The Southern Alps of NZ provide a wide array of objectives to hone your skills on. The course based out of Pioneer Hut on the Fox Glacier or Tasman Saddle Hut accessed from Mount Cook Village. If the weather prevents access to these venues for part of the trip, then alternative venues such as the Remarkables will be used.
Here are some photos from previous courses.book now Skills required
We meet at the Aspiring Guides office in Wanaka at 8:30am for introductions and course outline. Equipment is reviewed and allocated by your guide. The drive to our staging area at Fox Township takes 3.5 hours. It is a stunning drive up the west coast and a short flight into the Pioneer hut located at 2300m at the head of the Fox Glacier. Your guide will refresh you on your cramponing and self-arrest skills before moving on the more advanced topics.
This is a day to work on the basics and after finding nearby steep ice your guide will work on your ice axe placements and footwork. Balance and technique will be emphasized.
Conway peak is a great warm up to steep snow and ice. Leading your first pitches will be a buzz that you will never forget. Topping out will be a memory that will last forever. The steep hard snow with a couple ice pitches is perfect for learning.
Alack Attack on nearby Mt Allack is a great place to experience some mixed climbing. Three pitches on the glacier before the route enters mixed terrain this is a chance to practice your ice screw placements under the watchful eye of your guide.
Mt Haidinger is an ice climbing playground. A good introduction is climbing the South Arête before traversing the ridge and toping out with three pitches of steep hard ice. This route requires a good mix of mountaineering skills.
Every trip needs a rest day or two. If there are bad weather days your guide will give talks on topics such as avalanche awareness and New Zealand weather.
Same peak different route. The West Ridge on Mt Haidinger is an aesthetic corkscrew that rises directly out of the glacier. A beautiful climb with the sting in the tail.
It’s time to head out for a shower. The hike down the Fox Glacier is a pretty special one. Winding through the crevasses eventually takes you to Chancellor Hut perched high over the icefall. This is where the helicopter pick us up for the ride back to civilization and the drive back to Wanaka. We usually arrive back in Wanaka around 7 pm.
This mountaineering course is the real deal, big mountains and big glaciers make this area world-famous for it's challenging mountaineering. Wanaka is the ideal location for mountaineering training. Well-positioned close to the main divide, Wanaka has access to both the western glaciers of Westland National Park and the eastern Mount Cook National Park, and with Aspiring National Park on our doorstep we can run our courses where weather and conditions are optimal.
At the end of the course you will be a competent member of a mountaineering team, being able to contribute to decision making and attempt ascents of 3000m peaks via routes graded 2 to 3 (NZ grade) or undertake guided ascents of more technical objectives.
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. Our Lead 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 and 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.
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.