The Course Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Alpine Climbing Courses.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Alpine Climbing Course Notes 2021/22
The instructors on our New Zealand courses are all NZMGA/IFMGA qualified guides with many years experience, not only in pursuing their own climbing careers, but also in learning how to pass these skills on in an environment which is conducive to accelerated learning.
Our focus is to pass on knowledge that will assist your development towards becoming a competent climber. Many courses focus primarily on techniques that are taught as skills in isolation yet we recognise that you need to learn those skills in context while you are actually climbing the mountain so you know where and when to utilise each technique learned.
Success with the highest margin of care is always a hallmark of our approach; promoting the realisation that even extreme pursuits such as high altitude mountaineering can be undertaken safely.
A founding principle at Adventure Consultants is to recognise the necessity of positive communication within the group to foster an open and friendly approach to communicating and reinforcing learning processes.
Adventure Consultants employs only IFMGA or NZMGA qualified guides, the most advanced training and certification program internationally. In order to gain these qualifications guides must undergo rigorous training and assessment on climbing skills, instructional skills, avalanche training and assessment, wilderness first aid, rescue training and much more. The qualification takes around five years to attain and ensures you are getting a world-class professional service.
Head Office Support Team
Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.
Suze Kelly, General Manager
Suze has been coordinating the office at AC headquarters since 1996 and was our Everest Base Camp Manager in 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Much of the quality of our expeditions and the way we go about things here at AC is owed to the attention to detail which Suze applies in her role. Suze has skied and climbed in New Zealand all her life, including ascents of Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook and internationally she has climbed Island Peak, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Lhotse, Everest and Vinson.
Our registration form requests that you advise us of any medical problems you may have and if you are on any medication. Any information you supply will be treated as confidential.
Level of Experience Required
This course has been developed to meet the need for people who want to learn how to climb mountains and avoid the frustrations of courses that are entirely technically based but lacking in experiential learning. A high level of fitness is important to ensure you gain the most from the course.
We operate the course by gradually increasing the intensity of the exercises to allow participants to increase their climbing strength and confidence over the duration of the course. Alpine climbing often requires long days with early starts in order to gain a summit and descend before nightfall and hence stamina is a vital asset. There are times when the weather may be rough and there can be periods of discomfort. This hardship makes a summit all the more satisfying and one recognises that it takes special attributes to be a successful alpine climber.
If possible, you should take the opportunity to develop additional skills before the course commences, e.g. rope skills that can be learned through local alpine clubs or rock gyms. Of course having previous rock or alpine climbing experience will allow you to gain even more from the course.
Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.
Preparing for Your Trip
To make the most of your climbing experience we strongly encourage you to work on your fitness prior to the trip. A good level of fitness takes time and commitment and can only be achieved by training hard or being constantly physically active. In training it is best to actually carry a pack for long periods on hills and uneven terrain on a regular basis. Your guide places special focus on fitness levels and will regulate the pace accordingly. Your own level of enjoyment of the course will be directly related to your level of fitness. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for your course.
We place emphasis on providing nutritious meals and a good supply of snack food throughout the trip.
If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us at the time of registration. For special diets such as vegan and gluten/dairy free we will call you to discuss your needs and how this will work in the group cooking situation.
If your dietary requirements are especially strict you are advised to bring a sufficient supply of your required food types with you to ensure you are provided for.
Wanaka has a range of accommodation from backpackers, youth hostels, motels, and hotels to luxury lodges.
We are happy to assist with your accommodation and bus transfer arrangements.
Adventure Consultants will provide your accommodation while the course is running which is from 9.00am on Day 1 until 5.00pm on Day 10. When in the mountains you will stay in mountain huts with shared bunkrooms and basic facilities. There are no single rooms available. Some mountain nights will be spent in tents or bivvies where you will be more exposed to the elements but the final decision on this will be made by the guides after weighing up all the factors. For more information on New Zealand's mountain accommodation see our Alpine Huts page.
For overnights in Fox Glacier / Franz Josef or Aoraki Mount Cook villages you will be accommodated in dormitory style Alpine Club huts and in Wanaka in dormitory style backpackers with shared bathroom facilities. You may decide to upgrade to single accommodations in Wanaka at your own expense, should you require.
Clothing & Equipment
Climbing in the Southern Alps requires you have the highest quality clothing and equipment due to the extremes of weather conditions.
Our focus is on having the essential clothing and equipment while keeping your pack as light as possible. Your guide will go through the equipment checklist with you at the beginning of your trip. Actual equipment taken may vary from the list we provide you subject to seasonal weather and route conditions. All group equipment including ropes and cooking equipment will be organised by your guide.
Adventure Consultants can help with all your equipment needs prior to your trip departing. We have a dedicated equipment co-ordinator that can answer any questions you may have, or you can also read the following equipment notes which are designed to help you when making decisions about which equipment best suits your personal needs.
We carry a good range of modern rental equipment. If you will be renting equipment from us please advise your requirements in advance to ensure correct sizing and availability.
In addition, our extensive retail catalogue and gear store provide the added service of purchasing your clothing and equipment needs directly from us. We are regularly outfitting climbers from head to toe to help them prepare for their course, ascent or trek! We also have a range of products available at our headquarters for any last minute purchases on the day of departure.
We can offer secure storage at our office for your luggage and valuables during the trip.
Communication & Messages
Our guides are in radio/cell/sat phone communication with our operations base and Department of Conservation headquarters throughout the trip. This assists us with schedule and weather forecast updates, helicopter coordination and safety back up. Urgent messages can be relayed via our office to the field if required. Each course carries a locator beacon for additional security.
We commence this trip from our base in Wanaka. The nearest airport is located in Queenstown, approximately one hour's drive away. Air New Zealand and Jetstar airlines provide daily services to Queenstown from Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. There are also direct international flights from most major Australian cities.
A shuttle service operates several times daily between Queenstown and Wanaka (from $35 each way), see https://www.ritchies.co.nz/wanaka. We are happy to assist with your transfer arrangements.
Bus services also operate daily between Christchurch and Wanaka (approximately 6 hours' travel time).
Return ground transport from Wanaka to the course venue is included in the course fee.
Guide Books & Maps
Included in your course fee is a complimentary copy of ‘A Climbers Guide to New Zealand Mountaineering Techniques’. Written by Adventure Consultants guides Guy Cotter, Dean Staples and Mark Sedon, the ‘ACG’ was published specifically as reference material which you will find useful before, during, and long after your course has finished.
Aoraki Tai Poutini - A Guide for Mountaineers by Rob Frost and The Mount Aspiring Region - by Allan Uren and Mark Watson offer good insight into to the variety of peaks and routes in these respective areas.
It is useful to have your own map for navigation exercises, and we can advise you of the relevant 1:50,000 topographic maps required. The training area venue for your Alpine Climbing Course will generally only be decided just prior to the course commencement date to ensure the most favourable area is utilised.
The above books and maps can be purchased from our gear store in Wanaka.