Coalition Crag

(24 routes)

Picture this: a midwinter southerly lashes Dunedin. Sleet and wind-chill put the misery factor off the scale – why do we live here?

Jump in the car, 20 minutes later you’re at Doctors Point. The wind and the rising tide chase you through the Arches to a sheltered, warm wonderland. You strip to your T- shirt and shorts, don sunglasses, rack up and chalk up.

The high tide has filled the arches and the small coves, adding an aura of remoteness to the feeling of commitment you feel on the rock – length, continual technical interest, friable rock, tricky gear placements – the climbs demand total concentration and care, and reward you at the chains. Look down in your endorphic state at the turquoise waters lapping among the boulders at the base of the route. The sun sparkles of the water. Further out to sea you can see wind and shower whorls, but you are warmed and content. A small, perfectly formed point break is peeling off the Peninsula. Now you are reminded how good it can be to live here.

Climbing is an intensely personal and subjective pastime, and I don’t expect others to necessarily enjoy what I do, but this crag is producing climbs that give me a buzz, something that hasn’t happened locally since the Graeme
Love era of 15 years ago.
In the winter of 1998, Murray Judge’s presence in the area developing the Cutting Crag reawakened my long dormant interest in the Doctors Point seacliffs, and I rapped down from the railway line to have a look at the teetering cliffs between the arches and the Mapoutahi Peninsula. As crumbling rock and loose blocks were being cleared to unearth the first climb on the crag, the tawdry marriage of NZ First and National was simultaneously in the process of disintegration – the metaphor was inescapable. Intensive Care emerged from the rubble and opened my eyes to the middle grade adventure climbing possibilities here.

Altitude: 
0m
Type: 
Wall
Aspect: 
North
Walk time: 
15min
Access: 

Carry on through the Arches to Coalition Crag. The Poseidon slab is halfway between the Arches and the Mapoutahi Peninsula. You can also walk from the road end at Mapoutahi in 10-15 minutes. Either way, you might get wet at high tide

Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
Acceptance and Loss 16 ,17 ,17
0
23bolts 1
Up and right into a groove to a belay in the corner.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad
1160m7No
 

Up and right into a groove to a belay in the corner.

2170m9No
 

Move up above the belay to the bolt then swing out left across the hanging slab and up around the corner to a grassy ledge. Traverse left to a semi-hanging belay out on the point.

3170m7No
 

Great climbing up the exposed rib out right. Rappel from 3 to 2 then to the ground on a single 60m rope.

Chris Peckham and Steve Carr 2015
Rendition 18 20m
0
9bolts
Scramble up to the apex of the grassy knoll where Woof begins and then continue about 10 metres downwards to the left to the obvious V groove start. Up this onto the slab above, veering leftwards into a hanging corner and straight up to belay under a roof.
1 Woof ! 15 15m
0
4bolts
A dog of a climb; bound to be a fairly unpleasant experience if you choose this as your first Coalition Crag climb. From the ledge 2m L of the corner, climb past bolts to the anchor under the huge, ugly, roof.
Steve Carr, 1999 (Steve bolted it anyway - I’m not owning up to the first ascent).
2 Vapour Trail 16 18m
1.02
6bolts 1
The moves are not too bad, but the sharp, brittle rock takes some getting used to. Don’t be put off, it gets better than this. Climb L and up from under the Doldrums roof and follow the corner to the Woof! chain.
Steve Carr, 1999.
3 The Seventh Wave 19 25m
2.01
9bolts wire representing trad
The direct start through the roof (Steve Carr 1999) is grade 23; for a middle grade classic, start up Fade Away or Roaring Forties before traversing L above the roof into the small L facing corner just R of the LH arete. Directly up the groove and through an overlap to finish up the corner. You can take # 0.5 CD to help protect the easy traverse if you're paranoid, otherwise there are plenty of bolts.
Steve Carr, 1999.
4 (And Not to) Fade Away 21 24m
2.01
10bolts
Intricate, thought-provoking crux through a maze of Wanaka-style incuts. Crank diagonally R on suspect jugs under the roof to the corner, and pull L above the overhang. Wind your way up the wall with increasing trepidation.
Dave Brash, 1999.
5 Roaring Forties 20 25m
2.01
9bolts wire representing trad
Great climbing from the ground to the chain – one of the best climbs of its grade around. Ape up the blade onto the L trending ramp, then swing R on incuts into the groove below the roof. Layback and bridge steeply through the roof, but it’s not over yet – there’s a tricky slab up to the chain.
Steve Carr 99
6 Siren’s Song 21 35m
1.02
8bolts wire representing trad
Alluring climb on very good rock, once the unpleasant start has been dispensed with. Start up the wide, easy crack splitting the L side of the lower Poseidon slab (a couple of CD’S for this is all the natural pro you’ll need), then steeply L and up through the overhang to gain the small groove. Strange moves are interspersed with rest stances throughout. Step L before finishing as for Roaring Forties.
Steve Carr, 1999.
7 Poseidon Adventure 18 40m
3
11bolts wire representing trad
The best climb I’ve done in NZ’ – Roger from Sweden. Never too hard, seldom too easy, this classic simmers from start to finish – if you climb nothing else at Coalition Crag, climb this. A brittle start gives way to solid rock. Follow pocks to the overlap, then sensationally traverse L on the golden upper slab. Up the crack, then step R above the final overlap and up to the DBB under the roof and 2m L of the main corner. Take a few medium/large wires and CD’s to #2. An inferior variant start on shocking rock 2m L (7a) was bolted to provide an alternative when water seepage makes the normal start unclimbable.
Steve Carr, 1999.
8 Ulysses Unbound 19 40m
1.02
10bolts wire representing trad
Really good. At Poseidon Adventure’s 6th bolt, thin moves (crux) into the small hanging corner, and eventually into the main corner, which is not quite as easy as it looks. Rack as for Poseidon Adventure. The 6m variant (8a) linking this climb with the upper section of Poseidon Adventure is grade 19.
Dave Brash, 1999.
9 Trident 19 50m
0
12bolts wire representing trad
Really bad. Needs a good clean. From PA’s 5th bolt, medium CD’s protect the hand traverse in the tussock-choked break. Nightmarish climbing sees you at the DBB at the apex of the Keelhauled arete. A couple of interesting steep moves lie in wait on the short bolt-protected second pitch.
Murray Judge, 1999.
9a Keelhauled 22 35m
1.02
13bolts wire representing trad
Two equally hard sections – first, pumpy climbing through the intimidating roofs which loom over the lower PA start (take a CD for the break), then the awkward orange arete, leading to the Trident’s first DBB.
Steve Carr, 2000.
10 Head High Tackle 16 ,21 50m
1.02
14bolts wire representing trad
The slabby crux sequence at the start of the 2nd pitch and a good finale are unfortunately separated by choss. Still worth your while. Start at Family Fun and gingerly traverse L under Hartache Arete to DBB at the base of the hanging gully.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad
11625m14Yes
 

The slabby crux sequence at the start of the 2nd pitch and a good finale are unfortunately separated by choss. Still worth your while.
Start at Family Fun and gingerly traverse L under Hartache Arete to DBB at the base of the hanging gully.

22125mYes
 

Up and L out of the gully to the crux on good rock and up more easily before finishing on the orange striped headwall

Steve Carr, Andy Mcfarlane, 1999.
11 House of Pain 21 25m
0
15bolts wire representing trad
Could end in tears for visiting teams – this inferior variant to Headhigh Tackles 2nd pitch shares that climb’s crux before trending R and up to the R of gully to finish at the top of Hartache Arete.
Steve Carr, 1999.
12 Hartache Arete 16 ,19 20m
1.02
16bolts wire representing trad
Takes a cam between the first and second bolts. Anchor on left, after the traverse and before climbing onto the arête. More fun than a French eye gouging – quite good really. Just remember it’s a game of two halves – you’re looking good at half-time, but the denouenent is still to come. A generous Steve Carr cleaned and bolted it for Dave Brash
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad
1160m10Yes
 

Takes a cam between the first and second bolts. Anchor on left, after the traverse and before climbing onto the arête. More fun than a French eye gouging – quite good really. Just remember it’s a game of two halves – you’re looking good at half-time, but the denouenent is still to come. A generous Steve Carr cleaned and bolted it for Dave Brash

21920m6No
Dave Brash 1999
13 Family Fun 20 50m
1.02
5bolts wire representing trad
The best of the big corner odysseys? Climb the small rib past the bolt, then through the overlap past a 2nd bolt onto the slab. Up the steep groove (a second bolt was placed to protect this section after the first ascent), exiting L and up easily to the base of the prominent black and white streaked nose. Climb the V corner L of the nose, clip the final bolt on a bulge capping the corner, and climb up L a further 6m to DBB. You’ll need a big rack for this one.
Dave Brash, 1999.
14 Changing Corners 20 50m
1.02
16bolts wire representing trad
A worthy companion to Family Fun – great climbing in the main corner system makes the manky stuff before and after tolerable. If 16 bolts isn’t enough to entice you onto this pitch, nothing will (but don’t leave your rack behind). Start 6m R of Family Fun, tricky pull through the overlap onto the slab, head for the small V corner and move out L and into the main L facing corner. Good steep climbing before changing corners again. Rather than taking on the spooky overhangs capping the corner, step L to finish friably up the big nose.
Dave Brash, 1999.
15 Limpet 19 35m
0
10bolts wire representing trad
You’ll definitely be put off Coalition Crag if you do this one first, but I have to admit to a perverse liking for it. Start at the slab just R of the R facing corner, step over the corner at 8m and swing over the arete then up the steep crumbling wall trending L at each of the 2 bolts; finish up the cleft. Take a few large wires and CD’s to #2.
Murray Judge, 1998.
16 Intensive Care 13 ,19 45m
1.02
3bolts wire representing trad
The varied 2nd pitch of this somewhat retro adventure winds its way through some hostile terrain between two steep facing corners. The line is a drainage chute, and can take ages to dry out following wet weather. The well protected crack splits the black slab. Step R to DBB under the overhangs R of the facing corners above.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad
11316m3Yes
 

The varied 2nd pitch of this somewhat retro adventure winds its way through some hostile terrain between two steep facing corners. The line is a drainage chute, and can take ages to dry out following wet weather.
The well protected crack splits the black slab. Step R to DBB under the overhangs R of the facing corners above.

21929mYes
 

Move L then up the L facing corner (the R facing corner, 16a, is grade 20). Crank the steep corner past the bolt (#4 CD handy) to the arete, then an exposed step R past the 2nd bolt (this is a great move!) to finish up the crack. Good pro with a full rack of CD’s; hexes are good too.

Dave Brash, 1998.
17 Proctology 15 16m
0
4bolts wire representing trad
Not particularly appetising, but it is a change from grade 19. Short corner with an overlap leads to a crack which takes natural pro (wires and CD’s to #1.5) before moving L to the Intensive Care DBB.
Dave Brash, 1999.
18 Under the Knife 18 19m
0
5bolts wire representing trad
Sharp. Pull steeply through the sharp blocks to the slab above. You can link up with Intensive Care’s DBB if you wish to continue up that climb’s 2nd pitch – this variant is a bit more interesting than Intensive Care’s original 1st pitch.
Dave Brash, 1999
Navaho Know 17 15m
0
wire representing trad
As you walk along the railway track between the top-out of Intensive Care (marked by the large uprooted pine 8m below the track) and the Cutting Crag, look out for a single bolt and hanger. Rap 15 m off this and a small tree down to a DBB, to climb back out again on – Nasty, not cleaned.
Matt Squires, 1999.
The Underdog 19 45m
1.02
20bolts
Keep walking to the centre of Cutting Crag, and another rap to access the following climb, this time from the ringbolts in the obvious notch immediately opposite Babewatch – Outrageous! The star is for the atmosphere. Rap 45m to the grassy ramp, then climb back out on progressively steeper rock, following many bolts. A little natural gear (mid CD?) is optional near the start of the second pitch. An abseiler, lured by the shiny new ring bolts, fell and broke his back trying to negotiate the rubble between the starting ledge and the beach (his stranded partner was rescued by the Waitati Volunteer Fire Service engine ladder! It must have been low tide).
Murray Judge, 1999.
3a Compound Fracture 25 10m
1.02
6bolts
Veer left before the top corner of Seventh Wave climbing a steep wall and get established under the roof. Undercling leftwards past two bolts then straight up through a couple of niches to a chain on the lip of the big roof.
Steve Carr
UUID: 
a1da76ac-5b72-4c71-80b7-0712ac071907