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Heels 1969

Notes On A Shadowy Sport

Notes On A Shadowy Sport

Unbeknown to most of the plebeian assemblage of the tramping club, a secret society of illicit night climbers, (at last count three in number,) had their inaugural meet in the university grounds. Hunter building was the scene of their activities, in the courtyard between the men's grot and the admin. building. Climbs in this area range from moderately strenuous drain-pipe climbs, to delicate, airy traverses on 1" ledges.

At the present time, things are at a more or less exploratory stage. Unfortunately, at the inaugural meet of VUNK (Victoria University Night Climbers Club), explorations for a route onto the top of Hunter Building were cut short by the intervention of a little, foreign gentleman, with a black uniform and a large powerful torch; who inquired a trifle belligerently, whether the author made a habit of jumping on and damaging Rangiora saplings at 10.30 p.m.

The only other excursion so far, May 26, was a brief sojourn near the Lombard Street parking building, one week-night. Our original intention was to prusik up our rope with jumars, (mechanical prusiks;) but we encountered a grumpy looking attendant, which discouraged us. Next we moved up into a side alley, and noticed a convenient fire escape to hang our rope from. My companion moved delicately up a pipe onto the fire escape, when a small object came whistling down at us from the building next door - a bank no less. Some bloody Killjoy was watching all we were doing from a window high up and he must have thought we looked suspicious. Anyway, we went our way rather disgruntled.

Necessarily, though unfortunately, the activities of VUNK must be kept secret, at least until they are completed; but I am sure that there is vast scope for the aspiring night climber in Wellington.

Uppermost on the list are direct routes on the Cenotaph and the Carillion. Also, (a real plum), a girdle traverse of Parliament Buildings, not to mention the fearsome overhangs, mantleshelfs, etc. of Rankine-Brown, Easterfield and other university buildings.

page 33

"We were falling in love with our route: the smooth steepness west of the bump; the intricate corner at the top of the Lower Icefall; the complexity of the Upper Icefall, its blues and whites and long shapely lines; beyond, the broad recess of the shelf, under the red rocks of the summit ridges. Beautiful from far away, the mountain was beautiful also from here.

- Charles Evans "Kangchenjunga" 1956