Monday, May 4, 2009
Castle Hill!!! Finally!
I've been so wrapped up in Castle Hill I all but forgot to update the blog (also our internet connection is patchy at best). My apologies. Let me start from the beginning as best I can...
We were driving in our little red van. Driving, driving, driving. We drove from Napier to Wellington, had a lovely lunch, drove around the beautiful and dense coastal city.
Then we drove onto a ferry that was supposed to only be a four hour tour that would deliver us to the south island. It turned out to be seven hours because the ferry broke down in the middle of the harbor. sweet. We arrived on the south island and headed in the direction of Castle Hill. With perfect weather we were completely entranced by the ocean and it's rocky wonderland of sea life.
Ava and I hung out at the beach while Kyle surfed. I wish I had photos of him surfing!!!
We camped just off the beach and woke up to a seal about 20 feet away basking in the morning sun. It was beautiful.
Ava has the best bed head complete with dread locks. Every morning.
Then we drove some more, down the coast and headed inland through hilly farmland and up into the mountains. By this time we were all a bit road weary, and I was aching to rock climb. I hadn't done much research on the area. I've learned through years of traveling that plans are best left unmade until you have a realistic idea of what a place is about. So, we looked on the map, saw a peak called Castle Hill and headed in that direction, hoping it was the right area!
As we drove round the twists and turns that lead up the slope my heart was beating faster in anticipation of the first glimpse of rock. I'd been waiting for what seemed like months to reach this place and now we were almost there...
The easiest area to get to is Quantum. It is reached easily by all manner of tourist and athlete alike. We ran around our first day like giddy school children. We left the pad in the car and went on a reconiscence mission to find out what this place was about. It's like a candy shop of boulders that attract even the most novice of climbers.
This is Ava's favorite climb and it's actually in the guide book! Ava's first established rock climb.
Because this area is so easily accessible it gets the most traffic making it pretty slippery and glassy. Many of the classic problems you can barely climb because they are so slick. The first day we spent our time on easy climbs that we could do barefoot. Climbers were stopping to ask if we needed to use their pads and we would thank then but decline their offer as the problems we were spending our time on had the most perfect grassy landings, who needed a pad! We would soon find out why.
The climbing in Quantum is really smeary with lots of mantels and slabs and reachy high balls.
Monkey and the Magic Peach (v8), still a goal. Apparently to gain purchase on that runnel you have to knee bar on your hand reach up with your left hand, tilt your head to the left then rock over your foot. Seriously.
Carrie photo...check out the manly beard!
Dominatrix v6 with a "technical knee bar" sit start. Flashed it.
It was sunny but cold and even so we had no idea that it was going to dump snow on us in the middle of the night!
Jason Myer and I having a snow ball fight! That day we left for Christchurch to find a home. A place to live in winter, inside.