Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Section Event

Wanaka Rock Climbing

Saturday, April 29 2023 — Sunday, April 30 2023

The Basics
Event type: Rock climbing
Start date: Saturday, April 29 2023
End Date: Sunday, April 30 2023
Registration cut-off Sunday, April 23 2023 12:00 AM
Trip organizers
Rob McLaren [Otago]
Cost Shared petrol costs plus accomodation
Participant Information
Who's invited Members and guests
Attendee screening Attendees are pre-screened
Maximum number of participants 12
Total number registered 0
Who's registered You must be logged in to view participant list


Wanaka is a fantastic climbing destination with a variety of different crags and a huge number of climbing routes of all grades.  These are predominantly sport routes although there are a small number of trad routes too.  For those who have recently completed a lead climbing course, Wanaka provides the perfect place to build on your leading climbing skills - but please note that this is not an instructional course and climbers must either have completed a lead climbing course or be experienced in lead sport climbing.  Depending on the numbers attending and the experience/ability level of attendees we may split into more than one group so that climbers can visit different areas that suit their respective skill levels.  The plan is for attendees to stay at the Glendhu Bay Motorcamp. ( - I am planning to tent ($20 per adult) but other options are available.  Attendees from Dunedin will drive up after work on Friday and stay Friday and Saturday night (April 29-30), before returning to Dunedin late afternoon on Sunday 23rd.  Central based attendees may wish to meet up with us on Saturday morning.    Note that many Wanaka climbs are accessed by crossing farmland - the Wanaka Rock Club has negotiated access to these with farmers and the following rules must be observed - no fires no dogs and no rubbish.  Cross fences at the stiles and leave gates as you find them.  Note that there are also lambing restrictions in place in some areas from August to October.

Getting There

From Dunedin take SH1 South and then turn inland on SH8 just after Milton .  Take to the turn off over the bridge to Cromwell and then continue on SH6 to Wanaka.  From Wanaka follow the road west out of town towards the Treble Cone ski field - Glendhu Bay is about 10km from Wanaka.  From Dunedin this is about a 3.5 hour drive.

What to Expect

Good quality rock with great, well bolted sports climbs!

Possible Hazards

Covid 19/Colds/Flu: Stay home if you are sick or have any symptoms. Wear a mask in the car if you wish to minimise risk. Practice good hygiene e.g. washing hands before prep/consume food. 

People: insufficient experience, knowledge or fitness; fatigue; complacency; not doing safety checks; poor safety practices; poor decision making under pressure and poor communication are all human failures that are probably the most common cause of climbing accidents. You are responsible for your own safety - choose routes that are appropriate for the skill level of yourself and your partner. Allow enough time to avoid rushing and making mistakes due to time pressure - routes may take longer than you think particularly if you haven't been to the area before. Plan ahead to avoid mistakes e.g. take some food, water and warm clothing on longer climbs so that you avoid the temptation to rush later in the climb. Communication can be difficult on longer routes or in windy weather so have pre-arranged plans or signals with your partner before you start each pitch. 

Lead falls: The potential for taking a lead fall is an inherent risk in lead climbing and experienced climbers expect to take falls.  In general, sports routes at Wanaka are well bolted and most falls are unlikely to result in injury.   However, injuries can occur e.g., from sliding down slabs or from striking a protruding ledge below you. Poor technique and inexperience can also lead to injuries – e.g. allowing the rope to run behind the legs may lead to the climber being turned upside down in a fall and swinging backwards into the wall.  Use of helmets is mandatory on club trips and can reduce the risk of head injury if the head strikes rock or the ground during a fall.  Climbers should consult a guidebook and consider their abilities and experience when selecting routes to lead.  Wanaka is known primarily as a sport climbing destination but there are also some trad routes – climbers should only undertake these if they have experience in trad climbing.

Rock fall: The rock at Wanaka is generally of good quality but there is always a risk of rock fall or other dropped objects when climbing or standing at the base of crags. Wearing a helmet is mandatory on all club trips when climbing, belaying or standing at the base of the crag. Warn others loudly if you dislodge a rock while climbing.

Gear failure/misuse: Check that you have the right gear for the climb you plan to do. Check your gear is in safe working order before you start the climb including borrowed gear. It is your responsibility to visually check gear is safe to use. Common mistakes include harnesses not being buckled correctly. Never assume that fixed gear such as anchors/bolts are bomber. Always check pre-placed gear carefully before you use it.

Weather: Hypothermia/Hyperthermia/Sunburn.  This trip has been scheduled in Autumn so hopefully we shouldn’t experience the extreme high temperatures that can occur in Central Otago at the height of summer.  However, come prepared for conditions to either be hot or cold.  Bring both light and warm clothing options, drink bottle, sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen.  Check the weather forecast before heading out climbing for the day.

Slips, trips, falls: Most Wanaka crags are easily accessed from the road or public walking tracks and have straightforward approaches but check with the guidebook before heading out.  As always outdoors, there may be uneven or wet ground so it is a good idea to wear sturdy footwear. 


At a minimum climbers should bring their own personal gear (helmet, harness, belay device, rock shoes, chalk bag) and quickdraws (if you have them).  I will discuss ropes with attendees closer to the time when we know how many people are attending - but let me know if you have a rope you are prepared to bring.  The club can provide some gear (helmets, harnesses, belay devices) but this must be arranged with the trip leader beforehand.  You will also need to bring camping gear (if tenting) and your own food.  Make sure you bring warm clothing as it is now autumn and conditions could be cool.  The trip leader will bring a club first aid kit but climbers are also encouraged to bring their own personal first aid kits too.


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.