OverviewAlso known as The Needle, Te Rua Manga is one of the many peaks on the island of Rarotonga in the South Pacific Ocean. While there are higher peaks on the island, this is the most recognizable because of its summit spire and one of the most popular due to its easy accessibility from the Cross Island Track. Traveling off trail is practically impossible unless you are equipped with a machete and a big sense of adventure.
One of the interesting things is that the summit is a near vertical cylinder of rock that is roughly 65-85m high. The trail ends at the base of the spire and things immediately get spicy for anyone brave enough to attempt climbing the top. When I visited there was some chains and old ropes which can get you within 10' of the true summit while attaining the top should require rock shoes and a rope for most people. There is little opportunity for protection but some kind of improvised lasso might do the trick.
The first section wraps around the base going around to the right. There is a chain and the stone has been chipped to create primitive steps along the ramp. This section is about 3rd class without relying on the chain. The ramp ends abruptly next to a short crack system which goes free at about 5.7 or 5.8. There are only a couple moves. There was a ratty fixed line in May 2012. Then a bushy ledge is encountered which cuts back left and up into a deep chimney. The chimney is an easy knees-back chimney and about 30-40 feet high. Atop the chimney the fixed lines ended and most climbers would be well satisfied. However there is still a summit boulder (V0).
Mosquitos and sun screen are absolutely necessary, but water can be accessed from the streams lower on the mountain. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE STREAMS FLOW DIRECTLY INTO THE WATER SOURCE FOR THE ISLAND - PLEASE TREAT THE WATER SOURCE WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY.
Getting ThereThe mountain can be accessed from either end of the Cross Island Track. The typical starting point is from Avarua, the major town on Rarotonga. Getting to the start of the track is fairly simple as there are tourist brochures, it is on most maps and even well-signed. Most locals can also point you in the right direction. But just in case, you can follow the road inland from behind the harbor, cross Ara Metua and follow the Avatiu stream. You will follow a paved road past a power station, the road ends at a village and a water intake.
The track hits the main road again on the other side of the island beside Papua Waterfall and some green orange orchards.
The trail is 1.5km (from Avarua side) or 1.7km (from Papua waterfall). Officially, 1 hour 20 minutes is budgeted to reach Te Rua Manga from either side. The trail is quite easy to follow but does get steeper as you approach the Needle.