CEO, IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide
Guy's whole life has been spent in the mountains - in New Zealand, the Himalayas and many other mountain ranges around the world. Born in southern New Zealand, he was introduced to the outdoors at an early age where a fascination for the mountains was fostered. He feels these days spent as a young explorer were a solid foundation for his future climbing career.
His passion for the mountains eventually saw him focus on a career as a mountain guide where his skills earned him a position working alongside fellow Kiwis Rob Hall and Gary Ball when they established their Everest guiding company, Adventure Consultants, in 1992. Guy excelled as a high altitude guide and, along with Rob and Gary, led the team to the summit that year on the first commercially guided expedition on Everest.
After Rob Hall was lost in the tragic events on Everest in 1996, Guy took over Adventure Consultants becoming Director and CEO, and has grown the company in to what it is today. For more on the history of Adventure Consultants, click here.
In addition to guiding, Guy's skills are in demand as a high altitude cameraman, running film projects in the Southern Alps (or on the Seven Summits), training corporate groups and meanwhile ensuring the list of exciting destinations for Adventure Consultants' clients is always growing!
For Guy, the pleasure of operating an adventure business lies not in the financial rewards but rather in helping clients achieve their dreams.
- Climbed 7 x 8,000m peaks; Everest (1992, 1997, 2006, 2007, 2018), Cho Oyu (1997), Gasherbrum 2 (1997), Makalu (2001), Manaslu (2012), Lhotse (2013, 2018), Dhaulagiri (2017)
- Completed the Seven Summits including Carstensz & Kosciuszko - 2005
- First ascent of a new route on the Balfour Face of Mt Tasman - 2003
- First ascent, Mt Slaughter, Antarctica 3600m - 1998 (pictured)
- First Westerner to guide and climb three 8000m peaks in one year - 1997
- Awarded CMC/Macpac New Zealand Mountaineer of the Year - 1997
- Summitted Everest, guiding for Adventure Consultants alongside Rob Hall and Gary Ball for their first commercially guided expedition of Everest - 1992
- Third ascent of Uli Biaho Spire in the Karakoram - 1989
- One of first New Zealander's to climb Dhaulagiri along with Dean Staples and Lydia Bradey - 2017
- Back to back ascents of Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours - 2018
Q & A
What do you love most about guiding?
I share a passion with the team here at Adventure Consultants to be the best we can be at what we do. We all get a lot out of seeing our clients have the best experience of their lives.
It’s that look of elation and seeing them evolve as personalities through the mental challenge of mountaineering that gets me.
Outside of climbing how do you like to spend your time?
I'm based in Wanaka, NZ, which is close to Mt Aspiring National Park and set on the shores of beautiful Lake Wanaka. With several ski resorts, lots of crags, rivers, paragliding, mountain biking galore; Wanaka offers everything I could ask for in providing an adventurer’s daily fix.
I try to balance my time between steering the company and fulfilling my love of rock and mountain climbing as well as mountain biking and photography. Every now and then I take a complete break, disconnect from the modern world, and head to the South West Coast of the South Island to go fishing and diving from my dingy.
- Summits – 1992 (pictured), 1997, 2006, 2007, 2018
- Team turned around at South Summit, 100m shy of the top due to weather and late hour - 1995
- Descended from South Summit high point assisting exhausted team member - 1993
- Was leading Everest Expedition in 2015 when the 7.8 earthquake occured, causing widespread devastation in Nepal and the cancellation of the expedition
- Lead guide - 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015
- Climbed and filmed Annabelle Bond as part of her 7 Summits in one year program - 2004
- Lead guide - 2003, 2009
- Guide and cameraman. Summited via the West Buttress - 2005 (pictured)
- Attempted via West Buttress, weather prevented summit - 1990
Carstenz Pyramid (4,884m/16,023ft)
- Guided first AC group since 1995. Team of five all summited including Barb Gurtler, age 71 and Karla Wheelock, the first Latin American woman to complete the Seven Summits - 2005
- Climbed and filmed Annabelle Bond - 2004
Mount Vinson (4,892m/16,050ft)
- Lead Guide - 1994, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2017 (pictured in the kitchen tent)
- Lead guide, summitted via the Falso Polish route - 2001
- Lead guide on the first AC Lhotse expedition. Sixth 8,000m peak - 2013 (pictured)
- Lead guide on back-to-back Everest/Lhotse ascents - 2018
- Lead guide on the first AC Manaslu expedition. Fifth 8,000m peak - 2012
- Lead guide heavy snow and avalanche danger prevented summit - 2015
- Summited with Lhakpa Dorjee Sherpa (first person to climb Makalu twice) and Takashi Ozaki who was summiting his seventh 8,000m peak. Fourth 8,000m peak - 2001
- Attempted Dhaulagiri on an AC expedition with Veikka Gustafsson and Ed Viesturs. Expedition was turned back due to heavy snow conditions - 1998
- Climbed Dhaulagiri in 2017, first New Zealander's to summit along with Dean Staples and Lydia Bradey
Gasherbrum 1 (8,080m/26,509ft) & Gasherbrum 2 (8,035m/26,361ft)
- Summitted Gasherbrum 2 without oxygen. Third 8,000m peak - 1997
- Attempted Gasherbrum 1 - 1997
Cho Oyu (8,188m/26,863ft)
- Lead Guide, second 8,000m peak (Everest was first - 1997)
- AC Guide - 1995
Muztagh Ata (7,545m/24,753ft)
- Leader of reconnaissance expedition for a proposed ski ascent and descent - 1998
- Lead Guide. Expedition abandoned when Rob Hall’s Everest expedition ran into trouble. Guy then assisted with rescue at Everest Base Camp - 1996
Ama Dablam (6,828m/22,401ft)
- Lead Guide, Summitted - 1996
- Lead Guide, turned back 200m shy of summit due to avalanche conditions, read Guy's account here - 2018
South Georgia - Shackleton Crossing
- Guided a group across South Georgia, following the footsteps of renowned Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton - 2016
South Pole Ski The Last Degree
- Led a group to the South Pole, where the team was flown to 89 degrees south, and then trekked for 10 days to the pole - 2010 (pictured)
- Lead guide, expedition completed several first ascents - 2006
Mt Kenya (5,199m/16,794ft)
- Climbed via the Nelion route - 2007 (pictured)
Mont Blanc (4,807m/15,771ft)
- Summitted - 2009
New Zealand Ascents
Mount Tasman (3,498m/11,476ft)
- Climbed the first ascent of a new route on the Balfour face of Tasman, one of New Zealand’s most difficult and remote alpine faces - 2003. Read about the epic climb here.
Mount Hicks (3,216m/10,551ft)
- Solo ascent via the left hand buttress -1981
Aoraki Mount Cook (3,754m/12,316ft)
- Guy’s first ascent at age 17. He has climbed Aoraki numerous times since - 1981 (pictured)
Traverse Arthurs Pass to Aoraki Mount Cook
- At age 15 Guy made the traverse with three companions including Rob Hall, age 16 - 1977
Mount Rolleston (2,271m/7,450ft)
- Summitted at age 11 with father, Ed Cotter - 1973
Rock & Ice
- Toulomne Meadows, Yosemite, USA - 1990
- Uli Biaho Spire 6,109m – 1989
- Summitted South Pillar - third ever alpine style ascent of this Karakoram spire.
- Salathe Wall and the Nose on El Capitan, Yosemite, USA -1981-1984
- Arapiles Australia - 1981-1984, 2010
- Wanaka, NZ - multiple first ascents, 1984 onwards
- Wye Creek, New Zealand - repeat visitor whenever possible each winter!
- Cogne, Lillaz, Italy - 2015
IFMGA MOUNTAIN & SKI GUIDE
- Trained and Assessed under the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. Completed 1990.
NEW ZEALAND PRE-HOSPITAL EMERGENCY CARE COURSE (40 hours)
- Last revised in 2015, current until 2018
STAGE 2 AVALANCHE QUALIFICATION
- New Zealand Avalanche Institute
NEW ZEALAND ALPINE CLUB
- Life Member
ADVENTURE CONSULTANTS, Wanaka, NZ
Director/CEO 1996 – Present
Guy was a guide on the first Adventure Consultants Everest expeditions in 1992,1993 and 1995 and purchased Adventure Consultants from Rob Hall’s wife, Jan Arnold in June 1996. He continues to lead expeditions as well as performing hands-on work as a Safety Manager, Locations Manager, and consultant for major film productions around the globe. He also gives lectures for everyone from burgeoning mountaineers to corporate groups.
Since 1996 Guy has grown the company to a diverse operation spanning all the continents. From initially only running four expeditions annually the company is now offering over 50 expeditions operating in the Himalaya, South America, the 'Seven Summits' and the Arctic / Antarctic along with busy Climbing Schools in New Zealand and Europe. He leads a team of the world's best mountain guides and the client base of the company come from all corners of the globe.
Expedition Guide 1992 - 95 on Everest, Cho Oyu and Vinson.
HARRIS MOUNTAINS HELI-SKI, Wanaka, NZ
Film Crew / Private Charter Co-ordinator 1995
Directed Avalanche & Mountaineering Courses 1995
Snow Safety Officer 1994 - 95
Ski Guide 1984 - 94
NEW ZEALAND ARMY, AATC, Waiouru, NZ
Chief Mountaineering Instructor 1991 - 92
MT ASPIRING GUIDES, Wanaka, NZ
Founded with associates Paul Scaife and Nick Cradock. 1989
Guide - mountaineering ascents, instruction courses - 1989 - 1996
ALPINE GUIDES, Aoraki Mount Cook, NZ
Alpine Guide 1984 – 94
Worked at ski resorts Australia and the USA 1981 - 84
Film & Safety Work
EVEREST - WORKING TITLE (2013/14)
- Key Alpine Advisor - Mountaineering Advisor
- Lead Mountain Safety for mountain locations in Nepal and Italy
- Guy Cotter role in this movie played by Sam Worthington
BEYOND THE EDGE, General Film Corporation (2013)
- Locations Scout/ Mt Cook
- Mountain Safety Coordinator
- Advisor to script, props, wardrobe etc.
- High altitude Everest photographer
- Everest filming director
GAP - New Zealand Photo Shoot (2010 – 2013)
- Line producer
LOUIS VUITTON - New Zealand Photo Shoot (2012)
- New Zealand producer
VARIOUS COMMERCIALS - Film/photo (2005-13)
- Locations Scout
- Helicopter Coordinator
ANNABELLE BOND - 7 SUMMITS IN ONE YEAR (2004)
- Climbed and filmed UK woman Annabelle Bond on Kilimanjaro and Kosciuszko as part of her 7 Summits in one year program which AC also coordinated.
LAST SAMURAI, Warner Bros (2003)
- Locations Scout, Queenstown
NO MARGIN FOR ERROR, Road Rules Production Limited (2003)
ECO CHALLENGE, FIJI (2002)
- Lead Rigger
ECO CHALLENGE, NZ (2001)
- Chief Guide
X FORCE – National Geographic Documentary (2001)
- Mountaineering Science
EVEREST BASE CAMP – Documentary (2000)
THE VERTICAL LIMIT, Sony Pictures (1999-2000)
- First Unit Safety Coordinator
- Climbing Coordinator
- Advisor to Production, Script, Art Department
- Talent (featured as himself)
- Aerial Coordination
MT EVEREST, Nova -Everest Special Feature, High Altitude Physiology (1997)
- High Altitude Camera Operator – filmed summit ascent
ANY PLACE WILD, PBS (1997)
- Safety and Locations
CHANNEL 3 NEWS, NZ – Everest (1996)
- Interview footage
MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA, TVNZ John Gadsby (1995)
- Safety and Locations
NOTO SKIS, NZ (1987)
- Safety and Locations
VARIOUS HELI-SKI PRODUCTIONS, NZ (1985-99)
- Safety and Locations
- Ski Model
Cool Conversations - From dirt bag climber to international business owner
December 2022 - Guy Cotter has been at the cutting edge of high-altitude guiding since the 90s. A guide on one of the very first commercial expeditions to Everest, there is little he hasn't seen in the ever-changing world of 8000m climbing.
Radio NZ - Guy Cotter: Kiwi Mountaineering Legend on Returning to the Himalaya
April 2022 - Forced into hibernation as the Covid pandemic decimated tourism, Guy Cotter talks about bringing his global mountaineering company back!
Explorers Web - Manaslu: A Climber's Guide
September 2021 - Manaslu (8,163m) is the most popular 8,000m peak in the post-monsoon season, at least since China closed Cho Oyu and Shishapangma to foreigners during the pandemic.
Guy Cotter Interview - High Alpine Film Productions Podcast Part 3
July 2020 - Katja Seyffardt interviews AC CEO Guy Cotter on his extensive career managing high alpine film productions. Part 3 of a 3-part podcast.
Guy Cotter Interview - When things go wrong on Everest Podcast Part 2
July 2020 - Katja Seyffardt interviews AC CEO Guy Cotter on his experience of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake and the rescue and recovery that followed. Part 2 of a 3-part podcast.
Guy Cotter Interview - Surviving the Extremes: Mount Everest Podcast Part 1
July 2020 - Katja Seyffardt interviews AC CEO Guy Cotter on the mental mindset of high altitude mountaineering and the fortitude and resilience he has built over his 30 year climbing career. Part 1 of a 3-part podcast.
The Wild Podcast - Life & Death on Everest
29 April, 2020 - In this episode of The Wild Podcast, Guy Cotter, CEO of Adventure Consultants talks about his history in the mountains, his influences and his experiences.
Alan Arnette - Virtual Everest 2020 Interview with Guy Cotter
12 April, 2020 - Alan Arnette interviews Guy Cotter as part of his Virtual Everest 2020 Coverage and Support the Climbing Sherpas Fundraising efforts.
NZ Herald - Kiwi Mountaineer Guy Cotter on conquering Mt Everest
1 June 2019 - Kiwi mountaineer and AC CEO Guy Cotter tells the Weekend Herald what it's like to conquer this pinnacle of human achievement - what it feels like, what it takes, and what it gives in return.
Stuff - 'Buyer Beware' for cut-price Mt Everest Expeditions
27 May 2019 - What's really the problem behind this image? AC CEO Guy Cotter weighs in on the recent media coverage around overcrowding on Everest.
Wilderness Magazine - Making Mountains Accessible
November 2018 - Guy Cotter makes a living guiding people to the summits of the highest mountains in the world. Now, he tells Kathy Ombler, he wants to make New Zealand’s mountains and wild places more accessible.
Wilderness Magazine - Record Breaking Season on Everest
July 2018 - Kathy Ombler talks to Guy Cotter about the record breaking 2018 series and how budget Everest operators are cashing in on the world’s highest climb, but at a huge risk.
NZ Adventure Magazine - Defining Failure by Guy Cotter
July 2018 - If you're going to be a mountaineer you've got to make peace with the fact that you're going to be a failure, repeatedly...
Stuff NZ - The 'bitter dispute' that led to knocking off Everest
22 April 2017 - In 1951, four New Zealanders headed to the Himalaya to climb. Their primary objective was a previously unclimbed mountain called Mukut Parbat, Guy Cotter's father Ed Cotter was one of them.
Alan Arnette Blog Fixing Everest
Alan Arnette interviews AC CEO Guy Cotter on the state of commercial guiding on Everest, and his recent article on 'Fixing Everest'.
The Climber Magazine - Sustainable Development in Mountain Guiding
Spring 2016 - AC CEO Guy Cotter shares his views on the state of the global mountain tourism industry at the Sustainable Summits Conference.
Action Asia article on Guy Cotter - Jan 2016
We recently caught up with Guy Cotter of expedition guides, Adventure Consultants, and asked about his involvement with the movie 'Everest' and the rebuilding of Nepal post-earthquake.
Mens Health Oct 2015 Peak Performance
It's a razor-thin line between life and death on Everest. After facing his own tragedy on the mountain, Guy Cotter emerged a more capable man. Use his lessons to scale your own heights. By Aaron Scott.
Guy Cotter talks about the Everest movie to Huffington Post Guy Cotter Discusses All Things Everest
July 7, 2015 - Ellis Brigham's blog recounts events on Everest in 1996, the New Everest movie and Everest 2015 with Adventure Consultants CEO Guy Cotter.
Southland Times - AC Vows to return to Earthquake stricken Nepal
June 8, 2015 - A Wanaka guiding company has vowed to return to Nepal in September and is encouraging adventurers not to turn away from the earthquake-stricken nation and its people.
The Daily Mail - Sam Worthington scales new heights in chilling movie Everest
June 5, 2015 - He is known for intense roles, having portrayed paralysed renegade Marine veteran Jake Sully in Avatar...The British-born star, 38, plays New Zealand climbing expert Guy Cotter...
Wanaka Mountaineer Mixing with Stars
14 Nov 2014 - The Otago Daily Times shares a little about the upcoming Universal Pictures 3-D film recounting Everest 1996 where Avatar's Sam Worthington plays Guy Cotter.
The Optimum Layering System?
Guy Cotter gives us his thoughts on the matter...
Radio New Zealand - Break on Everest Climbs May Allow for Better Planning
May 2014 - Interview with AC Director Guy Cotter
National Geographic Daily News - Climbing Finished for Season on Everest after Deadly Avalanche?
May 2014 - Mark Jenkins interviews AC Director Guy Cotter.
TVONE Breakfast - Summit Ladder a Step Too Far
29 May, 2013 - TVOne's Breakfast featured an interview of AC's Guy Cotter to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Hillary's summit of Everest and to get his views on the proposed ladder on the Hillary Step.
TV3 - 60 Years on, New Zealander's Still Climbing Everest
27 May, 2013 - TV3 News interviews AC CEO Guy Cotter from Namche, Nepal while on his way back to Kathmandu from Everest/Lhotse.
Otago Daily Times - Meeting with Famous Climber
21 May, 2013 - Wanaka climber and Adventure Consultants director Guy Cotter was on a high before he even left Everest Base Camp last week after meeting one of his idols, Reinhold Messner, who is considered by many to be the greatest climber in history...
Otago Daily Times - Wanaka-Hawea Climbers on Top of Everest
5 January, 2013 - 6 AC guides profiled as the highest number of Everest ascents outside of Nepal concentrated in one town, per capita!
Utah Adventure Journal - Guy Cotter, A Life of Climbing