Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Section Event

Sebastopol Multi-pitch Climbing Trip

Saturday, April 6 2024 — Sunday, April 7 2024

The Basics
Event type: Rock climbing
Start date: Saturday, April 6 2024
End Date: Sunday, April 7 2024
Registration cut-off Friday, April 5 2024 1:00 PM
Trip organizers
Eve O'Brien [Otago]
Cost Members will pay $50 total for 2 nights accommodation (non-members $100) and expect to pay $50 - 60 for travel costs to your driver
Participant Information
Who's invited Members and guests
Attendee screening Attendees are pre-screened
Maximum number of participants 15
Total number registered 16
Who's registered You must be logged in to view participant list
Sebastopol Bluffs climbing area has a multitude of walls to choose from to suit your level! Photo: Mathijs van de Ven
Experience amazing views from high over the valley! Photo: Mathijs van de Ven


Please note that this trip is open to NZAC Members and non-members but if the trip is oversubscribed then members will be given priority.

The Plan: Multi-pitch rock climbing trip to Sebastopol Bluffs, a collection of major crags just up the road from the Club's Unwin Lodge in Mt Cook National Park. Staying at Unwin Lodge for 2 nights and exploring the range of top notch climbing in the area. Many great walls that cater to a range of ability levels including excellent sport and mixed multi-pitch climbing starting at Grade 14 and upwards with magnificent mountain views.

The aim is to meet at Unwin Lodge on Friday night (5th April). With a full day of climbing Saturday and a half day climbing on Sunday (7th April) before heading home around lunchtime.

The trip leader may decide to cancel or reschedule the trip at short notice depending on weather and conditions. The call will be made on the Wednesday or Thursday before and you will be contacted via TXT.

Getting There

We will try to arrange carpooling where possible to both share fuel costs and lessen the environmental impact of travel. Trip leader is travelling from Alexandra and there is also likely to be a car going from Dunedin. Please note clearly in the sign-up form if you are interested in leaving earlier or later on Friday and the destination you are travelling from.

Trip participants in each vehicle will share petrol costs for the travel to and from the destination. Based on a round trip of approx. 600km from Dunedin to Unwin and back at a rate of 40c per km shared between 4 - 5 people in a car expect to pay around $50 - 60 each for fuel but due to fluctuating fuel prices this could be more especially if we have less people in a car.

It is suggested that drivers fuel up with a full tank before leaving and then refuel once back in town to make it easy to calculate how much fuel has been used then split it between all members of the carpool group.

It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that fuel costs are recouped so talk to your passengers about how you'd like them to pay e.g. cash or bank transfer.

What to Expect

This crag has a range of walls with climbs for people of all abilities but as it is predominantly a multi-pitch climbing destination we are asking that all trip participants will have previous basic multi-pitch climbing experience including the ability and knowledge to abseil/rappel safely on their own as most of the multi-pitch climbs require multiple long rappels to descend. If you do not have much personal multipitch experience but do have a climbing buddy who is experienced and is willing to mentor you then this will be considered on a case by case basis by the trip leader. Please get in touch to discuss with Eve if you wish to come but don't have a lot of experience.

You will likely need to be comfortable belaying a lead climber and climbing as a second on multi-pitches at minimum. A reasonable level of fitness is required particularly if you wish to do multi-pitch climbs which may involve being on the wall for 2 - 4 hours.  This is not a training course and is not a suitable trip for beginners. It is important that you are able to fully manage your own safety on this trip as the group tends to get quite spread out over the big walls.

You can also expect the weather to be a bit colder as we are in the mountains so make sure to bring lots of layer suitable for climbing as when you are up the wall for several hours the wind chill and exposure can take it's toll.

If you haven't climbed there before, you can find all the details at

Parents with young children are welcome to participate in this trip as the lodge is family friendly and there are options of activities around Mt. Cook that kids can do while parents take turns at climbing. However, if under 18s are to participate in climbing then parents must seek approval from the section first as per the section policy.

Possible Hazards

Standard rock climbing environmental hazards and associated risks exist such as trips/falls on approach routes due to loose/uneven/steep ground; rock fall; weather related conditions such as sunburn, heat exhaustion and hypothermia.
People are a major hazard including having 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.

Covid 19 as well as other cold/flu bugs are going around at moment so please stay home if you are unwell or have any symptoms. 

You will receive further information on guidelines for managing these hazards upon completion of trip sign up form.



We have a group booking at Unwin Lodge so please let us know which nights you plan to stay if you aren't going to be there for the whole weekend. Lodge fees:

  • Member $25/night
  • Non-members $50/night
  • Members’ children (5-17 yrs) – $15/night
  • Non-members’  children (5-17 yrs) $20/night
  • If you have a child under 5yrs you must book a room exclusively as below:
  •           4-bed family room  $100 members/$200 non-members   

The Lodge is well equipped with full kitchen (with crockery ect.), showers, toilets and bunkrooms so you only need to bring sleeping bag/bedding, pillow, towel, toiletries, food, outdoor clothing and climbing gear. 

However, they do ask that all rubbish, food scraps and recycling be taken out with groups due to the lack of consistent local collection services so we will need to plan for this as a group!!

Food: We plan to cook a shared meal on the Saturday nights, the trip leader will delegate items for you to contribute. Please indicate any food preferences or allergies on the sign-up form. Dinner on Friday night is up to you (either eat before you come or grab something on the way as we will arrive late at lodge). You are responsible for bring your own food for 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and snacks for 2 days. Be aware that there are not really any shops currently open at the Mt. Cook village so bring all the food you need for the weekend.


Climbing gear: 

You will need at minimum a helmet (required!), harness, climbing shoes and a belay device/personal safety system/prussiks for abseiling. An anchor system, quick draws and rope is also recommended if you plan to lead climb. Everyone is responsible for sourcing their own climbing gear but we will bring the club's ropes and a few anchor set-ups.  If you need to rent club climbing gear please contact Eve as soon as possible so that you can book what you require.   Otago has a limited range of rock climbing gear (harnesses, helmets, shoes) which is free for members to use or $5 per day for non-members.

Other gear: 

Trip leaders will bring a PLB & First Aid kit but please ensure you are personally well prepared for a full day in the outdoors including warm clothing and rain gear as it is a mountain type environment. As the group tends to spread out on the walls it is worth bringing a small climbing pack with portable FA kit, communication device, warm layers, rain jacket, water bottle and snacks with you as a pair while climbing for safety reasons should an emergency arise.


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.