The altitude of a mountain's summit is a somewhat arbitrary measure of the mountain's aesthetic or technical appeal. Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest point of NZ, and Mt Aspiring, the only 3000m peak outside of the Westland and Aoraki/Mount Cook National Parks, provide obvious attraction to mountaineers. Trips to NZ's 3000m peaks usually require four or more days to maximise the chance of success, and due to the remote nature of these higher peaks will require helicopter access.
There are also many NZ mountains that don't quite meet the 3000m mark, so consideration should also be given to our equally worthwhile walk in/out Four Day Climbing Expeditions.
If you are unsure which objective would be best for you or what time of year to plan, get in contact and we can suggest some options. It is possible to combine any of these summits with time spent on skill development, a warm-up peak or a combination of peaks on a longer trip. Check out our Private Guiding.book now Skills required
Kerry, Hong Kong, Private Instruction Course
New Zealand's 3000m peaks offer a variety of ascents based out of high alpine huts or camps. We usually meet at our office in Wanaka at 8:30am on the first day of the trip. Here you will meet your guide and do any last minute equipment and food organizing. Through our correspondence we will have a good idea of your objectives, and your guide will discuss with you the trip plan, along with weather and conditions.
Aspiring Guides' location in Wanaka is your secret weapon. We have easy access to our local Mt Aspiring National Park as well as both the Westland and Aoraki/Mt Cook National Parks. With a wide variety of venues to choose from we aim for an objective that will take advantage of where the weather and conditions are best.
Season: November-January, base: Pioneer Hut. Lendenfeld is a prominent peak on the Main Divide of the Southern Alps north of Mount Tasman. The climb starts from Pioneer Hut (2300m) on the Fox Glacier and ascends across the upper neve through an icefall to Marcel Col at 3000m. From here the route is moderate snow/ice climbing along the main divide to the summit. The vista towards east encompasses Aoraki/Mount Cook and down to the Grand Plateau. To the west, the expanse of the Fox Neve and down over rainforests to the west coast.
Season: November - January, base: Centennial Hut. The Minarets straddles the Main Divide of the Southern Alps overlooking the Franz Josef and Tasman glaciers. The climb starts from Centennial Hut and crosses the Franz Josef neve and up towards Graham Saddle, a popular crossing point to the eastern glaciers. Above the bergschrund, the route ascends sustained 40 degree snow slopes to the saddle between De La Beche and the twin summits of the Minarets.
Season: October - December, base Tasman Saddle Hut. Elie overlooks the expanse of the upper Tasman Glacier and is an excellent viewpoint of the remote peaks and valleys to the west and north.
Season: October - January, base Darwin/Bonney Campsite. Flying into Darwin Corner, a tent camp is set up at the confluence of the Darwin and Bonney glaciers. Away from the upper Tasman Hut, this provides a base to explore this lesser visited area of the National Park. The ascent of Mt Hamilton is a perfect first 3000m peak and provides amazing views of both the Tasman and Murchison glaciers.
Season: November - January, base: Pioneer Hut. Haidinger is a prominent peak on the Main Divide of the Southern Alps overlooking the Fox and Tasman glaciers. The climb is an excellent progression to more technical ascents. It has a short approach from Pioneer Hut (2300m) and ascends an elegant snow arete to gain the main divide. The crux is the last 100m of mixed terrain to the summit.
Season: November - January, Base: Plateau Hut. Dixon sits on the northern edge of the Grand Plateau, surrounded by the large and famous peaks of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman (plus at least 6 other 3000+ peaks) and is an excellent viewpoint up the Tasman glacier. The climb is accessed by a short approach from Plateau Hut (2100m) and involves steep snow gullies to access an exposed snow arete and the upper East Ridge. For more experienced climbers, the South Ridge (III 3) offers a more technical ascent and a satisfying traverse descending the normal route.
Season: November - March, Base: Camp. Sefton is most visible from Mount Cook Village but is most commonly climbed from the West Coast. A helicopter to a campsite near Welcome Pass provides access to the standard route of the West Ridge. The summit provides a rarely observed vantage point over the valleys and peaks of the Hooker, Tasman and Mueller glaciers.
Season: November - December, base Pioneer Hut. Mt Tasman, New Zealand's second highest peak, is also one of the longer and more technical climbs. It is a long outing from Pioneer Hut traversing up and over Lendenfeld Peak and some parties choose to bivi on Marcel Col.
Season September - November, base: Pioneer Hut. The Central Gully of Douglas Peaks is one of the most classic ice climbs of New Zealand providing 800m of sustained technical interest. It is a much aspired to route for those with previous experience ice climbing and other significant NZ ascents.
Season: December - February, base: Bonney Glacier Campsite. The magnificent rock pyramid of Malte Brun, the highest point of the Malte Brun range, is a classic New Zealand ascent. Flying into Darwin Corner, the Bonney glacier is ascended to a tent camp on the edge of the glacier to be in position for this long and sustained ascent on rock. The Bonney headwall is ascended to gain the West Ridge just before the photogenic exposed 'Cheval' and continued interest all the way to the summit.
The helicopter will deliver you close to the hut so there is no need to carry a heavy pack. Walking through deep snow requires strong thighs and good cardiovascular ability. The summit day usually lasts 8-10 hours, so endurance and the ability to keep going when you are tired will definitely be tested. Descending the track requires strong thighs. Be sure to get a few days walking down steep hills to get your legs in shape for going down as well as up!book now
Mount Lendenfeld is a typical four day ascent.
Lendenfeld is an excellent place to try out cramponing and using an ice axe for the first time, and this is a great place to learn about glacier travel. The glacier is easy angled and rises slowly until reaching 40-50 degrees towards the top. Ascents will require some front pointing on the final pitches. The guide will deal with placing protection as required.
Our offices are at 58 McDougall St, Wanaka, a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of town. Here's a google map of our office location.
Unless otherwise instructed, for summer trips your guide will meet you at 8.30am on the morning of day 1 of your trip. For winter trips we usually meet at 5:30pm the evening before the trip starts. We will confirm this meeting at the time of booking.
If you require pick up from your accommodation, please let us know.
At this meeting your clothing and equipment is checked and the final details of your trip are discussed. There will be time for last-minute purchases if required.
Aspiring Guides is based in the small & scenically beautiful town of Wanaka. Situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand, Wanaka is the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park - a World Heritage Area.
Wanaka is a 1-1.5 hour drive from Queenstown (which has an international airport for flights from Australia), 5 hours from Christchurch (with an international airport) and 3 hours from Dunedin. Wanaka has ample accommodation to suit all budget types and a wide range of outdoor sports stores necessary to equip you for a mountaineering, skiing or hiking trip with us.
We are located at 58 McDougall St, Wanaka, a short 10-15 minute walk from the centre of town.