Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Section Event

Wanaka Crag Fest Car Pooling

Friday, March 15 2024 — Sunday, March 17 2024

The Basics
Event type: Rock climbing
Start date: Friday, March 15 2024
End Date: Sunday, March 17 2024
Registration cut-off Friday, March 1 2024 12:00 PM
Trip organizers
Rob McLaren [Otago]
Cost See Wanaka Crag Fest for festival costs - petrol costs to be shared.
Participant Information
Who's invited Members and guests
Attendee screening Attendees are pre-screened
Maximum number of participants 50
Total number registered 0
Who's registered You must be logged in to view participant list


This event is being listed for purpose of arranging car pooling to the Wanaka Crag Fest 15-17 March (being organised by the NZAC) - for those who need transport or want to share fuel costs.  Please note that signing up to this event does not mean you are registered for the Wanaka Crag Fest - to register for this and take part in organised events you need to register through the Wanaka Crag Fest website  (

Note that attendees will need to arrange their own accommodation.  Again there is information on the website but for those looking to camp there will be a designated climbers camp for festival participants at Hampshire Holiday Parks (Glendhu Bay).  Many crags are only a short drive from this campsite and you will also be able to walk to the part at Velo on Saturday night.  To book your camp spot, ring 03 443 7243 or email - make sure to mention you are part of the Wanaka Crag Fest.

The festival officially starts on Friday 15th March - with registration /briefing from 10am - 12 noon.   However, if you prefer to drive up on Friday night - you can also register on Saturday 16th, 8:30 - 9:00am.   

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

See the Wanaka Crag Fest site ( for full details and programme. The festival will provide the option for attendees to join supported climbing sessions supervised by volunteer crag guides who will help with pointing out routes and setting up top-ropes.  However, please note that these are not 'learn to climb' sessions - attendees are expected to have basic top rope climbing and belay skills at a minimum.  There is also the opportunity to sign up for specific skills clinics (for additional cost) including rope rescue, lead climbing, trad leading and multipitch skills.   There will also be organised social events on the Friday and Saturday evenings. 

Possible Hazards

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.  The weather can get very hot or very cold in Wanaka so come prepared for either eventuality.  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 climbing gear (helmet, harness, belay device, rock shoes, chalk bag).  If you have quickdraws and a rope then please bring these too.  We can lend some club gear (harnesses, helmets, belay devices) but please arrange this with the trip leader beforehand.  You will also need to bring your own camping gear (if camping) and food. 


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.