The General v5a3VI****

Highest drop 45m

Public access

8-16hrs (depending on how high you start)

One of the most committing, sustained and narrow canyons in NZ.  44 pitches, super solid dark schist, deep, narrow, sustained. Don’t forget the “Slot of Doom”, with a handline to access 3 pitches (one including a deviation) on a 45m drop. If it had jumps it might be a 5 star canyon…

2023 – February: Updated water level indicator images

These were taken at the reference point and at the road ford, by Oscar Burford in February 2023.

Having an image from the road gives you confidence that its worth hiking up the hour or so to the reference point to confirm the flows are reasonable.

These images all correspond to a normal low flow.


Read the account of the early exploration of The General at Canyon Magazine.

The video below starts at the ‘intermedio’ access and features the “Slot of Doom”

Images below by Dan Clearwater and Toine Houtenbos.

7 Trip reports Log your trip

  1. Oscar says:

    Another good trip down The General, Thanks to Patrick for placing some new tape, the path is now more direct and fairly easy to follow, this does mean the route on the canyon topo is no longer accurate, all anchors are still present, some webbing could do with replacing, a couple of required bolts still disfigured from rock fall, a few new bolts have been placed since earlier in the year. Attempted to enter at the Intermedio entry however we searched around at 900m but couldn’t find the entry bolts so used one of the trees which brought us to the top of the slot of doom, turns out the entry is more like 950m. The canyon was running high however all sections were manageable.

    • Date -15/04/2024
    • Water level -high
    • Anchor conditions -next group needs to do repair/replacement
    • Group size -3
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -1.5hrs / 3hrs / 45mins
  2. Canyon Cartel says:

    -> The General: 18 Dec 2023
    Checked the flow reference at the Y but hard to tell since it seems the rocks have moved. But water was flowing over the canyon left side of the rock. Reference photo below.
    Rappelled in at the Superiore entrance. Found bolts in good condition. Tightened a few loose hangers. The majority of the rapides are getting pretty rusted and need to be cut off with a grinder. If any one has funding for this, happy to go back with a group and help replace all the rapides with stainless.

    Re direct at the slot of doom was ripped out. Rappelling in the flow was fine for us. Pool at the bottom of first pitch in slot of doom was a bit of a swimmer. Deeper than I remember from 2020. Overall a great day, great flow and a great canyon.

    • Date -18 Dec 2023
    • Water level -normal
    • Anchor conditions -All in good condition
    • Group size -2
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -3HR/7HR/1HR
  3. Oscar says:

    Top to bottom descent of the General, one bolt was sheared in the upper section however the pool was deep enough to jump surely this makes it 5 stars Dan 😉 ), no major changes to last year, pools are definitely getting deeper. Some quick links and webbing could do with replacing, at least 5 quick links to replace the worst of it. The deviation bolt is still hanging out of the wall in the lower section.

    • Date -19/12/23
    • Water level -normal
    • Anchor conditions -next group needs to do repair/replacement
    • Group size -2
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -2.5hrs UP 5.5hrs DOWN 45mins OUT
  4. Erwan Coq says:

    Pepijn and I did the canyon last week, was really fun!

    Some Anchors have a little scratch of rocks hitting them, but they are still good
    Water flow was high, so we could not use the deviation on the slot of doom. Instead, we just abseil down and approached the second anchors from above.

    Upper section was oke but the real fun start around 1050 (Superiore entry)

    • Date -24-3-2023
    • Water level -high
    • Anchor conditions -All in good condition
    • Group size -2
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -3HR / 7 HR /45 mins
  5. Oscar says:

    Descended today, from Superiore, water level was moderate however all elements are simple to manage, from the end, we followed the river back, was easy walking

    • Date -26/2/23
    • Water level -normal
    • Anchor conditions -All in good condition
    • Group size -3
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -2.5hrs / 5hrs / 1hr
  6. Patrick says:

    Another great trip through the general. Nice warm day, quite pleasant, low flows. Went from the Superiore entry as usual.

    Only added 2 bolts because of damaged anchors, one was torn off, and another was hard to reach due to sunken floor, so it’s on the opposite side.

    Apart from that not many other changes from previous trips. Less log jams, it was quite clean throughout the canyon. It survived the 2020 flood pretty well. I assume we were the first group through in a few years.

    Well marked track going in now too 🙂

    13hrs car to car.

    • Date -15-1-23
    • Water level -lower than normal
    • Anchor conditions -we did some repairs
    • Group size -4
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -13hrs car to car, 3.5hr walk in, 1 hrs walk out.
  7. Patrick Timm says:

    Second trip to the General (23/2/19) and much has changed! A big flood has gone through and damaged many anchors. This is why anchor materials (drill and bolts) need to be carried (especially on these big canyons). Two months prior the canyon was in great shape and had survived years with no issues.

    From the Superiore entry, we found most anchors had been hit by rocks, some sheered off and others bent or partially ripped out, and many nuts had come loose.

    Due to time constraints was only able to do the worst of them, there are still a couple of drops to join together so stay on the rope and find the next anchor before last person raps! I wasn’t able to keep track of all the changes, I replaced R16, 17 and 26 and a few others (just can’t remember the rap numbers). I believe R17 may be the one in which my new anchor is up on the ledge and behind some rock to help protect it from a future flood. A bit hard to find sorry, its the only spot that looked like a new flood wouldn’t affect it.

    The canyon itself has changed with some anchors now even more exposed to new floods as the boulders and gravel filled up pools and increased the height of them.

    Its worth noting that there are still many anchors not optimal. Use your own judgement when committing to them!

    A important mention, and not related to the flood, is that the canyon is escapable from R25 in the slot of doom. The ledge you can escape from is just up from the R25 anchor and can then be traversed out on the TL into the bush. We know this to be 100% true as we have done a reccy mission and accidentally stumbled onto the ledge and had a peek into the canyon and stood above the R25 anchor, only 1 meter away!

    You can also skip the R24 anchor in low to moderate flows, with a short bit through the waterfall itself before you come out underneath it. I’ve been doing this on every trip so far.

    Still an amazing canyon, and one of NZ’s best! Starting superiore entry is the best in my opinion, the intermedio lands you in the narrow section and the group tends to get cold waiting for everybody to rap in, and you also miss some quality narrow canyon! The superiore entry is open and roomy but R10 narrows straight away and is an epic (and perfect) start to the canyon! Its worth that extra bit to get there. 3-3.5 hrs seems standard to the superiore entry.

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