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For sheer joy of damp, tussock-pulling athleticism, Mangatepopo rivals the Darrans and some parts of North Wales. But not all climbers are equal to the demands of such sporting rigours. More pragmatic visitors to these walls have steered clear of such routes, preserving both their mystique and the national park values. Yet there is much more to Mangatepopo. For a crag with a big-time atmosphere, Mangatepopo is surprisingly accessible, and there is solid rock with a pleasant, north facing aspect. Not all routes are psychologically demanding; there are many short, well-protected climbs that are ideal for learning to place natural protection. Developing the ability to find and place gear is essential before tackling the longer climbs, which include multipitch adventures through some spectacularly steep terrain. The crag’s long history means many styles of climbing are represented, including some aid routes and some bolted lines. Sport climbing, it should be said, has never really caught on here and is unlikely to. The summits of Tongariro and Ngauruhoe lie at the head of the valley, but most climbing is on Pukekaikiore on the valley’s south side. Pukekaikiore is thought to be one of the older vents of the Tongariro complex, and the lower cliffs bear the scars of the last ice age, when glaciers flowed down from Tongariro into the valley. If it is adventure you are after, there are plenty to be had. Perhaps Grant Davidson summed it up best in an early guide to the crag, when he wrote: ‘Take any description with a grain of salt, take a helmet and a good friend (perhaps not too good  –  epics sometimes involve yelling matches), watch out for loose rock and the weather, and good luck!’

30–45 min
POINT (175.607958 -39.144906)

The Mangatepopo valley is encircled by Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Pukekaikiore on the western side of Tongariro National Park. Access is by an unsealed road off SH47, which leads to a carpark under a small hill called Pukeonake.
A 4-hour parking restriction is in place at the Mangatepopo road end throughout the Great Walk season, from the beginning of Labour weekend until 30 April. Exemptions can be obtained by NZAC/FMC members: visit the Whakapapa Visitor Centre. Several local shuttle operators also provide transport.
During the Great Walk season attendants monitor the carpark, but be aware that outside this time the area can be prone to theft and vandalism.
From the carpark it is a 30 to 45 minute walk up the valley to the crags. The walls are described from left to right as you look upvalley.
Mangatepopo Hut, about 30 minutes walk from the car park, is ideally situated as a base from which to climb. During the Great Walk season, bookings are required to stay at or camp near the hut. Camping is prohibited within 500m of the track at all times.

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This place appears in
Tongariro guide (NZAC)