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A Whanganui classic, for sure. An easy moderate, just a bit of oldschool chimney and off-width climbing to test your mettle. Climbs up behind the prominent free-standing pillar on Whekenui wall. It’s normally done in three pitches, but that’s only because of rope drag.
The name comes from the pile of bones you find at the bottom of the chimney on the first pitch. There’s a skull staring straight at you as you get ready to climb a runout chimney. Comforting. The story told to me went something like this:
The land has been home to the Maori for centuries. Back in the day the more esteemed members of the tribe had their corpses thrown in chasms or off the cliff tops. When climbers started developing the area they came across a pile of bones and notified the Maori, who were not only aware of the corpses but knew based on where they were found who it likely was. The Maori asked that the bones were respectfully brought down to the base of the cliff so that the now Christian tribe could give them a proper burial. After the FA of Tibia Graeme brought down a corpse he found and notified the Maori. However, this particular corpse was from a leper that the tribe lowered off the upper cliff onto the pillar (the P3 belay) and tossed food from a distance while she died. The bones worse cursed according to the Maori and they wanted nothing to do with them, so Dingle put them in the bottom of the chimney. Please don’t touch the bones, in addition to being very disrespectful it would be a great way to get the place closed to climbers.
P1: This pitch is R/X, though it gets easier as you work your way up. Start on the right side of the pillar at an obvious belay, work up the face on pockets until you can squeeze in behind the pillar. Look left and wave to the human skull that is staring at you. Above the skull is a block that you can place a finger sized piece behind. This will be the only pro you place until you get to the top. Continue up the chimney going left (inside) of the huge chockstone 50 feet up or so. You’ll be moving back right on the upper half and this is the only “protection” you get until the top. Up at the top you’re able to get in a hand-sized piece or three before traversing left and up on top of the huge block. Belay from here with wires.
P2: A short nothing of a pitch that is only there to prevent terrible rope drag. From the belay continue right onto the exposed arête and up some easy blocks to another comfy belay ledge. A variety of sizes work here from wires to thin hands.
P3: Climb up the finger crack that all-to-quickly goes to offwidth. Some people stem across to the back wall, I found it easier to just climb OW. The crack widens far too quick to put in consecutive-sized gear, every other piece from thin hands to the biggest you got should work. There are bolts on the upper part of the pillar. There’s a rap station on the lower part, but it takes two ropes to get off. Alternately you can step across to the main wall and follow a well-worn path back down.
Climbs up behind the large pillar leaning up against the center of the wall. Starts on the right side of the pillar.
A small rack of big gear. Wires and small cams for the 1st and second belay, as large as you got for the third pitch.
BETA PHOTO: The last thing you want to see at the bottom of an...
BETA PHOTO: Start of pitch 1, into the run out chimney
Looking down into chimney that goes up through the...
At the end of pitch 1 you emerge back into the out...