Little River Crag

(108 routes)

The crag is now open after being closed for five years.

Though described in Tim Wethey's Canterbury Rock as "unprepossessing", you may actually find the crag quite prepossessing.

There are some impressive routes over 30 metres high, including long jam cracks, steep bolted arĂȘtes, and routes where you have little idea what's ahead when you leave the ground.

The median grade is 19, and the harder routes tend to be cleaner and better. Extensive cleaning during the early 2010s has improved many of the routes that were formerly very dirty, but a five-year closure has enabled some routes to become dirty again.

The crag is essentially one long cliff line, but to make it easier to orient it has been divided into a serious of "walls", generally separated by more vegetated sections.

In a new innovation the NZAC has funded small aluminium signs to indicate some of the more significant routes, as an aid to orientation. Generally there is one route identified in this way on each wall. In addition a few routes are noted below as being relatively easy to identify.

From left:
Hubris; A brown corner system, with a roof to the right of the climb.
Hello Possums: Starts with the short jagged crack
Monarch: The prominent right-facing corner with a huge roof on the right.
The Ghost of Tom Joad: Look for the middle line of new bolts; undercut start.
Big Mama: The black streak to the right of the fence, with three bolts.
Featureless Fault: The brown streaked shallow corner, with the tower above; includes 2 bolts low down.

The cliff is very pleasant on a hot mid-summer nor-west day since it's shady and vegetated. In winter it tends to remain wet.

Another Lindsay Main find, with the first route on the cliff being Eclipse (16) in January 1975. In 1977 he climbed *Monarch (18) with Henry Mares, who put up The Pretender (17). A break-through was made in October 1979, with the ascent of *Brain Damage (20), after which John McCallum and Joe Arts started to take an interest, with many good routes developed in the 1980s and 90s. Later Alan Hill, Richard Kimberley, and Pete Gresham added a new crop of routes prior to the crag being closed for a decade in 2004.
After the crag reopened another major development phase started in 2013, with many routes added and older routes cleaned.

Climbing Notes
The rock is sometimes shattered, especially near the base of the cliff. Descents are by abseil, generally from double ring anchors, though there are some obscure routes that rely on a tree. Some abseils require two ropes.

South East
Walk time: 
20 mins

The crag is owned by a private conservation company, High Bare Peak Limited.

There are strict conditions for climbing at the crag.

  • Climbing is only on weekends and public holidays.
  • Native vegetation is totally protected.
  • Climbers must keep to the access tracks.
  • Climbers must register using the QR code at the access stile.
  • Parking is at the hotel.
  • New route development is totally prohibited.

The climbing area is 50km from Christchurch, on the Akaroa highway 1km short of Little River township, about 150 metres above the highway. Park in the hotel car park, and walk along the road above the ditch for about 70 metres to a stile. Sign in with the QR code, and follow the track marked with pink triangles angling up the hill. After a few switchbacks another stile takes you over the fence, and soon after the track ceases, though it is intended to continue it to the crag. The best route angles southward to avoid a steep area, and arrives at the crag at the bush edge where there is a recent slip.

The classic route Bisector (16) is a steep corner and crack immediately to the left. This is marked "B" on the topo.

-43.783020770000, 172.770046720000
N36 915138
BY24 815 522


Type Title Link to edit content
Wall FOMO Wall (15 routes)
Wall Akeake Wall (11 routes)
Wall Hubris Wall (7 routes)
Wall The Black Gully (5 routes)
Wall Possum Wall (8 routes)
Wall Monarch Wall (12 routes)
Wall Middle Wall (17 routes)
Wall Meanie Wall (12 routes)
Wall Plantation Wall (11 routes)
Wall Kawakawa Wall (10 routes)

This place appears in



grubbie's picture

The landowner has sighted climbers on the crag with out permission!! This act of trespassing is ruining everyone else's access privileges. If you would like to climb on private property, phone the landowner and, PLEASE POLITELY ASK FOR PERMISSION!!