Sitting in the center of this strip of climbable rock is a small town that goes by the name of Wharepapa (‘WH’ is pronounced as a soft f – Fah-rey papa) South. You won’t find a market, or cellphone reception, or even a gas station here, but you will find a climbing shop boasting the largest selection in the country. Bryce runs a café/climbing shop/ hostel; he has clean dorm/private rooms or camping, a huge kitchen, a bigger gear shop, a bouldering cave for the occasional wet day, and his wife cooks up a damn fine pie in the café. In full disclosure I have no financial attachment with Bryce’s business: I simply stayed at his place for a couple weeks and I climbed with the guy a few times. I absolutely loved it there. To be fair, there is another accommodation option just down the street at Castle Rock. A farmer thought he’d make a buck and start charging people to climb on the routes other people established. Now he’s built a hostel of sorts, complete with tennis courts, a shelf of advertisements for touristy things to do in New Zealand, and a ticket booth to allow you access to the worst climbing I did in the country. If that’s your thing have at it, just don’t ask him anything about the climbing, he has no clue.
Wharepapa puts you in the center of most the established areas in the region with two crags in walking distance, four or five more within a 10 minute drive, and literally thousands of established routes within an hours drive. The potential for route development here is absolutely astounding.
Please keep in mind that you’re in farm country, and you are climbing on private land, most of which are working farms. The farmers here have allowed total strangers to come onto their land to climb, asking nothing in return (with the exception of one farm whose name I won’t mention *cough* Castle Rock *cough*) except that you respect their land and obey a few simple rules. As a general rule when you’re on farmland:
• Leave all gates as you found them. Entry gates would almost always be closed but internal gates may be open or shut depending on where the herds are grazing.
• Leave the livestock alone and stay especially clear of steer (beef cattle). They’ll think you’re there to feed them and 100 cows can stir up quite a ruckus when they’re hungry.
• No dogs. Period.
• No camping. There is camping at the school next to Bryce’s café. Talk to Bryce for accommodation.
• You’re on farm soil, that dirt you just laid your rope in is largely composed of decaying fecal matter. Something to think about before putting that rope in your mouth to high-clip. Bring a tarp. Better yet, clip at your waist.
You can get up to date info and printable guides for the local areas at www.freeclimb.co.nz, or better yet just stop at Bryce’s Outdoor Center to get any beta you can imagine. His name appears on half the damn routes in every guidebook I’ve seen in the area. He’s a climber, first and foremost, and loves to talk climbing. He’ll give you good beta on just about anything.
From Hamilton head south on the 3 about 45 minutes to Te Awamutu. From Te Awamutu go east about 30 minutes.
94 Total Routes
['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',42],['1 Star',25],['Bomb',4]
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Latest Regional Forum Messages
BETA PHOTO: Bryce's cafe and climbing shop is indeed the cente...
|Comments on Wharepapa South
|By Jeff Dunbar|
From: Carrboro, NC
Dec 19, 2009
Bryce Martin - As a climber, he's a living legend. As a person, he's all that and more... and I concur his wife does make wonderful pies.
|By Aaron Hartig|
Oct 7, 2010
So I've been looking at info on Froggatt's Edge and wondering if you can camp near the crag. I know Bryce's hold some accommodations but what about popping a tent?
Feb 25, 2011
Literally, just around the corner from Byrce's, you will find camping at Wharepapa South School which is a hop, skip and a jump from Froggatt (less than five minutes if you drive)...
$4 / person / night secures you a grassy patch to pitch your tent, a sheltered cooking area with picnic tables, a flushing toilet, a cold shower and use of the school swimming pool if it is summer!
This can be paid for, either at the school office or at Byrce's when you purchase your morning coffee.... It's a neat little camping area predominately used by climbers....
Oct 17, 2013
What are the crowds like here?
|By Cameron Fraser|
Oct 20, 2013
No problems with crowds. There are about several thousand climbs in the North Island of NZ (more in the South) and not that many climbers