Castle Rock has nice long bolted climbing on beautifully solid rock, but before hurling yourself into this take more care than I would – serious trouble here is easy to come by. The first time I climbed at Castle Rock my climbing partner and I behaved like complete cowboys, excitedly rapping off any bolts we saw at the tops of the cliffs. That was one of the many top anchors to non-existent climbs at Castle Rock that we rapped down. We also rapped down a traversing line, the top pitch of an unfinished 5-pitch climb, and couldn't pull the ropes down... oops... blah, blah, blah.... my point being... it was fun... just be prepared for something different from anywhere else in the North Island. A big hug and rainbow coloured flowers to all the developers of Castle Rock – it's a steep walk to take a drill, etc – you're awesome!
New developers please use only stainless steel hardware for new routes. Please try to hide your bolts and consider where your route starts and tops out. Climbers have already added significantly to the erosion at the tops. It's also good practice to keep low profile.
To date all the routes except 1 are bolted, and you will need about 15 quick draws minimum to attempt most routes. It is strongly advised that you take two 60 metre ropes, these are big cliffs and a lot of the abseil are over 50m. Don’t forget to tie knots in the ends of your ropes, and extend your runners..
The 309 Road (yes, 309 is the name of the road) is about 3km south of Coromandel Township. Drive north from Thames for about an hour and turn right at the 309 Road and the sign to the Waiau Waterworks, (3km before Coromandel). When you see the Waiau Waterworks, take the next left on CASTLE ROCK ROAD. Drive 3km or so up the Castle Rock forestry road to the top. Just after the road curls off to the right, you can park on the right side of the road. You'll be able to see the rock from here The walking track is a little overgrown at the start. Go into the bush, at the big corner, and take the little track going straight up to the summit – not the long overgrown road curling off to the right. Go up the walking track in the native bush. At the top of the saddle there's a fork in the track. Kookmeyer and Budda Wall is on the left outcrop, the Quiet Earth Wall and the main lookout is to the right. The lookout on the right buttress also gives you a great view of the Budda Wall.
Attribution: www.freeclimb.co.nz. Hosted by Cliff Ellery, Written by Rachael Mayne.
NOTES: The next climbs are all just under 30 meters, so bring the right rope/s! If it has been raining in the last 3 days some climbs on this wall may still be dripping wet In Summer this wall is cool till about 12/1pm, Winter it's lovely after midday. These climbs can be climbed ground up, unlike many of the other routes at Castle Rock Routes Described from right to left as you walk down the hill.
Access: Heading up the main track 30m below the saddle is a cairn on the left. This marks the “climbers track” round the left of the pinnacles outcrop to the Kookmeyer valley. If you don’t get lost you should come out at the top of a step gully with the Kookmeyer wall on your right. The first climb you come to is an open project of unknown grade. Alternatively 2 raps will get you in from the top. To get to the top continue up the main track to the saddle. Take the left track round to the top of the Kookmeyer and Budda pinnacle. You can rap down “Wind/Left Dancer”, “Te Punga” or “Sleeping Boys”, they are all 2 raps to base even on twin 60m ropes!
On the same buttress as kookmeyer but facing north. About 10 meters up on the path at a little rocky step, look right and you'll see a rap station. This is the top of Ganesh. There's an extra bolt on the left bank to help give you strength to get to the rap station if you don't fancy leaning out. It's a 70 odd metre drop if you slip. All climbs have rap stations of 2 or more rings.
Access: To get to Kookmeyers take the main track to the summit, at the point the main track meets the saddle between the two rock outcrops. Take the left fork. Follow rough truck along ridge, as you approach the summit, the Budda Wall is on your right Kooymeyer is on the left and the Northern face is out front.
Access: Access to the Base From the car park stay on via right and stay on the old formed road (over-grown) down and to the east of castle rock. 500m on from a large slip look for a cairn and a rough but well marked climber’s track up the hill. This will get you to the left hand end of the Quiet Earth wall, Quiet Earth is 30m further right and ANZAC parade a further 40m up the hill. Access to the Top The track top of “Quiet Earth” wall is straight forward. To get to the top follow the public track to the look out. 5m from the top cut right and walk along the ridge. Drop down the first rock ridge/outcrop and climb over the second past an assortment of bolts. Just past this point tucked over the lip (and just out of sight) is the belay of ANZAC Parade. Abseils. You can rap down Anzac Parade in 3 raps. Alternatively locate the rap station 5m further along the ridge down a small gully. Extend the rope 5m to the edge then a 60m rap gets you to top of 2nd pitch of ANZAC another 60m will get you to the base. Quite Earth At the very end of the ridge is the belay of QE. From the belay lower off to the lip to a DB rap station. A 60m abseil gets you to the half height abseil station on a small busy ledge. (middle of pitch 3). From here a rope stretching 60m abseil gets you to the ground.
Attribution: Cliff Ellery - Freeclimb.co.nz