Climbing a rock

I tried to climb this rock the other day. I won't mention the location as there is no public access (other than by water) and the nearby landowners are wary of visitors.

The rock has been climbed once before (as I understand it by a 12 year old!), and DOC has visited once by helicopter to perform a survey of plant and animals.

Our hopes for a flat sea (like in the photo above) were dashed a week out from our trip - we knew there was no chance of that with the forecast. Once we were out there there was a swell of maybe 2 or 3m, and strong wind. We decided to give it a nudge anyway, and hopped into our wetsuits. It is only a ~50m swim but with a very strong rip trying to push us up the coast we had to swim hard to make it across before being pushed across the front of the arch. The only place you can freeclimb up the rock is on the southernmost point, so we traversed around the rock\swam around the corner, fighting the swell and the current and doing our best not to get bashed against the rock and sliced open by the shellfish.

The climb only has two short vertical steps, about 5m each with a small shelf separating the two. Being conglomerate, it is not good climbing rock, and the bottom half was wet and slimy. We made it up the first climb without too much difficulty - but after staring at the second climb for some minutes we both came to the conclusion that attempting this was well off into the wrong corner of the risk matrix. A fall from here (given that we had no protection at all, not even helmets) would probably not be fatal, but the chance of any rescue before dark and a rising tide was slim to none.

Beaten, we carefully downclimbed back to sea level where we were promptly swept off the rock by a large wave and swam back to shore. All was not lost however - we picked off a selection of the tastiest looking mussels for dinner.

| October 21st, 2019 | Posted in Storytime |

Leave a Reply