Castle Hill and Arthur's Pass

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
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Trip End May 21, 2011


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, November 11, 2010

With a turn of the key, our trusty campervan led a queue of traffic towards our destination of Castle Hill. On the slopes of lush green hills lay hundreds of gritstone boulders that just begged to be climbed upon! At last was the opportunity to use my climbing shoes that I had lugged around for the last 3 months upon what must be one of the best boulder sites in the world. From a distance, Castle Hill looks like a giant's graveyard, full of smooth and perfectly upstanding stones, some of which are about 70 feet high. The day was perfect with clear blue skies, beaming sun and snow-capped mountains clearly visible in the distance. With no climbing guidebook, I randomly set upon routes that ranged from steep and long slabs, lacking in holds but compensating with superb grip, to smaller yet difficult climbs offering sparse and weathered pockets and welcoming cracks to grasp onto. Eleanor borrowed my shoes in order to climb some of boulders and I was so happy to see her smiling with joy and fear as she progressed upwards and tackled some of the climbing problems.

Despite having some issues descending, I really enjoyed the uninterrupted calmness of this climbing experience, especially due to the peacefulness of the weather and scenery and the fact that climbing is one sport where opportunists cannot charge you an entrance fee to play in nature’s giant playground.
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