“Waitomo is the stunted, learning deficient but ultimately lovable child of NZ bouldering. Living in the shadow of its bigger limestone brother in the south, and not quite as stacked as its cousin on the blustery shores of the capital, it ambles along in the wake its betters, competently bringing up the rear.” Anon.
Waitomo’s prevailing forecast has settled down to being easy to moderate with a smattering of harder stuff in the afternoon, coming on to rains of sheep shit at night. If you’re looking for problems with good grassy landings anywhere between V0 ad V4 on good clean rock, then this area will keep you entertained for a good handful of pleasant sessions out in NZ’s woolly agrarian heartland. It has a good balance of short grovely stuff for the highball impaired, and some airy high easy stuff at Highball Wall for those wanting to hang themselves out to dry, but don’t want to push the limits high off the deck. In short, it has a few things that you’ll find in the ‘learn to highball in 75 easy steps!” starter kit.
For those who like to go upside down, Grotview has an abundance of eliminate/variation/ link-up silliness, provided you catch it on a fine day. Otherwise be prepared to wallow in a miasma of clayish mud and oozing sheep poop.
Skyline boulders has a some nice easy stuff, as does Totem pole, but the two are separated by a long walk. Or at least long to a boulderer. So while there are classics dotted about the whole area, be prepared to go hunting for them all over the countryside. Its been fairly well established for a few years, and the classics even have enough traffic to start polishing the holds! Just like at Castle Hill. Aw, bless.
The whole countryside is littered with boulder scarps, but the Stubbs’ are the happiest to let people roam about their property falling off things. If you’re a local and are on friendly handshake terms with other farmers, they may let you onto their land, but currently there is a lot of untapped and potentially off-limits potential hidden about the place. One semi-off limits area is The Pond. With around a dozen or so problems, it makes a nice change from the usual, though access is an issue, as it’s on somebody else’s property. Seeking their blessing is essential before parking at the gate and scaring their sheep. If you know more beta on this area, let me know and i can post updates. Actually, James made a liar out of me by kindly posting that The Pond is still on Stubbs’ land! Just let them know you’re going there first. Chur Captain Crush.
Some of my favourites at the airstrip are Epyphite (V4), which is a nice high arete tucked away in the trees. It’s got a tricky start followed by a few tenuous moves over a poor landing, ending in a bushy top-out. Classy.
K3 at the Highball wall is a super fun V3 with a nice high finish. Crux is the last move, just where you want it.
Heavenly Curves at the North Face area is one staunch compression move starting off a slanting block, and ending with a bunched finish. Hard for the grade its posted at, (V6), but well worth the effort.
And finally the last great line yet to fall is the Spartan Roof project over the hill from Grotview. It’s a tall piece of rock with a three meter long roof that’s partially detached from the bank behind it. Should you wish, the cave goes twenty meters in…apparently. The line goes up a vertical face to two minuscule crimps in the middle of the roof. Finish up with a superman dyno to the fins on the lip. Hold the wild swing and top out. This is all theoretical of course, as I’ve not had the chance to try the dyno. I suspect it’ll remain a pipe-dream for some time.
Speaking of Captain Crush, as an early developer and FA fiend of Waitomo, he recommends Cytokine storm (The Pond) as the best V5 in the area.
Recently, Durango sponsored Hamiltration hard-man Sam Williams succeeded on climbing Frantic from the very back of the cave. As far as i saw, it involves climbing IN to the small creek and forcing yourself into a ball to do the start moves, before it eventually gets to the original lines start holds. He called it Frantastic and reckons its a full point harder than the original. Job.
Another possible project is the central face on the ‘dirty little slapper’ boulder. I’ve tried it once or twice, and can only say it goes from some backward facing pocs to a dyno to a creditcard sized chip. Possible, but nails.
To get there, find your way to Waitomo Caves road and follow it all the way up to a sign that says ‘Stubbs Farm.’ Please ring before going.
Stubbs Farm phone number is… I’ll have to get that