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Adventure Tourism, Airport Wall Milford Sound. A New Route

Updated: Apr 11

Adventure Tourism 14 Pitches, 27 or possible around 22 C1 with a bit of pulling on bolts or gear.   

An exciting adventure across the upper Airport Wall

Full double rack of nuts and cams .3-3 single black totem (.2) and single #4, 14 quick draws lots of extendable quick draws are handy.

2 x 50m ropes or 2 x 60m

Route Beta

Start as per Dream Liner.  Walk to the far end of the bivy ledge where you will find a double bolt belay. 

Pitches 1 – 3 as Dream Liner can be done as 22 C1 pulling on the crux bolts ( pitch 1 of Dreamliner ) otherwise 27,22,24.  See the Dream Liner Topo for more details.

Pitch 1 27, Up slab past bolts to a short section of trad climbing. this takes you to the 3 bolt crux.

Pitch 2 22, step left and then head straight up past a Rata tree to a hand crack and a cruxy bulge.

Pitch 3 24, bolted slab.  Short and techy.

Pitch 4 24, Move left off the belay via 4 bolts then up and leftwards to join the big corner on trad 30m. 

Pitch 5 24, Funky stem box corner.  Go up the corner then leftwards traverse.  A few pumpy moves across a hand rail (not much feet) then drop down a meter or two and continue up and left to the belay passing 3 bolts. 30m. 

Pitch 6 24, 25m Full trad corner with lots of bridging and jamming ( a bit loose….. but a fun pitch).

Pitch 7 24, follow bolts up the bolted slab (staying left of the bolts )then steep and pumpy jamming passing two bolts and gear.  At the top of the crack as it thins step left to belay at a big stance in the central corner. (clip the first bolt on the direct line as a re direct for the second following the pitch)  At this point the route goes left. 

Con Air goes right from this belay (26)

Pitch 8 24, Down Climb. Traverse and down climb across the wall to a belay of two offset bolts ( on hangers) take a single set of cams to place between the bolts to help protect your second (if you plan to down lead) otherwise the more sensible option is to have the second top rope down the pitch.  The second climber climbs out to the second bolt which has a leaver biner on it.  Then is top roped down the pitch from here.

This pitch arrives after the crux of Mile High Club on pitch 17 ( 22 ) of Mile High Club. 

Pitch 9 15m, 18, Step four meters left and head up the thin finger crack ( top of pitch 17 Mile High Club , but you have avoided the 22 crux part of this pitch)

Pitches 10-14 as per the final pitches of Mile High Club.  Grades 25,18,20,23,26.  See the Mile High Club topo for more details. 

Pitch 10, 30m 25.  Go up past two bolts.  Small crimp rail with a big throw to quartz jug.  Be careful pulling on the quartz jug as its flexing and will maybe fall off if your rough with it! From the big holds head up via a run out section to a good #3 placement.  From here lead left to a bolt and down to the good ledge with a water bucket on it. 

Pitch 11, 18-20? 30m.  Step left around the arete from the belay and head up the wide flared cracks.  Save one of your #3 cams for the horizontal break near the top of the pitch.  The climbing is not to hard but a bit spicy. 

Pitch 12 20, Step right off the belay and head straight up for 2m then follow the first diagonal crack line leftwards.  There is no gear for the first few meters ( easy ) then move up and right into the second crack line and follow this diagonal ramp leftwards towards a small roof.  Step left again and across the easy face to a bolt.  A bit of scrapy climbing past some tree roots leads you up to the belay.  A long pitch extend you first bits of gear.

Pitch 13 23, Steep and pumpy trad climbing for almost 40m.  Place your gear well and long sling the initial placements to avoid rope drag.  At the belay ledge there are two belays.  One at the back of the ledge and one ( two rings of the rap line) more on the arete. 

Pitch 14 26, Head out and right across the face passing two bolts, continue 2 more meters to the right where you gain an easier crack system, crack climbing leads to a 3rd bolt up high and left which is hard to clip. From the bolt head right 3m then head up to the slap.  Don’t try and climb direct from the bolt to the anchor, its harder and has no protection.  The final anchor is just below the lip of the wall. 

To descend if you don’t make it to the mile high rap line.

Option 1

From the top of pitch 4 rap straight down to join the Dream Liner rap line. Approx 4 raps back down to the Dream Liner Bivy.

From the top of pitch 6 rap down via some traversing rappels ( you will need to back clip gear on the direct line to reach the belays.  This option requires you to make a sideways slabby traverse rap to reach the final two rappels of the Dream Liner Rap Line)

If you have stepped over the central chossy chimney I.e your on Mile High Club but not yet at the Mile High Club independent rappel line.  For Example from the top of pitchs 17,18,19 on Mile High club. Rap down to the top of pitch 16 (27) on Mile High Club.  From there rap straight down to the slab that sits above the Koru Club Cave.  There is a belay bolt ( single) here.  From this bolt traverse climbers left towards the Koru Club bivy.  You will find a further single bolt then head down 5m from there to a double bolt belay on the lip of the cave.  From this double bolt belay rap into the Koru Club.  It can help to place a #1 cam as you rap down at the top of the cave to keep you closer to the wall.  ( your second can remove the cam after )

If you reach the top of pitch 20 on the Mile High Club then you can take the straight down rap line which takes you directly into Koru Club.  From the top of the route to the Departure Lounge bivy it is approx. 2 hrs of abseiling. 

From the top of the wall it takes approx. two hours to descend back to the Departure Lounge bivy using the direct Mile High Club rap line.  Don’t be tempted to try and reverse the route.  A good strategy if your trying to go light and fast is to walk in two pairs of shoes.  Leave one pair at the Departure Lounge to pick up on your way down.  The other you can use to walk up to the Dream Liner bivy.  This way you won’t have to carry shoes when your climbing.

Water Drums

Departure Lounge bivy 100L approx

Business Premier Bivy ( base of Dream Liner) 70L approx.

At pitch 18 of Mile High Club (25) there is a water drum 20L on a small ledge.  This will allow you to start the big traverse without to much water and you can fill up for a drink when you get to that pitch. 

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