Place info

Mangaraho

(24 routes)

Introduction
This large volcanic plug has the oldest recorded climb in Northland. Try climbing Slab Route in mountaineering boots with an old rope and next to no pro — just as Peter Clement and George Carr did in 1962. A few climbs were put up in the 1960s and 1970s, usually following obvious cracks or ledges, but the area was virtually forgotten through the 1980s and into the 1990s.
Green Eggs and Ham, put up in 1993 by Paul Hersey and Hugh Nicholson was probably the first route for about 15 years, and generated a growing enthusiasm for what some consider is the best northern climbing area beyond the Mt Eden Quarry. During the mid 1990s interest in the area accelerated, with a mixture of new sport routes and multipitch classics. Of all the climbers who have spent time at Mangaraho, John Maine probably has the closest affinity. He treats it witha respect it deserves — and occasionally demands when you’re three pitches up and unsure which way to go!
Climbing notes
This is a big chunk of rock, and it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with a few landmarks that may help with route-finding before jumping onto the North Face.
Look for the obvious cave on the Cave Route at the right hand end of a large tree covered ledge halfway up the eastern end of the North Face. Confused?
When you spot the cave, a small grassy ledge immediately on its right is the belay point for the end of the second pitch of Green Eggs and Ham.
Further right and down is the large left-leaning crack of The Dihedral.
From the carpark you should also be able to see the freestanding altar-shaped boulder at the northern end of the face.
Route finding abilities are a definite advantage on the North Face, as there is not always a line of bolts to follow. In contrast, the Trinity Slabs area is generally straightforward and a useful introduction. The West Ridge is another popular warm-up route.
The plug is about 120m high, and the rock is generally sound. There are, however, a number of flaky patches, usually close to the ground. Some routes are bolted, but others require a full range of natural pro. There is a mixture of climbs; while some of the older routes are now overgrown andobsolete, others have stood the test of time to be viewed as classics. If tackling a long North Face route, be prepared to be on the climb for over three hours (the first ascent of Green Eggs and Ham took six hours). There is no water nearby, but camping is sometimes allowed by the local landowner. Ask at the house on the left as you turn onto the gravel road.
A final warning: Beware the Mangaraho Possum. On more than one occasion climbers have had to bail from prospective routes due to furry requests from manic marsupials.

  • 221m

    Altitude

Type: 
Crag
Altitude: 
221m

Introduction
This large volcanic plug has the oldest recorded climb in Northland. Try climbing Slab Route in mountaineering boots with an old rope and next to no pro — just as Peter Clement and George Carr did in 1962. A few climbs were put up in the 1960s and 1970s, usually following obvious cracks or ledges, but the area was virtually forgotten through the 1980s and into the 1990s.
Green Eggs and Ham, put up in 1993 by Paul Hersey and Hugh Nicholson was probably the first route for about 15 years, and generated a growing enthusiasm for what some consider is the best northern climbing area beyond the Mt Eden Quarry. During the mid 1990s interest in the area accelerated, with a mixture of new sport routes and multipitch classics. Of all the climbers who have spent time at Mangaraho, John Maine probably has the closest affinity. He treats it witha respect it deserves — and occasionally demands when you’re three pitches up and unsure which way to go!
Climbing notes
This is a big chunk of rock, and it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with a few landmarks that may help with route-finding before jumping onto the North Face.
Look for the obvious cave on the Cave Route at the right hand end of a large tree covered ledge halfway up the eastern end of the North Face. Confused?
When you spot the cave, a small grassy ledge immediately on its right is the belay point for the end of the second pitch of Green Eggs and Ham.
Further right and down is the large left-leaning crack of The Dihedral.
From the carpark you should also be able to see the freestanding altar-shaped boulder at the northern end of the face.
Route finding abilities are a definite advantage on the North Face, as there is not always a line of bolts to follow. In contrast, the Trinity Slabs area is generally straightforward and a useful introduction. The West Ridge is another popular warm-up route.
The plug is about 120m high, and the rock is generally sound. There are, however, a number of flaky patches, usually close to the ground. Some routes are bolted, but others require a full range of natural pro. There is a mixture of climbs; while some of the older routes are now overgrown andobsolete, others have stood the test of time to be viewed as classics. If tackling a long North Face route, be prepared to be on the climb for over three hours (the first ascent of Green Eggs and Ham took six hours). There is no water nearby, but camping is sometimes allowed by the local landowner. Ask at the house on the left as you turn onto the gravel road.
A final warning: Beware the Mangaraho Possum. On more than one occasion climbers have had to bail from prospective routes due to furry requests from manic marsupials.

Access: 

From Auckland take State Highway One north to Brynderwyn (about 110 km), then turn left on Provincial Highway 12 through Maungaturoto and Ruawai. From Ruawai stay on the road to Dargaville until Tokatoka crag can be seen on your right, directly behind the pub. To find Mangaraho carry on along the main road for another 5 km to the Mititai turn-off. Take this for 10 km up to the base of Mangaraho, turning off onto a gravel road when nearest the plug.
Alternately, from Whangarei drive to Dargaville, then turn left onto Provincial Highway 12 towards Maungaturoto. Follow this for 15 km to the Mititai turn-off.
Both Mangaraho and Tokatoka are large volcanic plugs, easily spotted from the main road. When reaching the Mangaraho carpark, the North Face is directly in front of you.

NZMS260: 
P08 986 751
Topo50: 
AY29 879 133
Reference Name Grade Quality Length Comments Actions
1
14 ,
0
60m
Natural gear required
 
  1. West Ridge 60m Head up the main ridge on easy ground and over a rock nose. Scramble up to the next buttress and belay. A suitable anchor can be difficult to arrange. From here there are four variations for the second pitch.
  2. For all these variations there are only natural pro placements, although an old peg may still exist on Flake Fake.
16
0
30m
Natural gear required
  Move to an obvious detached flake on the left of the buttress. Bridge up this, stepping onto the main face at the top. Follow a thin crack above, before making the crux move onto sloping ledges. Follow the line of least resistance over easy ground to the top.

Tony Bowden, Alex Parton, Dave Douglas,

15
0
35m
Natural gear required
  Step It 15 35m From the buttress traverse right for 7 m to an obvious crack which leads to a large sloping grassy ledge. Climb the crack by bridging, and step left onto the ledge. Follow the ledge till it peters out then make a wide step left to a protruding foothold and jug. Head up and slightly right to trig.

Peter Hansen, Leith Duncan, 1967

17
0
30m
Natural gear required
  Curly Top 17 30m Traverse as for Step It, but instead of climbing the crack, continue right across sloping slabs to a large earthy area. Climb the overhanging crack (originally aided) on the left and on to the top.

John Main, Stuart Edgecumbe, 1969

16
1.02
30m
Natural gear required
  Climb the buttress direct, just on its righthand side, till reaching the same ledge as for Step It. Good pro here. Finish as for Step It.

Peter Hansen, Leith Duncan, 1967

2
20
1.02
35m
Natural gear required
  The route starts below the West Ridge, and can be reached by abseiling off the obvious detached flake at the end of the first pitch of the West Ridge. Otherwise scramble up easy ground from the track. Look for a long clean right-leaning cornercrack which starts part way up the face: Find a belay stance some way below the crack. From the belay, scramble up towards a large ledge on the right, climb directly up the short wall to the start of the roof crack. Traverse right using jams and underclings to the lip. Crux is turning the lip and getting established in the corner. Follow the crack up and when it narrows move right to bridge up between two cracks (two pegs). Exit to the right of the block. Take cams 0–3, a couple of each size would be an advantage. Beware of rope drag, slings instead of quickdraws are a good idea.

Bryce Martin, Dave Garrity, 1994

3
12 , , , ,
0
115m
Natural gear required
1
 
  1. This was one of the first recorded climbs in Northland. Originally done in alpine boots and with none of the “trendy” pro used today, the route has become somewhat overgrown. Later attempts have struggled to find the original line; treat the description with circumspection. To find the start look for some vegetated guts down and left from Force 10. The slab is on the left of the guts and is marked by a quasi “Z” shaped crack. Either scramble up some easy ground on the right and traverse left across a tree filled gut to the start of the slab proper, or climb directly up a short steep section below the slab.
  2. Traverse the main slab up and left past an old bolt, heading for a large cave on the left.
  3. From the cave head up a sloping slab on the far left of the overhang to a chockstone filled crack. Climb the crack and find a belay.
  4. Traverse right to a slab then up to earthy ledges. Head right to a crack then up easily to summit overhangs.
  5. From the top of the crack move right to a large ledge and sloping slabs which lead to the summit.

Peter Clement, George Carr, 1962

15 ,18
0
40m
2X bolts
Natural gear required
 
  1. To reach the next route head left along the track past some steep faces (good boulder traverse) to a large left leaning dihedral. This is the Dihedral Wall, and is easy to spot from the carpark. Climb easily up to the base of a shallow groove a few feet left of the dihedral. Head up the groove past a fixed nut, traversing left at the top of a ledge to two bolts. A bit run out. From here there are two options for continuing. Pitch
  2. From the two bolts head right to the crack (look for an old wooden peg from the original attempt). Step right and follow a series of underclings (1½ cam) and scoops to a right tending ramp (bolt and 3 cam), then up to chain belay. The bolts were added by Guy White, Chris North and Emily Lane in 1996, thinking they were doing a new route.

John Maine, 1974 (pitch 1); Glenn Hawke, 1990 (pitch 2)

5
19
0
45m
Natural gear required
  Instead of belaying at the bolts at the end of the first pitch of The Dihedral, carry on straight up through some flakey ground (crux) to the crack (cams). Follow the crack left around a corner (cams) and up to a piton to belay. To descend, traverse left and down to a small tree and abseil off.

Richard Dale, Paul Hersey, 1995

4
18 ,20 ,22
1.02
90m
4X bolts
Natural gear required
 
  1. An enjoyable, airy climb, and the most direct line on the North Face. Climb the first two pitches of The Dihedral, avoiding the belay station at the end of the first pitch.
  2. Starts to the right of belay bolts. Climb the face direct past a bush (bolt). Move up to a ramp (friends) tending left to reach another bolt. Climb through bulges (cams and 3 bolts), then follow crack to reach chain belay next to small manuka bushes.
  3. Up a slab left of the belay, through a bulge (large cam and 10 hex), to an easy scramble rightish (bolt) before stepping onto ramp. More bolts protect the crux — an overhang surmounted by bridging, then through a grassy bit to belay on a large rock to left.

Chris North, Emily Lane, Guy White, 1996

6
15 ,18 ,18 ,20 ,17 ,14
1.02
109m
5X bolts
Natural gear required
 
  1. About 40m further left is a grassy bank. On the left is a slabby rock band, and this is the start. Climb the slab via small ledges and bridging near the top to a large grass covered bank and tree belay on left. Not much pro.
  2. A difficult to find and strenuous start on the face below an overhang till a jug can be reached. Climb up to overhang (cams), then traverse left on small holds till the roof can be turned via a jug and small ledge. Head right to grassy ledge and belay off small tree.
  3. Head up and right to large mantleshelf ledge (peg). Continue right and up over small sloping ledges (nuts and a bolt) till a tree covered bank is reached. At the next wall step left onto a shallow corner (bolt) and follow up and right to large flax and bolt belay. Can be climbed as two pitches to reduce rope drag.
  4. Climb straight up past two bolts then tend left to a bulge with a crack underneath. Step left past the hangered bolt and continue up, moving with difficulty past another bolt. Finish by jamming up a large crack to an airy bolt belay.
  5. Named “Numb Nutties Traverse”, head left (past a poor excuse for an expansion bolt from the first ascent) around awkward bulges till a belay stance can be reached.
  6. Climb up on easy sloping slabs and cracks to the summit. Although there are a number of bolts, a full rack of natural gear, especially cams, is necessary. Try and pick out the route from the carpark, as the line is not always obvious. Plenty of big wall atmosphere, especially on the higher pitches.

Paul Hersey, Hugh Nicholson, 1993

7
17 ,15
0
70m
Natural gear required
 
  1. Down at the track walk left for a few metres where easy rock can be scrambled up to reach the same grassy bank as for the end of the first pitch of Green Eggs and Ham. Look for a dirty vertical crack. This is the start. Climb the crack to the cave. The original ascent used aid, but the pitch has since been freed. Scramble up and left along the tree covered ledge past steep walls until a line of least resistance becomes apparent.
  2. Head up, right and up again through broken ground till the top is reached. Can be broken into two pitches to avoid rope drag. A pleasant enough climb, all on natural pro.

Peter Hanson, Leith Duncan

8
20
0
35m
Natural gear required
  From behind the boulder move up into a steep fingery layback to small ledge (2½ or 3 cam). Good pro (2 cam) on the left as you get out around the arete at two-thirds height and up to belay off trees. This route may extend and complete the 1972 attempt at the same site by Pete Jemmett and Robbie McBirney, labelled Hang It.

Simon and Wendy Courtois, 1994

9
16 ,17
1.02
55m
10X bolts
Natural gear required
 
  1. Looking up to the saddle this route follows a line of bolts tending right up the slabs. Follow the line of bolts heading right and up. About 10 bolts and chain belay. Rope drag gets awkward near top of pitch.
  2. Pitch 2 (17): From belay climb the crack on the right and follow the bolts above the chain belay. A nice varied route once past the flakey rock at the start.

John Smith, Dan Hawthorn, 1994

10
16
1.02
45m
10X bolts
  The line of bolts that go straight up to the saddle. Advisable to use double ropes or long slings to avoid rope drag. Crux is moving right near the top. Belay off iron spikes at saddle.

John Smith, Dan Hawthorn, Bruce Calvert,

11
22 A1
1.02
40m
5X bolts
Natural gear required
  Just left of Zorne’s Lemon, this route meanders somewhat, but double ropes will reduce rope drag. Two bolts and slabby moves lead to cam placements and a short, steep wall. Strong moves up then delicate traverse right past two bolts to a rest. Step up and left, find an undercling and clip the bolt under the overhang. The next move has yet to be freed but, using the bolt for aid, make a difficult reach to the horizontal crack. Traverse left on strenuous underclings to a bolt, breathe, then delicately up the corner to a small grassy ledge. Two more bolts and fine moves lead to top and chain/tree belay.

Paul Hersey, Richard Dale, 1994

12
18
0
20m
1X bolts
Natural gear required
  Down and 20 m left of Full Moon Fantasy is a prominent angled groove. Climb the groove and at the top move left into a shallow depression (crux). Climb the depression to a bulging wall, make a difficult move right around the arete and up to the second bulging wall. Climb the thin crack in the wall to finish at a bolt on Trinity Slabs. Not a lot of pro.

Tony Lilleby, Jim Sawers, 1973

13
16 ,16
0
50m
Natural gear required
 
  1. About 6 m left of Slipper is the lowest point of the slabs, near the track. From the lowest point follow a shallow groove to a small ledge. Continue up another groove to a peg and cam placement. Step down and left onto a flake and ascend the awkward bulge to a small grassy ledge. Run out up the corner crack above and traverse right to a bolt (replacing the original rusted peg). Move past the bolt onto short slabs, tending right past another bolt. At the base of a large slab with a left slanting crack, scramble left and up through the bush to belay at the start of the next headwall.
  2. Climb the steep wall via horizontal breaks (bolt) then follow easy sloping ground to large rock belay.

Cliff Smith, Bill Nagle, 1972 (most of first pitch) Paul Hersey, Simon Bruce, 1993 (extended 1st & 2nd Pitches)

17
0
20m
Natural gear required
  Carry on up the track, and at the top turn left to drop down to the top of the climbs on the East Ridge area. Turn right and up the ridge. Ungradeable (dependent on footwear) but a fun slab. Provides access to the top of the Trinity Slabs area. It sort of looks like a mummy from side on if you squint your eyes and imagine.
14
16
1.02
40m
3X bolts
Natural gear required
  To find the next se of routes, take the track that cuts round the bottom of the East Ridge area. Start at the lowest point on the right-hand side, climb the face and a couple of short awkward slabs. The top half has been retrobolted: follow the bolts left and up on nice slab moves. Chain belay.

Cliff Smith, Bill Nagle, 1972

15
22
0
25m
2X bolts
Natural gear required
  Climb the middle of the face up to and past the bolts to chain belay. Can avoid the crux by moving left for a few metres. Makes the grade 18.

John Smith, Bryce Martin, 1995

16
15
0
20m
Natural gear required
  Starts high up on the left-hand side of the face. Climb the buttress to tree filled ledges, then up the bulge (originally aided) and easier ground above.

Bill Nagle, Cliff Smith, 1972

18
13
0
80m
Natural gear required
  The next routes are found on the South Face: Sodom and Begorrah 13 80m Where the track passes some bushy slabs, climb behind the bush and up till an apparent line is reached. Climb the shallow groove to the right and follow a series of greasy slabs, grassy guts and ledges, taking the line of least resistance. The route can be greasy and wet. Not an obvious line.

John Maine, Pete Matthews, 1968

19
14
0
40m
Natural gear required
  A more obvious climb further along the track. Left of an overhang is a large angled cleft and slabs. Climb this, and scramble through scrub to the top.
Attribution: 
By Paul Hersey
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