Fields of Green - Benjamin Rueck
I’d always heard the phrase, “When in doubt… run it out!” I’d like to change or modify that saying, “When in doubt… JUMP!”
Situated a few feet above my last bolt, I clung precariously to small and awkwardly situated holds. I was staring down almost two pitches of climbing. I wanted to lock up; but I knew that the chains were only a few feet away. The problem one may ask? There was a massive jump up and sideways to reach them. I am an incredibly jumpy climber. It really makes me a happy climber; and yet, I was a little scared of this jump. Sideways momentum always has an odd way of twisting or turning a climber in painful directions.
After depleting all my options and I committed to jumping. Feelings of adrenaline surged; I felt myself take flight. Soaring a few hundred feet above the forest floor of New Zealand’s coveted Darrens; I felt alive rocketing towards an unknown hold. In a blurred mixture of blue/grey Granite I gripped the stone in a wild contorted drive-by and constricted my core to control my feet. Moving in a crazy sideways motion I felt my grip begin to slip a little and watched as my fingers peeled off. I plummeted back to my last bolt. A little miffed I pulled myself back to the bolt and set up to try again. This time I was going to stay. Jumping I felt the final hold and latched on; and after gaining complete control I clipped the chains. It wasn’t a send, but it was a start. Unfortunately; I didn’t get to hop back on this project, I had to leave the next day and twilight was beginning to drop on us.
Sitting at the chains, I stared out across to the adjacent gorge and watched as water lazily fell from the massive walls to the forest floor below. I had only two days to make the most of this beautiful area and so far had visited two crags, Little Babylon and The Chasm. I was fortunate to have Mayan as a guide. She was giving me a tour of New Zealand’s climbing and it had been a long time since I had seen her so psyched. It all seemed new to her even though she had grown as a climber in the magic of New Zealand. There is always a different energy when someone is showing their home.
New Zealand is a beautiful country. It contains every type of environment from beaches to intimidating peaks. I was here for the climbing on the Southern Island; from bouldering on Castle Hill, to ropes in Wanaka, and the Darrens. Time was short; my visit to New Zealand was somewhat random, it was on the tail-end of a special mission to Australia; so this was bonus climbing!
I decided instead of throwing myself headlong into a project; I would just try to onsight as much as possible. I was wasted from the previous month in Australia, so a mellow enjoyable climbing trip was just what I needed.
Crag after crag; climb after climb. I was in heaven. Small technical faces, to overhung powerful routes were everywhere; a veritable playground.
Between crags I hunted hobbits as usual. It was a complicated exercise and those little devils are hard to spot in the fields… I came up short. But I did find one of these hiding in a boulder field. I think Eddie was the next best thing to catching a hobbit!
Even though my trip was short, I plan on going back to New Zealand and exploring the Darrens… because that is where the true adventure lies.