NEW Trip – Kyrgyzstan & the Tian Shan MountainsJoin 19 August 2024 Departure

7 Days$2910USD

Traveller Rating


  • 7 days alpine climbing course
  • 6 nights mountain hut/camping
  • 6 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 6 Breakfasts
Intermediate Mountaineering Expedition
Technical Grading: Difficult

Trip highlights

  • A 7 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 IFMGA/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
  • Gain valuable experience through climbing a variety of alpine routes
  • An ideal introduction to the world of climbing snow and ice

Looking out from behind the impressive ice walls

Experience is imperative before tackling any major mountaineering ascent. This comprehensive climbing course has been designed specifically for fit and motivated people who want to learn modern-day alpine climbing techniques and improve their basic mountaineering knowledge. The seven day course focuses on advancing your technical skills and developing a climbing strategy pertinent to alpine style mountaineering. In the company of professional NZMGA/IFMGA mountain guides you will gain valuable experience through climbing a variety of alpine routes as well as develop skills in mountain navigation, weather training, glacier travel and crevasse rescue training. Upon the successful completion of this course you will have learnt safe climbing practices and be capable of utilising your skills to attempt ascents of many of the major peaks within New Zealand and beyond.

Trip Code: ACI

Today you'll meet your guide and other group participants at 8.30am in Aoraki Mount Cook Village for a briefing. After everyone is introduced, your guide will outline the course syllabus and confirm the actual venue where course will take place, which will depend on conditions. There will be time 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). Equipment pertinent to the course will be discussed and you can get all the advice you need concerning equipment from the guides. Anyone requiring rental equipment will be fitted at this time (but please advise in advance of your requirements to ensure you are catered to) and final purchases can be made. Food is pre-sorted for the trip by the guides to save time. It's very important to ration food effectively, too much and your packs become overly heavy, too little and you starve! Basic rope skills and tying in are covered to ensure consistency and revision for those who already have rope skills. This enables us to get right into it when we reach the mountains. Trip planning is covered followed by rescue first aid and decision-making. Once all this is completed we pack up for the trip. Excess items can be left at our office for storage. You will then take your helicopter or ski plane flight into the mountains, taking in the awesome peaks of the region you will be soon scaling. The fly in is generally planned for late morning, or early afternoon. After landing, it may be a short stroll across to your hut - or you may need to rope up for glacier travel and haul your gear and food for up to 30 minutes to the hut. Our guide will welcome you to your mountain home for the week and introduce you to "hut etiquette'. 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. *Please note you will need to arrive in Aoraki Mount Cook Village the day before the trip starts as day 1 will be an early start.

Meals:  L,D

Your course will be based from one of several mountain huts across Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The venue used for each course is selected by your guide, based on upcoming weather and general snow conditions. Some of the options include Barron saddle, Grand Plateau or Tasman saddle. The itinerary is flexible and strikes a balance between instruction and climbing, with building core competencies and skill development at the core. Once the key self arrest and crampon skills are instilled, the focus moves to climbing, rope and anchor skills, glacier travel and mountain weather, fostering the confidence to undertake climbing trips in glaciated alpine zones. Expect early mornings with 'alpine starts' if a longer ascent is planned for the day and to be active for at least 8-10 hours a day. There will be time in crevasses to practice rescue skills, where 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. There will be time spent ice climbing, with the chance to hang onto those tools and find the balance point on the crampons. 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. Weather lessons, avalanche awareness lectures, time to practice placing and equalising snow, ice and rock anchors and discussions on crevasse rescue theory is all included, with a balance between theory and practical skills. There will be opportunities for the course participants to consolidate the skills acquired under the watchful eyes of the guides. Mountain weather conditions will govern our activities for the day, with instruction closer to the hut in poor weather. A welcome cup-a-tea greets you at the hut after each challenging yet rewarding day out, expect to return to the hut tired and elated, then it's time for a game of cards before dinner. The time in the mountains provides the perfect introduction to the world of alpine climbing in glaciated terrain.

Meals:  B,L,D

There are opportunities to utilise our navigation skills and it's a good chance for the course members to practise these skills. Generally we will hike down the Tasman Glacier for about 8 km to be picked up by the aircraft from the White Ice area (weather permitting). You must always be prepared and fit enough to walk out if weather conditions will not allow for aircraft pick-up. Weather must also be suitable to allow safe travel on foot. Depending on the hut used, the walk may take anywhere from 4-9 hours. Depending on our return timing, there may be a chance to practice some rock climbing on the local crags. By mid-afternoon everyone is rather tired, it’s been an action packed 7 days so it’s back to the office to sort out the equipment and debrief the course, after which our trip will conclude at around 5pm.

Meals:  B,L


  • NZMGA and / or IFMGA qualified mountain guide
  • All meals and snack foods whilst on the trip
  • Mountain hut accommodation on a multishare basis or camping
  • helicopter or ski plane access and egress flights
  • Group equipment such as ropes, tents and stoves
  • Course manual
  • Department of Conservation fees
  • NZ Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Use of climbing gear including climbing harness with adjustable leg loops, carabiners, belay device/descender, prussics & slings, helmet, ice axe, ice hammer, crampons

  • Travel to/from Aoraki Mount Cook Village
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal mountaineering equipment not mentioned in inclusions (can be hired)
  • Any accommodation and meals not mentioned in the itinerary

About Your Leader

Professional and experienced mountain guides run the course. We have a commitment to ensure the highest standard of instruction and guiding practices and we only employ guides who share in our philosophy. Our guides will offer you the best possible learning experience, and a safe and enjoyable time. An open and helpful approach is encouraged within the group to help communicate and reinforce the learning process. Our guides are all NZMGA and /or IFMGA internationally qualified. They have been trained and assessed through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, and operate to the high standards and guidelines set out by the association.

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Priceper person from


Your trip price includes:

  • Internal flight valued at 900
Options & Supplements*
    *Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Alpine Climbing Course trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

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