Information By Tony Burnell/ Lindsay Main also Previously hosted on website by John Davis
Situation and Character
The crag overlooks Lake Forsyth and the township of Little River and is in a gloriously sunny location on the side of Te Oka about fifteen minutes from the road and about sixty minutes by car from Christchurch. The rock is obviously volcanic and, as one would expect, has the typical basalt pillar appearance. The rock can feel quite frictionless and, until the routes have had some traffic, there will be the odd loose, dirty hold. In truth, the main crag is steep and offers very little in the way of lower grade climbs, however on the plus side, all the routes are equipped with in situ gear and belays. If the gear isn't enough to tempt you, then the cafe at Little River should be. None of the routes are longer than 25 metres so a standard 50 metre rope is sufficient to lower off from the belays.
Aspect and Climate
Te Oka is not fast-drying and after prolonged rain the seepage takes a long while to disappear, but it has remained climbable for the most part during this exceptional winter. The crag is situated high on the hillside about 500 m above sea level; it is sheltered and has a westerly aspect. The sun finds the crag around lunch time and stays til it sets behind the Southern Alps.
Te Oka was overlooked during the development on the Banks Peninsula mistakenly in my opinion (but who asked) apart from a fleeting visit by Phil de Joux and Martin Clarke. Only Phil stayed long enough to record the first route there 'Dark Tower'. In 1997 Alan Monnox introduced Pat Deavoll and Tony Burnell to the crag. That was his first mistake, especially if he was harbouring any secret desire to put up some new routes. During June and July 1997 Pat and Tony set about the development and the cleaning up of the previously bolted but unclimbed projects. After several weeks work, their tally rose to ten routes on the main crag, three of which were Last Night of the Poms, Orbital Smash and Doing it by Degrees. Around the north side of the crag Alan added three traditional routes; hopefully they will have gone the way of all things back to nature.
Kinloch Farm is managed by Joe Power (021 276 1188) and Sarah (0212264121) has no objection to climbers, however visiting climbers should telephone the farm manager, Joe, the evening before the intended visit to ensure access is not a problem. The crag will be closed for lambing from late August to early October. Please respect these wishes and close all gates, light no fires, leave no litter - then we can all enjoy the climbing.
From Christchurch, follow the road to Akaroa till you get to Little River. Take the first right turn in Little River crossing the Okana River and bear right up the hill on the Kinloch Road. At the top of the hill rum right at the T junction on the shingle road, bear right at the next junction and park on the left opposite a sheep yard.
Go through the gate and across the sheep yard to a second gate that leads up the hill. From the second gate a vague 4WD track heads off to the right. Follow this track up the hill till it makes an obvious left turn towards the trig point on the summit of Te Oka. Leave the track at this point and carry on up the slope onto the left side of a rocky knoll. Continue down the ridge towards Lake Forsyth and work your way down between the small bluffs. If you get it right there are only two short awkward steps. You should be able to see a large tōtara tree - make for this. Once you arrive at the tree you are directly above the centre of the crag. Turn left when looking over the lake and follow the track along the top of the crag, descending to come back along to the crag. Route descriptions right to left.
|Grumble and Grunt||23||5|
|Doing it by Degrees||25||6|
|Last Night of the Poms||24||5|
|Little Big Top||23||8|