Aspiring Guides: Watching sunset from the Brewster Glacier Hike hut

Mt Brewster

Climb Ascents
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from $2650NZ
4 days
Climb Rating

This is one of the best non-helicopter climbing options New Zealand has to offer.

Make no mistake - Mt Brewster is a major alpine summit and a feather in any climber’s cap.

Here's some more stunning photos from a Mt Brewster climb taken by Thierry Levenq.

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Day One

Fantail Falls

Meet at our Wanaka office to meet your guide and do a complete gear check. There will be time for getting last minute items if you have to. It is a 1.5 hour drive to Fantail Falls where the track starts - just over the Haast Pass on the main divide and deep in the West Coast forest.

Day Two

Aspiring Guides: terminal lakes on the Brewster Glacier Hike

An alpine start gets you out of bed and on the trail just at first light. The steep traverse to the Brewster Glacier takes about 2 hours before you get onto the glacier proper. The route will vary depending on the time of year. In general it is about a 12hr day return to the hut.

Day Three

Aspiring Guides: side view of the Brewster Glacier Hike Hut

Depending on your energy level after your ascent, we offer a number of different options. There's a 3-hour hike to the top of Mt Armstrong from the hut, or you could climb Mt Top Heavy (with great photo opportunities of Mt Brewster). Alternatively, explore the clear blue alpine lakes next to the Brewster Glacier, or just relax and enjoy the comfort of the Brewster Hut.

Day Four

Mt Brewster

Head back down to the valley floor through tussock fields into the beech forest and finally to the Haast River. Crossing back across the river is always interesting as you'll receive a few odd looks from tourists passing by the Fantail Falls. Home to Wanaka for a well earned bevvie or two.

Here at Aspiring Guides, we have a pretty amazing back yard. Our location offers access to some great peaks. Mount Brewster is a remote peak accessed from the Haast Pass. Driving up the pass means that the hiking approach is kept to a minimum.

The approach

A shallow river crossing is followed by a solid three-hour uphill push through a Beech forest track. Once you pass the tree line you are getting close. The new Brewster Hut is located on a beautiful tussock terrace with views toward the Makarora valley and the surrounding peaks of Armstrong and Brewster.

The climb

To get to Brewster Peak, the slopes of Armstrong are sidled on narrow rock benches that take you to the slopes of the Brewster Glacier. There is more than one way to climb Mt Brewster, depending on the mountain and conditions. On the South-West face (grade 2+) snow gullies are followed to the summit ridge. For the West Ridge route (grade 2) the glacier is traversed and then mixed travel along the ridge to the summit. The view looking along the spine of the divide towards Mt Cook is a rare outlook on the Southern Alps.

Physical Difficulty

The track rises steeply through the bush so be prepared for about 3 hours of steep trail before reaching the hut. The trail follows a sharp ridge with exciting exposure so being comfortable with big drops and good balance is needed. You need to be able to carry a 12 kg pack up a steep hill for at least an hour between stops to get to the hut. The summit day usually lasts 10-12 hours so endurance and the ability to keep going when you are tired will definitely be tested. Descending the track required 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!

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Technical Difficulty

Brewster 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. Early season ascents will require some front pointing on the final pitches. Later in the summer there is an exposed rock scramble along the summit skyline. No previous experience necessary but a head for heights is a must.

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Trip Date Available
Available anytime subject to guide availability


Client Ratio Price
1:1 NZ$4,950
1:2 NZ$2,650

What's included

  • meals and energy snacks
  • alpine hut / tent accommodation
  • national park, landing & guide fees
  • 15% goods and services tax.
  • technical equipment - see equipment section below for details
  • 1 day weather contingency

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

Equipment Detail

We include all technical climbing equipment, crampons, ice-axe, helmet, harness etc. You only need to provide your personal equipment like your boots and clothing, pack and sleeping bag. However many of these items are available for rent from us.

Equipment Detail
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