Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Section Event

Mt. Somers Trad Climbing Trip

Friday, March 17 2023 — Monday, March 20 2023

The Basics
Event type: Rock climbing
Start date: Friday, March 17 2023
End Date: Monday, March 20 2023
Registration cut-off Wednesday, March 15 2023 11:00 PM
Trip organizers
Eve O'Brien [Otago]
Cost At least $50 for hut fees plus your own fuel to drive to there.
Participant Information
Who's invited Members and guests
Attendee screening Attendees are pre-screened
Maximum number of participants 10
Total number registered 2
Who's registered You must be logged in to view participant list


This is a trad rock climbing meet, not an instruction course, and participants are to provide their own rock climbing gear, safety equipment and camping/tramping equipment. 

We hope to make the most of the Otago Anniversary weekend by taking Friday off to create a 4 day weekend as this climbing area has a significant approach tramp. The scenic location of the crags is superb and climbs here are high quality. It's definitely worth the hike! You won't be disappointed...everyone I have taken here gets hooked!

We plan to meet at the Mt. Somers Car Park at the end of Flynns Rd in the Sharplin Falls Reserve at 12pm on Friday 17th March, 2023. We will walk the Sharplin Falls Track to Pinnacle Hut Track, 5.2km, 3 hours. Once we have dropped gear it’s time to climb….likely heading to the closer sport crags near the hut for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. Then two full days on Saturday and Sunday of trad climbing heaven on the columns covering the upper hillside behind the hut! It is approx. a 1 hour approach walk to/from the hut each day to the crags.

Early birds may also want to squeeze in some morning climbing on Monday before leaving Pinnacles Hut mid morning for 3 hour walk out to Sharplin Falls carpark. Planning to be back at cars around 1:30 - 2pm before driving home (those who need to leave earlier are welcome to head out whenever it suits them...please note your plans in the sign up form as it will determine our transport arrangements).

We'd plan to use the Pinnacles Hut as a base with camping or hut bunk options available. Booking is necessary online for both camping and hut beds and it is a super popular hut/campsite so I'd suggest booking as soon as you sign up for the trip (see more info under 'gear').

Climbing at Mt. Somers is mainly top quality trad lines in a variety of grades (12 - 25) on impressive columns of volcanic Rhyolite. 

More info on the rock climbing can be found at

For more info about the walk in track and topo map location see below:,171.3752&z=14&pin=1&lbl=Mount%20Somers%2C%20Canterbury%20%28-43.6211%2C%20171.3752%29

Getting There

The organiser (Eve) is travelling to Mt. Somers from Alexandra (leaving about 7am on 17th and arriving back around 7pm on 20th) so could carpool with people from Central Otago (likely I will drive up through Twizel/Fairlie route) or arrange pick up someone en route. It is also likely that some people will come from Dunedin so there may be carpooling options available from there. Just mention on the sign up form where you are travelling from and we will try to arrange shared transport if possible to save fuel costs.

What to Expect

· Excellent trad climbing (grade 12-25) in one of the country’s most scenic crags.

· Solid hike to Pinnacles hut (~3 hrs) over rough track. At least 1 hour walk/scramble up steep hill to climbing areas.

· Reasonable level of tramping fitness required as the Pinnacles Hut track is a rough tramping track and you will be carrying a heavy pack with overnight and trad climbing gear and possibly camping gear.

· Must be comfortable belaying and preferably leading trad climbing outdoors. If you are not comfortable leading trad then you will need to pair up in advance with someone who is happy to lead and has own trad gear.

· Must be able to clean an anchor and set up a rappel safely.

· Access tracks to the climbing areas may be exposed and you must be comfortable with some easy/moderate scrambling.

Possible Hazards

Standard rock climbing and tramping hazards such as falling, rock fall and other overhead hazards, heat exhaustion and hypothermia. In addition to the ‘normal’ rock climbing hazards, be aware that: 

  • Carrying a pack with climbing gear as well as camping gear means that your pack will be much heavier than normal tramping weight so take your time on uneven terrain and take plenty of breaks on the tramp in to avoid over-exertion and strains. 
  • The Pinnacles tramping and climbing access track may be slippery after rain and there is significant risk for slips trips and falls. There are exposed drop offs in several places so take your time and be particularly mindful at the end of the day when you are tired as even a small slip can have serious consequences. People have had near misses and actual falls in this area in the past and it has always been on the walk back to the hut or the walk out at the end of the trip. 
  • Loose rock under foot on the access trail can be a factor in falls.
  • Small river crossings may be required on the access track after heavy rain.
  • Some large loose rocks have been noticed on the climbs previously (notably at Meat Grinder and Christian Principals wall) and pose a hazard if many people climb in a small area simultaneously. Be extra mindful of people climbing next to, above and below you.
  • You are in a mountain environment with significant approaches to the crag so take enough gear with you each day to be prepared should conditions change or an emergency occur
NNOTE: Due to significant rock fall hazards, we require everyone to wear a helmet at the base of the crag whether you are climbing or not. Wearing a helmet on some approach sections with overhead hazards or exposure is also strongly recommended. 


We plan to stay at Pinnacles Hut on the Mount Somers Track. 
This hut/campsite needs to be booked in advance via the DOC online booking system. It is very popular so I'd advise booking here as soon as you sign up for the trip to ensure you are not disappointed. 
Fees are 
Sunday to Friday
Hut - Adult (18+ years): $15 per night
Campsite- Adult (18+ years): $7.50 per night

Hut - Adult (18+ years):  $20 per night
Campsite - Adult (18+ years):  $10 per night

NOTE: You can also use a Backcountry Hut pass for this hut which is available to NZAC members from approx. $100 (with the cost of 3 nights at this hut you'd be paying $50 anyway so I think it's worth just getting the Backcountry hut pass if you do other tramping/hut trips anyway. But you have to buy it online ahead of time so that you can use it to book the hut...sometimes worth ringing the local DOC office if you have trouble with definitely can't just rock up to the hut and expect a bunk if you have a pass. It's far too busy for that. 

Gear needed!!!
  • You must have your own safety gear (helmet/personal safety etc)
  • You must have a full personal climbing kit including you own trad climbing gear. If you don’t have trad gear it is up to you to organise to share with someone else.
  • Guidebook or printouts if you have them are recommended.
  • Clothing and equipment for 4 days in an outdoor environment that can have extreme weather including snow at any time of the year. Rain jacket and pants plus warm layers e.g. down jacket, polyprop top/bottoms, fleece.
  • Camping gear for tenting or staying at hut e.g. tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag. You need to make sure you have a booking and plan accordingly. If you plan ahead you may be able to share a tent with someone to share weight. 
  • We will cook together as a group for evening meals on Saturday and Sunday in groups of three or four, to save weight carrying in surplus fuel bottles and pots. Please bring own breakfasts, lunch, snacks. Trip leader will delegate cooking groups and you can discuss shared dinner requirements within the group.


Click the button below to be taken to the sign-up form. If attendees are not screened, then you will be automatically added to the participant list.

For screened events, the trip leader may contact you for further information about your experience and skills.

The start date for this event has passed.