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Golden bay Climbs
A Rockclimbers Guide to Paynes Ford ,Pohara and other Golden Bay Climbs
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GOLDEN BAY CLIMBS
A Guide to Paynes Ford,Pohara and other Golden Bay crags
It wasn’t that long ago that Paynes Ford was a sleepy little scenic reserve, frequented
only by occasional picknickers and hippies.Things have changed. Like many other
crags in New Zealand, Paynes Ford has been well and truly discovered, testimonial to
the fact that it is now the subject of a dedicated guidebook. The crag offers steep, solid
limestone, and includes some of the hardest and gruntiest climbs in the country.
Middlemass and Watson are two of many who have come under the spell of the place.
Their introduction starts the casual style evident throughout: “For those of you who
haven’t been here before we had better warn you now that this is a very dangerous
place; a place where time stands still and hippies abound, nude swimming is still
accepted and people don’t take life to seriously.”
The compact 130-page guide features dozens of routes ranging from grade 10 to 30. It
offers succinct descriptions of each climb and clear diagrams showing route locations.
Introductory chapters give a history of the local crags, and profile some of the area’s
better-known proponents. There’s also advice on Golden Bay’s other outdoor
attractions: tramping, mountain biking, swimming and caving.
Punchy text, comprehensive information excellent photographs and plenty of humour.
-Shaun Barnett, New Zealand Wilderness October 2004
Review by Steve Hodges on 2 August 2004
Golden Bay Climbs
by Simon Middlemass and Mark Watson
Golden Bay is one of the best concentrations of single pitch sport climbing in NZ (there
are also a few natural routes). It is also an incredibly beautiful landscape with plenty of
other activities on offer, as this guide will tell you. It had been somewhere I had wanted
to go for a while, so the chance to go and review the guide seemed like a great plan.
This guide supersedes previous similar versions of the same name from the same
author. The difference with this new one being that it is much, much slicker than the
previous photocopied efforts. Not meaning to knock them, I’m sure they served their
purpose, but they weren’t modern guidebook material. This new version is.
It is easy to use with a similar format to the Rockfax guides, using a combination of
topos (digital photos and schematics) and short text descriptions of the routes. It also
includes its own brand of symbols to summarise the crag (afternoon sun, steep, family
friendly etc…) and a natural protection symbol for those routes that require it. The
access maps also do their job well, helping you to quickly and easily located walls
hidden by thick bush in no time at all. It’s also got plenty of really nice black and white
However, it’s not perfect. The topos and maps, whilst easy enough to follow, could
have been improved by using consistent numbering for the routes shown. On the same
page a topo might have a route as number 20 whilst the same route is labelled number
3 on the map. It would also have been nice to have route lengths on all the routes,
particularly some of the longer ones.
Like all climbing guides, it was outdated even as it went to print. However, update
pages can be downloaded from the following link, as and when they are produced: http:/
/www.geocities.com/~nzclimbing/guides/paynes.html. One new crag has already been
Overall the best climbing guide I have used in NZ. All we need to do now is get the
authors to cover the rest of this country with this style of guide.
Wild Magazine, Australia
Subtitled ‘ A climbing guide to Paynes Ford, Pohara and other Golden Bay crags’, this
is the first ‘proper’ guidebook to some of the best cragging in New Zealand’s South
Island. It has been worth the wait. A trickle of Australian climbers have already sampled
the delights of the region. Golden Bay Climbs is likely to convert the trickle to a flood.
It is an outstanding little book—one of the best-—replete with action photos (b&w;
some a trifle murky), photo diagrams, topos and maps. It demonstrates high standards
of production and aesthetics. More to the point it has soul You get a sense of what
makes the climbing in the region special, and of those characters who have contributed
to it. In short Golden Bay Climbs makes you want to go there. I can’t wait.
CB Wild Magazine Autumn 2004
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