You have two main crag options for climbing in Golden Bay, with a few other off-track spots scattered around. However, between the bush clad limestone bluffs of Paynes Ford and the sunbaked Pohara Sea Cliffs you have over 300 climbs to keep you pumped for months on end. Route guides for the crags are available at the Hangdog office.
The high majority of the climbs are single pitch sport routes with fixed protection and lower offs. A rack of 10-15 quickdraws, some ‘biners, belay devices and the other basic necessities will generally see you right. Some routes can require some extra natural protection, and there is the occasional trad route, so if a small rack of trad gear might be handy for the more adventurous.
A standard 50m dynamic rope will get you up and down most of the climbs, with one or two at Paynes and a few more at the taller Sea Cliffs requiring a 60m rope. Nearly all of the climbs have lower off/ abseil anchors at the top, and while lowering is the easiest descent, abseiling is recommended to preserve the anchors, your rope and the rock.
If you’re worried about not having enough equipment, all of the basics (except ropes) are available for hire at Hangdog as well as plenty of helpful hints and tips.
Over 220 bolted routes spread over 20 or so individual walls, ranging from cruisy slab runs to gnarly roof grunts, from the cool bush covered short and sweets to wickedly exposed sustained epics.
A more recent development in the climbing world, the Sea Cliffs have had a production boom in the last decade, taking the climb numbers from around 20 to nearly a hundred.
There a few other less well known and less developed walls hidden around the area, and while they are most certainly worth checking out, they are a bit more off the beaten track and tougher to access.