Pakeho Crag re-opening project update

Since ACAT signed an MOU with the Pakeho landowners in January, Chris Hailey has been leading an epic community effort to get the crag ready for re-opening. 

The main job has been re-bolting the existing routes with glue-in 316-grade stainless steel eye-bolts, so we can assure the landowners that all climbs have been safety-checked and the hardware complies with the best-practice NZAC Bolting Philosophy and Standards. 

Climber in black shirt at the Pakeho crag.

Chris Hailey climbing at Pakeho crag. Photo: Justin Wimmer.

This has been a massive job across dozens of routes, requiring over 500 bolts and anchors, 60m of chain safety lines, and many tubes of glue, all at an expected cost of around $15,000. This is just for the existing routes – any new routes have been self-funded by the developers. 

ACAT has been working hard behind the scenes to find funding and hardware to keep Chris and the crew well-stocked! The re-bolting ethos has been to keep the routes true to their original nature with no ‘retro-bolting’. The plan is to install clippable anchors on the easier routes, in line with the original developers’ vision of a user-friendly crag suitable for beginner/intermediate climbers and instruction groups. These will be attached with a maillon for easy replacement if they wear out. The harder routes will be equipped with rap rings. 

An ‘on-the-ground’ update from Chris

Currently we are sitting on 90% completion of all original areas with just the Oyster block left to drill + glue and the Leaning Tower left to glue, having already been drilled by our team of experienced developers. We also have two new areas under construction and some exciting new lines to release when we have that final shipment of hardware installed. Our goal is to open everything together so we can orientate climbers with all the new information on open days, through signage, photos and videos. We will also be uploading all information to thecrag and ClimbNZ websites once we are ready to re-open, and doing away with the current guide book as it is going to be out of date.

As it stands, we are now on hold while waiting for the final hardware shipments. Something we thought might happen as we got to the latter stages of the bolting effort, as New Zealand is not a place that stockpiles enough gear to re-bolt an entire crag, so even with our efforts to order gear we have come up short for finishing 80+ anchor set ups. You will be happy to know we bought out all our suppliers of glue-in 316 bolts and even had to order more from overseas for the job to start and then keep moving. Installing the anchors are what is now holding us up, but they are already ordered and enroute from Europe and the United States so keep your hopes high, as soon as we have all of the hardware required to finish the job we will be back in there to wrap it up. 

Thanks to everyone for your patience while we get this crag back to its former glory and we can also tease new routes and new areas to climb at when we do re-open. I’d also like to say thanks to everyone who has helped me with drilling, cleaning and trackwork since we started, you guys have kept this job moving forward at such a rapid pace. 

More updates will be released when we have the gear in and more information on an opening date for the crag, so stay tuned for more info.

Regards, Chris

Thank you

Getting Pakeho re-opened is a community effort and we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has and continues to contribute. In particular: 

  • Chris Hailey, Myles Perry and all the other climbers who have collectively put more than 50 days of work into the crag!
  • The Tūpiki Trust, Kimi Worrell Fund, NZAC CNI Section, NZAC Bolting Funding, and ACAT, for funding the work. 
  • Aspiring Safety and Ramset Reid for providing some great discounts that have kept the cost of re-bolting as low as possible. 
  • The original developers for all their hard work establishing the crag, especially to Paul Hunt for passing on his vision and the crag ethos.  

Stay tuned for further updates

There are still some key pieces of work to complete before the crag can re-open, including installing the anchors as Chris discussed, installing signage and other infrastructure, and finalising a registration and donation system – so we can manage the crag on behalf of the landowners and meet the terms of the MOU, as per our previous update

We’re aiming to have everything done in time for a Springtime opening. Until then, the crag remains CLOSED. Thanks for your patience and watch this space for further updates.