Alpine Climbing Course

    enquire now 10 Days From NZD $3,950 pp twinshare
    Small group
    Terms & Conditions apply


    • A 10 day fly in, fly out alpine based learning environment – high mountain hut based with the potential for planned bivouacs
    • Learn new mountain skills and brush up on techniques
    • Instructed by fully qualified NZMGA (NZ Mountain Guide Association) guides
    • Receive a detailed instruction manual
    • Join like minded companions and potentially find your next rope mate on tomorrows objectives


    Day 1 Meet at Wanaka office, to Fox Glacier
    Today we meet our guides and other group participants at the Wanaka office for a briefing. After everyone is introduced, your guide will outline the course syllabus and the actual venue the course will take place. Next, we get together to discuss and then organise our personal and group equipment (bring all your gear with you, including those items you are not sure whether to include or not).  Food is pre-sorted for the trip by the guides to save time. Basic rope skills and tying in are covered to ensure consistency and revision for those who already have rope skills. Trip planning is covered followed by rescue first aid and decision-making. Once all this is completed we pack up for the trip. We travel by road to Fox Glacier township, or Aspiring or Mt Cook, depending on where weather and conditions are best! (L, D)

    Day 2 Fox Glacier – mountaineering
    After an early breakfast, the group will fly to the remote Fox Glacier en-route taking in the awesome peaks of the region we will be soon scaling. An initial familiarisation talk to clarify nomenclature and identify the peaks will help you absorb this wonderful environment before moving into the more practical elements of the trip. We utilise the hut system in the region when they are not too full and we move our gear in before we sort ourselves to get out onto the snow. The group ropes up for crevasse travel training and we go for a walk on the glacier. Our other mountaineering gear is introduced as we go along with the rudimentary techniques needed for mountaineering – use of an ice axe, learning to crampon and to self-arrest. The first day out in the mountains is always exciting and eventually we will retire to the hut for a team cook-up and maybe a lesson on weather forecasting while watching the sunset. (B, L, D)

    Day 3 Fox Glacier area – mountaineering
    An early start sees the group roped up and away just on dawn towards a traverse of Grey Peak on the upper reaches of the Fox Glacier. It’s good to clear the lungs with a 2 hour climb up the slopes to Pioneer Pass. Here we actually have to place snow anchors and belay on snow or ice towards the summit. At the summit we rest with Aoraki/Mt Cook right there in front of us and we get to see right up into the upper Tasman Glacier! After a quick lunch it’s time to descend. We find some suitable seracs and experience ice climbing. It’s a chance to hang onto those tools and find the balance point on the crampons. Tired and elated we return to the hut for the night. (B, L, D)

    Day 4 Fox Glacier area – mountaineering
    An early start again, but this time up to Mt Von Bullow, a few kilometres from the hut. The glacier approach is done by headlamp until the dawn breaks just as we near Mt Von Bullow’s summit. We climb the final section with a belay and use of snow anchors to the summit. Then we move around on the Davis Snowfield to climb a snow ridge up to West Hoe, our second summit. A welcome cup-a-tea greets you at the hut after a challenging yet rewarding day out with time to dry out sweaty clothes and boots in the afternoon sun. (B, L, D)

    Day 5 Fox Glacier area – mountaineering
    Today a cooked breakfast is followed by a navigation lesson and numerous cups of tea and real coffee. Navigation is a crucial skill and can mean the difference between comfort and concern in the mountains. By knowing these skills one can actually avoid ever getting (completely) lost! A more involved weather lesson follows lunch, and an introductory avalanche awareness lecture then it’s time for a game of cards before dinner. (B, L, D)

    Day 6 Franz Josef area – mountaineering
    Today you will practice equalising anchors and discuss some crevasse rescue theory. Weather permitting an attempt on the Minarets, two 3000m peaks in the Franz Josef Glacier area, may be possible. This will require a bivvy at Graham Saddle, some five hours from our hut. Providing an opportunity for the course participants to consolidate the skills they have already acquired by planning and executing a trip under the watchful eyes of the guides. Food is packed, stoves and pots loaded in, and sleeping gear stowed in packs as well. With heavy packs we set off from the hut aiming for a late afternoon arrival at our bivvy site. (B, L, D)

    Day 7 Franz Josef area – mountaineering
    Today an early start (3.00am) is required to make the most of the calmer weather often available in the mornings. The summit should be reached by about 1pm before the group carefully makes its way back down to pick up the bivvy gear before descending back to Centennial hut for the night. (B, L, D)

    Day 8 Franz Josef area – mountaineering
    Just near the hut is a perfect crevasse to practice rescue skills. We each take turns to jump into the crevasse while our climbing partners hold our falls. They then carefully pull us up out of the crevasse then we swap around. All the time watched carefully by our guides for safety pointers. In the afternoon we return to our food supplies. (B, L, D)

    Day 9 Fox Glacier township
    Today we descend to Chancellor Hut on the Fox Glacier. There are several opportunities to utilise our navigation skills and it’s a good chance for the course members to work through this under the watchful eyes of the guide. Not too long after our arrival at Chancellor Hut, a helicopter will arrive (weather permitting) and we are soon on our way to Fox Glacier Township for showers, steak and perhaps a beer. (B, L, D)

    Day 10 Fox Glacier to Wanaka
    The group gets up early and drives back to Wanaka as everyone is keen to practice some rock climbing on the local crags around the Wanaka region. By mid-afternoon everyone is rather tired, it’s been an action packed 10 days so it’s back to the office to sort out the equipment and debrief the course, after which our trip will conclude. (B, L)


    • Guide Fees and hut fees
    • All meals and snack foods whilst on the trip
    • Group equipment such as ropes, tents and stoves
    • Ground transport ex Wanaka
    • Course manual (A Climber’s Guide to NZ Mountaineering Techniques, by Guy Cotter and Mark Sedon)
    • Department of Conservation fees
    • Helicopter or ski plane access and egress flights
    • NZMGA and / or IFMGA qualified mountain guide
    • Use of climbing gear including climbing harness with adjustable leg loops, carabiners, belay device/descender, prussics & slings, helmet, ice axe, ice hammer, crampons


    Images courtesy of WorldExpeditios