ACYDC Camp 1, 2023 – Sky Castle

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since the last Auckland Climbing Youth Development Club camp.

We went to the 2021 camp as a family unit as Isabelle had only attended a single session with the group and she (in fact we) didn’t know anyone.

This time around, she has a climbing bestie and we know most of the parents who are involved in the club but we still went as a family unit because who doesn’t want to have a weekend away climbing?

This year, the camp was run slightly differently as all the kids who attended last time are far more experienced, so they split the attendees into two groups on the first day and we took the teenagers to Sky Castle (which I should have known by the name was a crag that was literally up in the sky)!

Believe me when I say that about 1/4 of the way up I was kicking myself for not hanging out with the young ones at Waipari – where you could literally drive the car to the rockface!

However, what seemed like a year after everyone else got to the top, my gallant bag carrying husband and I made it to the crag. I needed a rest after that death defying climb up the hill, so made myself a nice bed on a large flat boulder and watched the action.

Once you get there, the crag itself lovely. There is loads of room to sit down and stow your gear and the limestone is beautifully textured, which (for a novice like myself) was very confidence building.

The crag opened to the public in November 2022 and although there are only 10 bolted sports routes at the crag, our group was small enough that everyone could find a climb suitable for their level (even me) without any waiting involved.

I should however mention, there isn’t a tonne of shelter at the crag in the sky, so if it’s super hot, you aren’t going to get much respite, the rock is also quite black so I imagine it could also get quite hot to touch (although of that I’m not certain as it wasn’t a scorcher of a day when we went). We did however get a couple of rain showers and apart from a single tree that I found to duck under in between two climbing areas, there aren’t a lot of places where you could hide away and stay dry.

So all in all – I really liked the crag itself – the approach? Well that’s another matter entirely.

The access road was wet and slippery and had washed out areas due to the recent storms. There were also slips including pretty significant boulders across the road. I would have hated to try and drive through that road in a 2wd but it will probably fine once the road has dried out.

The walk to the crag was listed as a 10 minute slog up hill. I have no idea who these people are that can lug all that climbing gear up to the crag in ten minutes, but I do know that it took our young, fit, teenage athletes an hour – so – I’d take that 10 minutes with a grain of salt.

Don’t even ask how long it took me .. 😉

Till next time

For more information on Sky Castle – check out the

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