Sinbad Gully Wall

(7 routes)

The Sinbad Gully Wall is about 300 metres high, most of which is overhanging.

North East

Initial ascents of this wall were accessed via helicopter from Milford Sound.

Walk up Sinbad Gully: good DOC track on the left side of the river (3-4 hours).
Scramble up the slabs on the left side of the waterfalls until you reach a very steep, unclimbable section. Go left here into the bush below a big boulder block, and then climb straight up a steep spur through the bush until you get out of the forest. Always keep close to the right arête. From where you can already see Sinbad Wall traverse right just above a big scree field. Climb up and down a few times to avoid steep rocky bits on the traverse. Cross 3 rivers and find the bivvy block (helicopter landing place). All in all, app 9-10 h. (With LIGHT packs)

Hike out
Abseil down the canyon: 5-6 abseils on bolts; looking down the canyon always on the right side of the wall. Expect to get wet feet
Descend down the creek at the south facing wall of the Sinbad until you get into the canyon. Only after a bit of down scrambling, the first rappel is on the right side (always looking down) of the big rock at a big obvious drop.
Rappel down 35m to the right across a water stream that comes from above. Look 5m to your left along a small ledge for the next rappel
Abseil 55m into the next basin.
Scramble down on the left side of the canyon to the next drop. Cross the stream (to the right) and climb onto a bloc with a hidden bolt behind it.
Rappel 15m, traverse a few meter to next bolt and rappel again for 20m.
A little bit of downclimbing on a big block in the middle of the canyon and squeezing along the left hand side of the canyon gets you over the next big pool onto a few big boulders.
Climb about 15m on the right side along a slightly upwards tending step to a small ledge. About 10m above that is a bomber nut with a red sling and carabiner which we left behind. We downclimbed a crack feature from the small ledge and lowered off our backpacks. (probably there is a bolt somewhere as well, which we couldn’t find.)
Downclimb 2 boulderblocs. Cross the waterstream to the right side and traverse about 20m along a rail which opens into a ledge to the next bolt.
Rappel down over the waterfall to the next bloc in the next basin AND the basin below that. (don’t stop on the first level)
Climb out of the canyon on rails on the left side wall.
Walk down the scree to the head of the Sinbad Valley. Either maneuver through the waterfalls and slopes to get back to the big boulder (approach) or much faster but less obvious: Go 20m up back to the ridge into the steep forest spur. Traverse about 50m in and then head downwards. Eventually you get back on the track from the approach and back to the big boulder (Took us 10 mins with a bit of luck. Good luck ;) Allow 5 more hours from here (with heavy packs) back out valley on Doc track.

Bid’s Bungalow
Bid’s Bungalow is located high in the boulder field on the right-hand side of the upper cirque. It provides shelter in the upper valley for two.

Descent off the Wall
Do not underestimate the walk off the top of the cirque wall. From tussock slopes head east to the large lake, traversing round the southern end. Climb onto the slabs below Llawrenny’s High Peak, traversing to the ridge that drops into the Sinbad Gully cirque. Descend broken rock slabs into a steep gully on the northern side of the ridge until a level terrace is gained. Traverse round this to regain the ridge and descend 150m before dropping back into the cirque. Approximately four to five hours travel.

-44.643230000000, 167.803630000000
D40 980 053
CB08 879 435
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
1 Te Hamo 22,27,24,25,26,27,28,25,31,24,20 174m
23bolts wire representing trad 3
Named after the toki (adze) the Maori God Tu-te-raki-whanoa used when he hacked up the rock to create the towering cliffs of Milford Sound, this route gains the prominent right-leaning diagonal crack that slashes across the middle of Sinbad Wall, generally getting harder as it goes. Consider the grades provisional. A direct start or linking pitch 2 direct to pitch 5 would be worthwhile additions. Start at a right leading ramp, just left of the bright green splotch, clip a bolt, then start jamming and quest on upwards. The first two pitches were established some time ago by Derek Thatcher and friends, then Te Hamo heads rightwards. Every pitch at least two (2/3) star so whole route given 3 stars. Descent: this climb is continuously steep so tag a second rope from top of pitch 2 to the top of pitch 4. From the top of the route you can back clip pitches 7-5, then use the tag line to double rope rap to the top of pitch 2. A 55m rap from here will land you back on the ground.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad

22, 30m, Excellent jamming up this classic crack pitch. First equipped and climbed by Derek Thatcher & Mayan Smith-Gobat.


27, 25m, Traverse up and right into corner then span wide tricky moves past first bolt and face climb past two more bolts to belay ledge. First equipped and climbed by Derek Thatcher & Mayan Smith-Gobat.


24, 27m, Rising traverse. To ease descent, trail a tag line or second rope from here to the top of pitch four.


25, 27m, Follow bolts on thin flakes, pull through overlap and continue up widening crack to ledge.


26, 15m, Short, steep, fun!


27, 20m, Crank crux between bolts, then attack the crack.


28, 30m, Dynamic crux; sustained crack to finish

Sefton Priestley, Zachary Orme, Greg Jack; Feb 2018
2 Weather Spell 30 270m
2 1
9 Pitches, 270m, 30 (26 Variation), mixed bolts and trad, steep granite climbing along cracks, roofs, dihedrals, faces and arets. Bolted belays. – P1: 20m, 18/21, Trad – P2: 30m, 25, 1 Bolt – P3: 30m, 22, 4 bolts – P4: 40m, 21, 3 bolts – P5: 35m, 23/25 long reach, easier if you are tall!, 2 bolts – P6: 35m, 27, 6 bolts – P7: 15m, 24, 1 piton – P8: 25m, 30 or 26 variation, 7 or 9 bolts – P9: 20m, 25, 1 piton. Abseil down the route! Or Basejump!
Alex Schweikart, Chris Igel, Karl 'Merry' Schimanski, Claudia Kranabitter, March/April 2013
3 Shadowland 27
wire representing trad
1) 21, 25m. Climb the steep clean face behind a large block using the flake crack. Steep moves lead to a hand traverse right, then into a steep left-facing corner. 2) 20, 30m. A grassy groove on the right leads to a left-facing corner flake. Ascend this ‘til the flake leads you across to the obvious left-facing corner; this leads to a big ledge and belay. 3) 23, 20m. Climb the left-leaning crack/layback on fingerlocks and lay-aways using wires and CDs (friends to 2.5) and four bolts to a hanging belay. 4) 27-A2, 20m. The overhanging wall left of the belay leads to a left-leaning corner; mostly bolts with the odd wire and small cam. 5) A2, 15m. Climb the steep wall above the belay past four bolts ‘til easy climbing traverses left to a ledge with a single bolt belay; some wires and small CDs. 6) A1, 35m. The Thunder Bolt Crack. Move left and climb flakes and left-facing corner to a recessed groove. Exit the groove on the right and move up and right to a grassy ledge and belay; full rack of CDs to #4 and wires. 7) A1, 40m. Above the belay is a left-facing corner which steps dramatically towards a roof; take extra wires and CDs to #3. 8) A2+, 10m. A short pitch from the hanging belay, cranking through the roof and steeply up to a more comfortable hanging belay! 9) A3, 15m. The chimney above provides the steepest climbing while breaching the headwall: good to have big CDs and a complete rack. 10) A2, 40m. Stunning clean groove leads to more vertical climbing on Labyrinth-like buckets. Exit the groove then tend right and up, stepping round the arête to a belay ledge on the right; full rack required with CD’s to #4. 11) Unclimbed...possible grade 20. Either move back left and climb the grooved arête to the top or climb the ledge system above the belay, tending right ‘til a shallow corner takes you to easy ground.
Craig Jefferies, Paul Rogers, Jan 2003.
4 Drop Zone 24 A1 300m
See topo attached
4.5 Welcome to Sinbad (First 4-5 pitches of Drop Zone) 21 140m
A route to do if ya don't want to commit to more serious adventures. 5 awesome pitches of rock climbing. First four pitches are grade 21 and then a pitch of 24. See topo attached
5 Rainmaker 21,19,21,21,16,23,20,22,22,18,21,20 262m
20bolts wire representing trad
The easiest route on the wall, but still a big day out. Double ropes essential for good rope management and gear placements! The route traverses a bit, but if you’d prefer to haul your gear there is a small BD haul bag in the big barrel and some 6mm tag line. Take a puffer jacket each and expect to be in the shade by 2pm. Double up on small wires to #5 then single up to #9. Double up on cams up to #4. Feel free to use my cams if you want. The crux pitch at 23 takes a lot of gear and is 32m long. All of the other pitches are shorter apart from pitch 2 at 35m. At the belay of pitch 5 below crux pitch you can rap directly down the wall 50m. Kick off the wall to make sure you swing in to the next anchor. The next rap is about 45m and the last 30m. It’s possible to retreat from pitch 9 by placing bit of gear on the way down but it’s better to top out and walk off. If you retreat from the top of pitch 6 then all you need to do is place a sling in a good chock stone in the wide part of the rack to make the next belay. This wall is steeper and more serious than Uprising. I’ve extensively cleaned the nut and cam placements and place bolts on the two steep pitches 9 and 11. It’s worth climbing the first 3 or four pitches to get to know the place before gunning for the whole route as the days are shorter. Enjoy!
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad

Climb the bolted wall to a ramp then steeply up to belay.


Up the short grassy groove above the belay then follow a steep flake system right, clipping a bolt on Weather Spell, to reach a steep left facing corner. Climb this corner to the 60m ledge, then continue 5m past the Ring bolts to a slightly higher DBA.


Climb pillar then crux move off pinnacle past bolt near arete. Then up corner above to belay.


Spectacular corner and wall above to a belay on a water pocked sloping ledge.


Traverse right then up to belay below overhanging right facing corner.


Steep corner and widening crack. Burly. Cams to BD#4.


Move right, past vegetated corner to featured, exposed face. Up face then back left to step back into corner for the last move. If you place gear at base of the corner extend well on 120cm slings.


Easy right then up steep wall on good but small wires (crux). Consider belaying on ledge below crux (wires) if you want belayer nearer to the leader during the hard moves.


Steep crack left of hanging belay, then back right to 1st bolt. Negotiate the steep bulge on funky chicken heads and slopers, passing three bolts to belay. You may find it easier to head up past the 2nd bolt before going right to the 3rd. If you blow the onsight, perhaps brush off some moss while you recover :)


Crack and wall left then above and right of belay to arete. Up to belay. These are short pitches but keep them short.


Steep featured wall right past two bolts then up at the 3rd, then right to crack and belay.


A bit slopey to start, then up wall and arete past four bolts to great natural pro and the top. You might want a BD#4 cam to protect the last move.

Sinbad Wall Descent Route
Descent route from top of wall. See Attached


A video of the access, routesetting, and first ascent of Weather Spell has just been released:

We climbed the Llawrenny Peaks on New Year's day, walking in from Milford Sound via the access route described above. We found the route description to be inadequate, and were wondering, was this written by someone who actually walked it? Or maybe by someone who used it to walk out, but not in?
Here are a few comments:
- The track up the Sinbad is on the true right, not on the true left.
- The 'bush covered rib' requires some intense scrub bashing. If walking up valley, this route will take much of two days (not 8 hours!) because of the dense vegetation.
- 'It levels out to a terrace which can be followed south into the hanging valley' - no the terrace is not continuous. From where the spur levels out, it's a steep descent down a rocky gully to the terrace. We opted to abseil in the vegetation on the true right of the gully. On the way back, we scrambled up the gully, which is easy enough, but dangerous due to some very rotten rock.
Our times (carrying packs with camping and climbing gear): Sinbad River mouth to campsite at head of valley, 6hrs; valley head to basin below Sinbad Wall, 8hrs