MAUNGAREI SPRINGS – Auckland’s Urban Crag
Auckland’s outdoor climbing options aren’t as plentiful as many other parts of the country, in fact according to The Crag there are two places where you can climb on a rope and another two where you can boulder (which is climbing without a rope), but even one of those requires a boat ride (or long swim) so – like I said, not many options.
However although Auckland lacks quantity, we make up for it with our crag locations. Ti Point is as instagram worthy as any South Island crag I’ve seen and Stony Batter is located on Waiheke Island (need I say more) and then for those on a time crunch (or who rely on Auckland’s public transport system) we have Maungarei Springs which is an urban basalt quarry located in Southeast Auckland.
For various reasons even though it is by far the closest crag to my home, I had never been there, so when I saw that the crag volunteers were holding an open day aimed at beginners it was the perfect opportunity to go and check it out.
James, Issy and I met up with some friends and headed to the crag on a VERY sunny Sunday afternoon which unbeknown to me was the worst time of the day to climb in the quarry as there is literally no shade.
There was also at least 10 million flying bugs – I can’t be more specific that that, however they reminded me of sandflies except they didn’t bite and there wasn’t any sand in sight.
But I digress ..
The volunteers had set up top ropes on the some of the easier climbs at the crag and it was as simple as finding a free rope and climbing.
On that note – the open day wasn’t designed for complete beginners as there was no “official instructing” on offer as I can imagine that would involve a tonne of red tape but there were willing belayers on hand if you needed one and the more experienced climbers would offer advice if you looked completely bewildered half way up the wall – climbers are after all, a pretty friendly bunch.
I had buddied up with a girl who had come along solo (as we were a group of five) and she zipped up every climb on offer, while I pretty much just climbed the walls that a five year old and her toddler sister had climbed – because I’m 50 now – I have absolutely no shame in my lack of ability – I make up for it with enthusiasm. 😉
The climbing was different to any other outdoor climb that I’ve done before. It reminded me of minecraft – which drew a blank look from my new climbing friend Dillon – but then again, she doesn’t have kids so I get it .. in short it was very blocky and I prefer giant pockets but I’d definitely go back and climb there again – I even have a wee goal to lead climb a couple of the easier ones and for those of you who know me personally – that’s a pretty big deal!
A huge thanks goes out to all the volunteers who gave up a beautiful Sunday so a bunch of inexperienced outdoor climbers could rock up and give it a go!
If you would like more information on the crag or would like to support the volunteers who help with the upkeep, please check out the Facebook page.
Till next time