Climbing on the mount with conditions

Rock climbing can continue on Mauao under conditions. Photo: Shellie Evans

Climbers wishing to scale the bluffs on Mauao’s north western face have been set the challenge of organising themselves and communicating with the Maunga’s governing body - if they wish to continue rock climbing on Mauao.

The consensus decision from deliberations this week on the new management plan submissions re-opens Mauao to rock climbers, but they will have to talk safety with the joint body that leads the management of Mauao, Nga Poutiriao o Mauao.

The climbing issue produced 37 submissions protesting the draft plan’s decision to ban rock climbing because of sacred sites, safety, and the endangerment of a rare plant. Subsequent investigation left safety as the remaining issue.

Trustee Jack Thatcher says none of the four climbing groups making submissions spoke about centralising management among themselves. Assurances by the rock climbers that they did things properly to avoid accidents, is not a safety plan, says Jack.

“I asked the question of them with the website and them having put out all these climbs to rock climbers all round the world; who manages the people that come in from offshore to climb these sites? And they said they do so themselves.

“To me that’s indicative of no regulatory management or framework around the operational status of those climbers. Anyone can do it. So each group of those four might have high standards of safety, but they can’t guarantee that everybody who comes in will follow their principles.”

He wants to see more on how the climbing groups could work together to create a safer environment for everybody.

There are 19,000 people a month walking the Oruahine track which passes round the rocks and under the climbing routes - and only a handful of people are rock climbing.

“They couldn’t convince me they could keep everyone safe,” says Jack. “So from my perspective unless they come up with a plan and that shows that they are going to put a management plan in place that regulates the operational side of their sport on the maunga, I’m not going support them at all in being able to continue climbing.”

Jack was supported by trustee Kihi Ngatai, and discussion moved to how it would be achieved. Councillor Leanne Brown says it’s up to the clubs to decide how to do that, possibly with the BOP Sport Climbing Association as lead – with possible assistance from the NZ Alpine Club as a technically expert body that could assist in sound rock climbing guidelines.

Leanne also suggested warning signs about climbers above the track will be like warning signs on the road.

“You become responsible, you enter that track it should be self-responsibility,” says Leanne.

City council reserves and recreation planner Clare Abbiss says Nga Poutiriao o Mauao can also approve individual climbing routes among the 50 or so available, and rule out those that overhang the track.

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Posted on 20-07-2020 20:14 | By freykarts

Maybe it is time to try this

Agree Murray

Posted on 08-12-2017 08:31 | By Border Patrol

A "shoulder bump" by a jogger when you’ve been forced right to the edge of the Oruahine Track can be a very scary experience. In contrast, the rock climbers have never been a safety issue for me, however for some reason there does seem to be some sort of focus on their activities, perhaps someone is eyeing up the commercial potential and wants them gone? As a regular user of the tracks up and around the mount I’ve encountered all sorts of rude and potentially dangerous behaviour from other walkers/joggers, which just comes back to the basic courtesies not being observed.

Rocks in head Murray?

Posted on 07-12-2017 10:51 | By maildrop

So your argument is that any activity has risks so no need for regulation? If not to protect those that partake in the activity, but those who have nothing to do with it but may be hit on the head by a rock? Slightly different from a shoulder brush. Let’s hope you don’t get hit on the head, though I think it would bounce off no problem.

Warning Signs

Posted on 07-12-2017 09:05 | By HMG

I agree with the above comments 100%. So what’s next. An age barrier for being near the Mount, a medical certificate to say you are capable of walking or climbing the mount. More people drown than have ever received serious rock climbing injuries! Time that people took responsibility for their own lives and safety. Concentrate on something that is really important Mauao Governing Body and City Council.

Curious about rock climbing safety as a focus.

Posted on 06-12-2017 19:02 | By Murray.Guy

Weekly we have folk experiencing an injury or worse while sharing in the delights of Mauao (Mount Maunganui). Frequently we hear of or experience the shoulder or other from a passing jogger, close shave with a wheeled device .. whatever. we have folk jumping off the top with the associated risks to themselves and others below. All manner of risk is associated with getting out of bed. For rational reasons that don’t have any statistical / historic basis (unlike ALL the other activities) , there is this sudden paranoia with the rock climbers that most are not even aware of and none ever impacted by. Spare me, ’warning signs’, climbers may be above!

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