Lake Dunstan Bluffs

(9 routes)

First developed by Russell Braddock, Mark Simmonds and others during the early 2000’s over a couple of weekends involving 7 or 8 people in total. Some unfinished projects remain and there is an old fixed rope or two that are now well worn by the Central Otago sun. These projects could do with being finished.
In 2021, Graham Smith provided the enthusiasm to rediscover the crag and repeat the routes along with the Cromwell crew, including the link up of two projects with Akira Umezawa.
The Cromwell crew met with Mark Simmonds at the Bannockburn Hotel and over beers more details came to light. Some of the details are still incomplete. In many cases routes have been allocated numbers for reference. FA’s have been mentioned where known. A topo covering the main area will be added soon. Some routes have now been given names but if you were a part of the original development feel free to make corrections.
Work has begun on developing the Think Big wall which already has an excellent, super steep crack that goes at about 25/26. This wall has the potential for a handful of harder sport routes about 30-35m in length.
Some routes have likely been repeated sporadically in the almost 20 years since the initial development. In places there are options for deep water soloing.

Walk time: 

The easiest access for non motorised boats is via rapid number 2393 on the Cromwell Clyde Highway as per picture below. For motorboats the most reliable access point is probably the boat ramp at McNulty Inlet, Cromwell. The Butchers Drive boat ramp is no longer reliable due to build up of sediment.

Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
SW Shard Wall 17
2 pitches, 17,17. Generally good rock, watch the mantle shelf at the top of pitch 1. Second pitch might be worth a star. Possible left variant second pitch with 5 bolts marked in yellow to left of line.
Mark Simmonds and Anna Gillooly early 2000s
TW Troglodyte Wall 16
10bolts wire representing trad
4 short pitches, crux 16. Well bolted and some trad placements. Awesome rock and exposed situations directly above the lake. Green line indicates the first (trad) pitch is out of view in topo. There is also a variant option to link pitches 2 and 3 as indicated by lone bolt to the left of the line.
Russell Braddock early 2000s
1 Overhanging Crack 26
wire representing trad 2
Overhanging crack, 25/26(?), trad, DBA. Super sustained and steep, crux at the top protected by a #1. Good rock quality. The first route to be developed on the Think Big Wall. Steve Fortune has added an extension - open project.
Mark Morrison early 2000s
2 Big Corner 19,21
6bolts wire representing trad
An obvious line
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad

Trad to halfway then 5 bolts up to right hand trending roof and DBA


This route joins route 3 - up steady from anchor passing 1 bolt to DBA, 4m. A contender for the worlds shortest pitch.

Mark Simmonds et al. early 2000s.
3 Fancy Feet 17,18,21 41m
7bolts wire representing trad 3
Pitch 1 is a nice crack on gear. It would be a two star route if the upper pitches weren't a little odd, although the climbing is a good test of your footwork. Worth doing.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad

Follow the obvious crack on the slab between two bushes then straight up to the anchor. It gets steeper as you climb and there's couple of nice hand jams near the top.


Traverse left, climb up near the main corner and then back right. Delicate moves with demanding footwork. Cam placements can help to make seconding more pleasant.


Small roof to the final anchor. Well protected. You can traverse right from bolt to avoid bulge, about 18. It is also possible to link pitches 2 and 3.

Russell Braddock early 2000s
4 Slab and Double Overlap 19 25m
5bolts wire representing trad
Affectionately known as the ducks arse or the Parsons nose. Start from the start of route 3 (Fancy Feet) wandering diagonally to the right then up using sparse trad placements on easy ground until you reach a bolt under the first overhang (account for rope drag here). Follow the break right and pull onto the brown slab (the Parsons nose). Continue up and over the next overlap passing another 3 bolts to the double anchor on the left. It is possible to start below the roof on a single bolt with a chain hanger and then up the incipient crack that will need cleaning.
5 Fixed Rope 17,22
6bolts 2
It is possible to traverse in from the bolts of route number 6 as Akira and Graham did in 2021. The direct start off the water is still there to be done.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad

Trad and 1 bolt, exposed traverse links projects 6 and 5.
Akira Umezawa and Graham Smith 2021


Sport, can use a nut to protect final move. Developer unknown but was started in early 2000’s

6 Unfinished Project
3 bolts and 2 x anchors at the same elevation but one was used as access for development. Mark Simmonds early 2000s
7 Mostly Trad Pitch 17
Mostly trad first pitch, 17. Exploratory pitches above. Details not confirmed. Possibly Russell Braddock early 2000s