Alex, Aiden, Fabio and I did an overnight trip down to Mangaokewa on Saturday. We left Auckland around 7pm on Friday evening (after a quick dinner at Japanese barbeque restaurant Ken’s Yakitori) and arrived in Te Kuiti just before 10pm. Breakfast was muesli in the morning, followed by a coffee at the cafe across the road. Then we headed out to the crag, though not in a huge rush, as the winter mornings are cold. The weather was good but it had been raining the whole week, so a lot of the crag was wet with seepage, but as usual the Colosseum was mostly dry.
The main target for the day was redpointing “When Cavers Go Climbing”, a really fun grade 21 (~ 5.11a) in the middle of the Colosseum, the main wall of Mangaokewa crag.
We first warmed up on “French Ethics”, just to the right. This is a classic warm up (grade 15) that shares the same anchors with both “When Cavers Go Climbing” and “Dogamatrix” (grade 17).
My first attempt to redpoint “When Cavers Go Climbing” failed as I had slightly forgotten the sequence between the 3rd and 4th bolt. I had first tried this route a fortnight earlier just before the trip to Squamish. That time I very nearly onsighted it, but was pumped out and chose the wrong method of manteling onto the ledge. But I had done all the hard moves.
Alex and Fabio also both had goes at the climb. Fabio red-pointed it, and Alex got very close but couldn’t quite find a sequence she liked. After we had all had our first attempts, I managed to redpoint it on my second attempt.
The second time it went quite easily and felt really good to have worked out all the moves. Basically I just locked in the clipping stances, and treated the slopers in between as intermediates that I moved through rather than spending any unnecessary time on. It worked well. I also traversed right, just below the ledge, to make the move up on to the ledge much easier.
Working routes in groups like this is really fun, because you can discuss the approach and get beta from each other which makes it a collective problem solving game, but with an individual performance component as well.
After lunch we had a look at another good climb on the main wall called “Storming the Gates of Troy” (grade 20). I had also tried that climb on the previous trip, and had hangdogged it at the low crux between the first and second bolt.
This time I had another go and again failed at the low crux, but I asked Fabio to be let down to the ground so I could immediately try again from the ground with the first bolt pre-clipped. I was just going to try the traverse to the clipping stance in the corner again, but once I got it I kept going and managed to climb the whole thing cleanly.
Totally stoked with this bonus redpoint!
To top off a very successful day, Aiden nonchalantly cruised his first ever lead climb, by climbing French Ethics (grade 15) again, but this time clipping the bolts. He had never done a lead climb before, indoors or outside, but I was confident that he understood the process and knew the French Ethics route really well. He looked super smooth going up, and he was really happy when he was lowered down from the top. But he did confide that he was over-gripping a lot on the way up from the adrenaline of not having a top-rope to catch him from above.
So, all and all the day was very successful. Alex was happy with her attempts on the climbs, but nevertheless demanded we return the next weekend so she could get her redpoint :)
Editor’s note: we did return the following week and Alex also got the redpoint of When Cavers Go Climbing. Yay! I did very little on that trip though, as I was deathly sick.