to Paul’s place and picked up the good ship TTC Adventure van (it's not been named yet) and headed off to pick up the gear and crew. It was Wellington Anniversary Weekend and so the traffic in Wellington sucked and the weather forecast was not that great. Eventually I got to the station, everyone piled in and off we went. I was expecting carnage on the motorway with snail pace stop/start driving. But I was pleasantly surprised and we got a good start. At Levin we got the supplies in and dinner and headed north with Spotify bluetoothed into the van stereo and people having turns at choosing the music. Eventually we made it to Amie and Bob’s parents’ batch at Taupō late at night. In the morning one of us was missing, Loulou; after a quick look around we saw her sleeping outside on the lawn. Apparently she preferred not to be entertained by the snoring.
After brekkie we headed to Kinloch, where Craig and Andy took the gear by the boat to Kawakawa Bay while the rest of us walked the 1.5 hours to get there. The students all but ran there while the rest of us followed at a more leisurely pace. On arrival we erected our tents, threw the non-climbing gear in the tent and headed for the cliffs. The weather was holding but threatening so we wanted to get as much climbing in as possible. The Sunday was meant to be a washout. So Andy and Loulou headed off and climbed Captain Caveman (3 pitches grade 17, 16, 20) and High Hopes (2 pitches grade 16) while Craig, Connor, Nick and I climbed Mellow Yellow (3 pitches grade 15), All Aussie Adventures (first pitch only grade 15) and High Hopes.
By the evening we were tired and we relaxed to a good meal and a few cups of wine (for the adults). Every hour, one of the students would yell, “I’m legally blind”, the next one would scream, and Craig would cringe. While the rest of us giggled or/and looked confused. After a few hours of laughing and taking it easy we headed for bed.
On Sunday we woke to a cloudy day but much better than expected so we headed to the cliffs again and climbed a series of climbs. This saw Loulou lead climb an impressive grade 22 Predator and then focused on climbing a tree next to it. Andy top-roped Predator and led Pitch 1 of Aliens Resurrection (grade 17) this saw Nick following Andy up the latter. Craig, Connor and I headed up Pitch 1 of Jugzilla (grade 17); we then re-jigged the teams and went off to climb more routes. Connor and Nick led Jug Addiction (grade 16), they were doing extremely well and getting into the climbing while Loulou was bombing everything. At this stage my shoulder started grumbling (an old injury) and so I headed to the slab climbs so my shoulder could rest.
The rain did arrive but was only an occasional annoyance so in the end we had a full day of climbing. In the evening someone was legally blind again, scream, Craig wrings his hands. Which entertained us after another good meal (Thanks Craig for organising all the food).
On Monday the weather had improved and we climbed until 12:00 then packed and headed back to Kinloch. I climbed one of my favorite trad climbs Gecko Groove (grade 16) and put up the top rope for others. My shoulder gave up and I spent the rest of the day watching the others. Both Loulou and Andy lead climbed Rohans Arete (grade 22), impressively, while the rest climbed a series of climbs on the same wall. Eventually though the time ran out and we had to head back to camp and pack for the walk out.
On the way back to Kinloch, Nora turned up and joined the group for the walk out. All but Stu and Nora jumped into the van and headed back to Welly in the club’s amazing brand new van. Driving the van was fun once you got used to using gears and sitting so high. It felt like driving a big modern car. The van has grunt so there is no problems with getting up hills or passing people. And it was so easy to book and get. I think it's great the club has one now.
- Party members
- Leader: Andrew Jones; instructors: Craig Morrison, Stu Hutson (scribe); students: Loulou Wright-Johns, Nick Moore, Connor Riley; extra climbers: Nils Citleux, Lucie; Late joiner: Nora Hutson