The Waitomo region is commonly recognised for its extensive caving and until now its rock
climbing potential was hardly pushed. Over the years, various individuals (usually from caving
backgrounds) have investigated the premise of Waitomo being a significant climbing area.
Probably the first efforts were made by Auckland quarry veteran, Robbie Mc’Birney. Three
routes went up, one at Te Anga on the way to the west coast,
Local adventurer and cave guide Paul Hunt made what could be considered as the most
significant effort in climbing at Waitomo. He put up the first routes on the Stubbs Wall in ‘97
with the help from fellow cave guide Angus Stubbs who lives quite literally, at the top of the
crag. Paul also put some effort into bolting top rope anchors on the large boulders opposite
the Glow worm Cave, as well as the first bolted route near the Mangawhitikau Gorge.
Years later Frog Pond became my crag of choice, courtesy of Angus and his larger than life
depictions of towering limestone bluffs. Nevertheless the potential was there, a beautifully
secluded yet accessible location, on good rock.
Horotea cliffs was rediscovered at a later date with failed attempts at climbing two unknown
bolted and particularly dirty routes. The crag potential here is enormous, although the
practicalities in its development will no doubt limit progress. The varying quality of rock is up
to 40m high with hours of surface brushing required to expose a climbable surface.
Two days hard graft has seen a two pitch line go up on the main wall next to the unknown
A climber with enthusiasm and time on their hands could expose hundreds of high quality
sport routes here of all grades, from beginner to possible international renown.