As a general rule: the more technically advanced/higher climb grade - the lower the guide-to-client ratio. All professional mountain guides contracted to Aspiring Guides are qualified professionals and operate under the terrain guidelines issued by the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association.
Our maximum group size for introductory mountaineering/ climbing courses is typically 1 guide with 4 clients. We write this as 1:4 guide ratio. Advanced courses run with 2 (1:2) or 3 (1:3) clients depending on the course & objectives. As a general rule: the more technically advanced/ higher climb grade - the lower the guide to client ratio. Private instruction is also available 1:1 or 1:2.
We can also offer instruction and mountaineering trips for larger groups but the maximum guide to client ratio stays the same - eg. 2 guides : 8 clients. If you have a larger private group, contact us for further details.
One thing we hear every trip is "the food was great! I never knew it was possible to eat so well on a climbing / skiing / trekking trip". We put a lot of work into supplying you with wholesome meals with a variety of healthy and tasty ingredients and snacks catering to common preferences.
Where possible, we provide fresh vegetables and real coffee. However, there will always be limitations when cooking in an alpine or wilderness environment. Meals like salads are limited or not possible to provide. Some trips/ courses are not recommended for people with very restrictive or complex dietary requirements. If you do have a restrictive eating regime we ask that you disclose this to us at the time of booking and we may ask you to provide us with an advance copy of what you would typically eat on a wilderness trip.
For highly specialised diets requiring special food purchases - we may ask that you attend our offices on the day before your trip is due to commence. If you are joining a scheduled group that doesn't have food requirements, we may ask you to shop & pay for some of your preferred dietary requirements. You will also be required to carry this food and your guide may ask you to assist in the preparation of any separate meals required for you individually.
Under 'equipment' on each individual trip web page, we provide detailed information about the equipment required for the trip. Typically this includes a checklist which you can use to "tick off" your gear, a document giving more detailed explanations as well as some of our best "guide tips" and a video to visually explain some of the terminology.
For our climbing and skiing trips, we have 3 categories of equipment:-
Compulsory items - this is equipment you must have with you. You can either purchase or hire depending on the item.
Trip Dependent - these are items that may be needed but will depend on the venue for the trip and prevailing conditions. Most times this cannot be decided ahead of time. Our best advice is that if you already own the items listed in the trip dependent section & you can fit in your pack then bring them along. Things like your own rock shoes and snow goggles are good things to bring - but disposable eating utensils can easily be obtained in Wanaka.
Optional - these are items which you can choose to bring or leave behind. But we think you should at least bring your camera!! Your trip will to some of the most breath-taking locations on the planet!!
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about the suitability of equipment to avoid purchasing or carrying unnecessary equipment.
This tends to be one of the major concerns of clients going on group trips. However, in our experience, it is very rarely a problem. Due to our small group size, we largely avoid compatibility issues.
However, almost all of the trips we offer are physically demanding. It is very important that you are realistic in the self-assessment of your skills and experience. If you are not familiar with the NZ mountain and wilderness environment it is hard for you to judge how you will go. However, our Chief Guide and all our guides are widely travelled and can give a good assessment before you join a trip whether your experience in other countries will work well for NZ conditions.
If you are joining a group, tolerance is an important personal quality. Tiredness from lack of fitness or sleeping in an unfamiliar environment can take its toll over a long trip. But it is important to remember that while you might be the fastest, you might be the weakest at tying into your harness, crossing a river or making turns in deep powder snow. Inevitably every person on a group trip will have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. An upbeat temperament & accepting attitude go a long way in the mountains.
If you are really concerned about your compatibility with others and you have not done many group trips then we are happy to offer private options on request.
New Zealand is famous for its changeable weather. The mountains here are characterised by long sunny fine periods mixed with sudden and sometimes heavy rain or snow. Our experienced guides are well equipped to provide the best possible trip and have many years experience in judging the conditions.
Travel in bad weather is an art in itself. By using Aspiring Guides you give yourself the best chance of success dealing with whatever the weather may throw at you. We also offer a bonus one day weather contingency on ascents and winter trips that require helicopter access. This means your trip could start a day late if you choose to use this option.
If the weather remains adverse and prevents the trip from operating as originally planned, you have the opportunity to carry out sub-alpine adventure and skill development activities. The Guide fee applies and any trip costs not utilised will be refunded.
It is important that you have read and understood our booking terms and conditions. Once a trip begins there are no refunds.
No. Most people use shuttle bus transport or a taxi service from Queenstown Airport to Wanaka. If you stay in accommodation in central Wanaka then you will not need to rent a car. Most cafes, restaurants and activities are within easy walking distance.
We offer a number of different options for you to make payment for your trip:-
Web-based Foreign Exchange Dealers
Bank Transfer - NZ Domestic & International
Credit Card - Visa, MasterCard only (3% fees apply)
See each individual trip descriptions for any trip or courses. All prices are in New Zealand Dollars and include the government 15% Goods & Services Tax (GST).
Here is a link to a currency converter to give you an estimate of the trip price in your own currency.
Generally, the price includes your qualified and friendly guide, all meals and snacks, park fees, hut fees, communications with Aspiring Guides Operations base and 15% Goods and Services Tax. Most technical equipment is included but transport costs like vehicle, jetboat, helicopter and/or air plane costs are not always included and vary with individual trips. See each individual trip description to see what is included or excluded from the price.