Mount Somers is composed of extensive volcanic formations of Andersite, Pitchstone and Rhyolite. As a result its soils are less fertile than neighbouring Mount Peel or Mount Hutt and have a very different flora. The rugged northern and southern faces of Mount Somers mark major fault lines, exposing columns and cooling fractures.
From Woolshed Creek hut there are currently four crags that have been developed which are at various points off the track leading towards Pinnacles hut.
Access: From Mt Somers township take the Ashburton Gorge Road, turning right on to Jig Road to reach the Woolshed Creek carpark. It’s about 1.5 hours walk to Woolshed Creek Hut.
From Woolshed creek hut walk for approx 20-25 minutes up the track towards the saddle that leads to Pinnacles hut. About 50m past where the track goes infront of a large Pinnacle (Karearea crag) head right off the track for 200m towards a honeycombed wall. Routes described from left to right
From Woolshed creek hut head up and over the hill on the track towards Pinnacles hut. Where the track meets the stream at the bottom of the hill, cross the stream and head directly up the hill for 150m. Routes are described from right to left for the main wall and again for the wave of rock in front.
From Woolshed creek hut walk on the track towards the saddle which leads to Pinnacles hut for 20-25 minutes. The crag is located where the track passes next to a large Pinnacle with a overhang at the base. From the right hand side of the overhang there is a rough track/scramble along the base of the Pinnacle heading to the right. Climbs are described from right to left.
From Woolshed creek hut head to the water caves on the track towards Pinnacle hut. Take the track to the water caves and follow the painted red dots along the creek bed until you find a reasonable sized face to the left.
The closest wall to Woolshed Creek Hut on the true right of the river.
Access: From Woolshed Creek Hut, follow the 4WD track towards the river to the highest point. From there traverse left across the open slopes to the crag.
An amphitheatre formed around and beside a waterfall of what is locally known as Tri Falls Creek. Currently one known climb exists although there is potential for many more harder climbs up to 75m in length.
Access: From the Woolshed Creek Hut, follow the Mt Somers / Rhyolite Ridge Track South for approximately 20 minutes until it crosses what is locally known as Tri Falls Creek. From here follow a sign posted track upstream to a "waterfall" which drops in from one side of the amphitheatre. The top of the amphitheatre can be accessed by continuing on the Mt Somers / Rhyolite Ridge Track gaining ~100m in elevation before scrub bashing to Tri Falls Creek above the water fall.
Tumbling down the north side of Mt Somers are huge columns of rhyolite which form one of the best climbing areas in Canterbury. The routes are long and sustained outings up grooves and arêtes up to three pitches high. Over the past two years these, together with andesite pinnacles lower in the valley, have been developed mostly by a small group of Oamaru climbers. There are now over 60 routes, grades 9 to 25, with potential for many more.
Access: The track to Pinnacles Hut starts from the Sharplin Falls car park. Turn off the Geraldine to Darfield road 5km north of Mount Somers Village (10km south of the Mt Hutt Ski Field entrance) at the Stavely sign, and follow the road across the bridge and turn right to the Falls. The track climbs steeply for the first half an hour over Dukes Knob before dropping back down to the stream bed above the falls. Follow the stream for 40 minutes, then take the sidling path to Pinnacles Hut, about 2 hours or 3 for a slow party. Pinnacles Hut has 19 bunks but is often full over summer weekends and is popular with school parties. The climbs start 10 minutes above the hut. It’s 25 minutes to the Orange Wall.
Attribution: Murray Judge
East of Christian Principles Crag is another couple of crag that have recently had ascents done on them. Standing at Pinnacles Hut, the crag is the prominent pyramid shape crag to the left of C P Crag. Grid Ref 798 310 Methven Map
There is a few flat sleeping ledges, the “Babbling Brook Biv”
Look left to old rope and use it to navigate left under pyramid 798 310. Base of Crag.
There are also Routes on the right hand crag: Babbling Brook Right. The climbs require a reasonable selection of trad gear but also have bolts where the trad gear runs thin. Enjoy!
East of Christian Principles Crag are another couple of crags that have recently had ascents on them. Standing at Pinnacles Hut, the crag is the prominent pyramid-shaped crag to the left of C P Crag (Grid Ref 798 310 Methven Map). Most of the climbs have thin cracks, for gear and thin edges for your feet. The first known ascent was put up by Greg Jack & Jean Tomkins, which was named Lumberjack. Crax was assumed the first ascent of the crag but the second ascentionists found out they were not breaking new ground. Over a few visits, Kevin Barratt, Grant Piper, Dave Van der Krabben & Greg Low, added new climbs to the crag. Lindsay Main & Hugh Logan, carried on the fine tradition of bagging first ascents. Best link up; bottom pitch of Lumberjack/ Crax, and top pitch of Aftershox.
Access: Go to the point on the track where the Pinnacles Hut is first seen (grid ref 799 317). Climb on to the rocky knob uphill from the track. Drop off knob downhill across grass to upper LHSide where grass meets the scrub. Look for a Cairn and go through scrub (semi-cut track) to dry creek bed. Go between two big boulders and venture up LH creek bed (true right). To avoid the bluff/ waterfall leave the creek bed on the LH side once above traverse back right into the creek bed. When the creek goes left, go straight uphill onto terrace. Go right into next creek under small waterfall. There is a few flat sleeping ledges, the “Babbling Brook Biv.”
The prominent crag on the ridge above the East Pinnacle.
100 metres up the hill above Christian Principals Crag is a short crag with two prominent ribs in the middle.
On the ridge above the West Pinnacle (Left of the Far Side Crag).
Access: Goto the top of "The Far Side". Traverse Left
The walls that have the waterfall in the middle of them. The Far Side is to the Left of the waterfall and the Waterfall Wall is to the right of the waterfall.
Access: Go to the top of the "Orange Wall" walk left (east) across the top of the Orange, Fortress & Waterfall Wall to the top of the Far Side. It is also reasonably straight forward to access the base of the "Jolly Swagman" by scrambling down and left from the base of the orange wall below the fortress to the pool.
60-70m high coloumned wall between the waterfall and Orange wall.
Access: Goto base of Orange Wall, scamble leftwards to the base of The Fortress
That obvious classic looking thing on the right of the main cliffs
Access: Follow Track Past and uphill from Hut Pinnacle.
The Pinnacles behind the hut
Left pinnicale in the group of 3 Pinnicles As viewed from the Hut
Access: Through Creek uphill from hut. Walk across to West Pinnaclcle, along under base of pinnacles to East Pinnacle. 20 min from Hut.
The Central Pinnacle is the largest Pinnacle in the centre oof the group of 3 pinnacles. The West Pinnacle is just to the right hand pinnacle.
Access: Walk uphill through creek along to West Pinnacle Left along base of pinnacles to Central Pinnacle, aprrox 20min from Hut
The nearest pinnacle (slab of rock) behind the hut
Access: Walk uphill through creek, to nearest pinnacle. aproxx 10min from hut.
Castle Hill basin is one of the world's best bouldering areas.
Useful bouldering information, http://castlehillbasin.co.nz/taxonomy/term/4
Access: Safety notice for visitors to Flock Hill. http://castlehillbasin.co.nz/flockhillsafetynotice BEFORE VISITING FLOCK HILL THE DETAILS BELOW MUST BE READ AND AGREED TO. Welcome to Flock Hill Station. We are required to advise you of potential hazards and basic safety requirements on Flock Hill. As the person taking responsibility for the visit please ensure all members of your party have read or are aware of the contents of this notice. Flock Hill is a working high country station. As such there are many potential and real hazards including but not limited to;
Castle Hill is a spectacular limestone area adjacent to the Arthurs Pass Highway. There are hundreds if not thousands of boulder problems, and a smaller number of roped climbs at grades ranging from the mid teens through to 32. Most roped climbs are protected with 12mm coach bolts that do not take hangers, therefore you need to slip a wire over the head of the bolt and slide the nut tight up the wire. A few climbs require trad gear. Another very useful site for bouldering information is, http://castlehillbasin.co.nz/areas
Access: Castle Hill is approximately 100km from Christchurch, towards Arthurs Pass on state highway 73. The area is on the west side of the road. There are restrictions on where you can climb or boulder on the rocks at Castle Hill. they are posted on the noticeboard at the carpark. The main closure is the Dark Castle PLEASE RESPECT THIS CLOSURE!! the area has rare plants, and Maori rock drawings. Here are some exerts from DOC's website. Ngāi Tahu wish to encourage respect for their association with Kura Tawhiti. A rock-climbing code is in place, and rock climbers are asked to be aware that to Ngāi Tahu, climbing the outcrops denigrates their tapu status. Code of conduct for Kura Tawhiti Visitors here to enjoy this intriguing landscape are asked to help protect these values by following the code of conduct. •Please stay on the access track - the paddocks are private property •Please use the provided toilet facilities •Refrain from digging holes or disturbing the ground surface - wahi tapu (sacred places) are here •Avoid trampling on endangered plants - use open spaces between rock outcrops rather than the bases of rock faces •Respect fenced areas •Take all rubbish away with you •Please do not mark the surface of the rocks •Consider others in the area •Rock climbers please follow the climbing code of conduct.
The area of boulders south to the south of Woolly Valley. Useful bouldering information, http://castlehillbasin.co.nz/taxonomy/term/8
Access: Follow the main access track from the carpark, when you get closed to the big limestone boulders, look left. this area is Spittle Hill. The Cyclops Boulder (diamond shape boulder with the big pock in the centre), is a good place to orient yourself.
The area of boulders in the middle of Castle Hill, north of Woolly Valley and South of Rambandit Valley. It has the main concentration of climbing in it. Useful bouldering information, http://castlehillbasin.co.nz/taxonomy/term/7
The scarp crag above the lime quarrry
Access: The access is unknown, and may off limits. It is on Castle Hill Station. Sidle northwards aprrox 500m from the Dark Castle.
The area of boulders north and uphill from the main Castle Hill Boulders. The first four climbs described are on the on the east wall of the eastern (larger) gully, known as the Ace of Spades Wall. The last three climbs are found on a shark fin shaped boulder on the northern side of the hill facing Castle Hill Village. Useful bouldering information, http://castlehillbasin.co.nz/taxonomy/term/9
Access: There is a prominent boulder on top of the hill that is sacred to Maori. Please respect this landmark and DO NOT CLIMB ON IT!
The area of boulders to the north of Rambandit Valley. Recently the area has not been very popular due to being closed. The routes do not get much traffic and could be slightly greasy, and brushing is not encouraged. The best climbs to orient yourself on are Rambandit (Rb)
Access: The Dark Castle is CLOSED, mainly because it has been part of Castle Hill Station, and overlooks the house. Nothing has changed. Climbs on the West side of the Rambandit Valley are okay but all other areas of Dark Castle and the Lime Quarry scarp are currently still closed.
Rakaia Gorge has many options for the Boulderer. Now features Bolts and top rope anchors for dry tooling and sport climbing.
Access: Access via any Rakaia Gorge carpark.
Routes from left to right. This area changes a lot. Every flood. V0,V3,V2,V1,V1,V2,V3,V3,V2
Access: Via Rakaia Gorge
6 meter steep face. Left to right. V4,V2,V2
Access: Via blue bridge
Climb over the water
Access: Blue bridge