Ohau Lodge is 30 minutes drive from Twizel, the climbing area is a further 10-15 minutes up the snow field access road. It is the very obvious large cliffy looking valley a few hundred metres back down the road from the snow field. There is space to park a few vehicles on the edge of the road at the valley entrance. 15-20 minutes casual walk following a cairned route gets you to a large dice shaped boulder.
This is a sub-alpine area. The land is administered by the Department of Conservation and is zoned recreational. The Department has given permission for the area to be developed for rock climbing, however the environmental impact is to be minimal. There are currently no toilets at the site.
The climbing area consists of a number of separate crags and short walls. In the winter the area is snow covered although climbing is still possible (some fun mixed routes exist). The rock is compact sandstone (highly oxidised greywacke) and generally very solid. The bulk of the cleaning required has been removal of loose blocks and rocks from ledges, cracks, and hollows. Due to winter freeze/thaw actions there is no guarantee that once cleaned routes are forever clean. The style of climbing should be approached as a blend of crag and alpine. Generally the routes put up are a mix of in situ and traditional. It is advisable to carry a good rack of cams (flexes are a must), and nuts including RPs. The vast majority of routes have chain anchors. Bolts are 10mm diameter stainless steel with hangers. Chain anchors are 12mm diameter galvanised linked with standard steel chain and shackles.
Climbs are described from left to right as you face the cliffs. All climbs at these cliffs are graded Technical.
It seems likely the first people to climb here were Russell Braddock and Guy Cotter in 1987. Russell recalls some semi-alpine adventure whilst taking time out from stacking stone on the new Ohau ski area cafe. There doesn’t appear to have been any further activity until 1996 when Dave Crow and Stu Pratt appeared on the scene.
You must stop at Lake Ohau Lodge and ask permission for access. A nominal $5 per vehicle road toll may be charged and further key security required. You are issued with a key to open the gate to the access road. Access is not always given, there may be occasions when the road is closed to the public. It is advisable to telephone in advance. Mike and Louise Neilson are the owner operators, they have been excellent hosts over the years, please respect this. Ph/fax (03) 4389 885.