Guy Cotter

CEO, IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide
AC CEO and IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide, Guy Cotter

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.

Notable Ascents
  • 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
International Expeditions

Seven Summits

Everest (8,850m/29,035ft)

  • Summits – 1992, 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

Kilimanjaro (5,895m/19,340ft)

  • Lead Guide - 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015
  • Climbed and filmed Annabelle Bond as part of her 7 Summits in one year program - 2004

Elbrus (5,642m/18,510ft)

  • Lead Guide - 2003, 2009

Denali (6,190m/20,308ft)

  • Guide and cameraman. Summited via the West Buttress - 2005
  • 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

Kosciuszko (2,228m/7,309ft)

  • Climbed and filmed Annabelle Bond - 2004

Mount Vinson (4,892m/16,050ft)

  • Lead Guide - 1994, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2017, 2022, 2023

Aconcagua (6,962m/22,841ft)

  • Lead Guide, summitted via the Falso Polish route - 2001

8,000m Peaks

Lhotse (8,516m/27,939ft)

  • Lead Guide on the first AC Lhotse expedition. Sixth 8,000m peak - 2013 (pictured)
  • Lead Guide on back-to-back Everest/Lhotse ascents - 2018

Manaslu (8,163m/26,781ft)

  • Lead Guide on the first AC Manaslu expedition. Fifth 8,000m peak - 2012
  • Lead Guide heavy snow and avalanche danger prevented summit - 2015

Makalu (8,481m/27,824ft)

  • 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

Dhaulagiri (8,167m/26,794ft)

  • 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

Himalayan Climbs

Muztagh Ata (7,545m/24,753ft)

  • Leader of reconnaissance expedition for a proposed ski ascent and descent - 1998

Pumori (7,161m/23,494ft)

  • 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

Nuptse (7,861m/25,790ft)

  • 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

Antarctic Peninsula

  • Lead Guide, expedition completed several first ascents - 2006

Mt Kenya (5,199m/16,794ft)

  • Climbed via the Nelion route - 2007

Mont Blanc (4,807m/15,771ft)

  • Summitted - 2009
Other Climbing

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
  • 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


  • Toulomne Meadows, Yosemite, USA - 1990
  • Uli Biaho Spire 6,109m – 1989. Climbed the 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.

Stage 2 Avalanche Qualification

  • New Zealand Avalanche Institute

New Zealand Alpine Club

  • Life Member

New Zealand Pre-hospital Emergency Care Course (40 hours)

Work Experience

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 Mountain 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

Tracked (2022)

  • Locations and Safety Manager

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)
  • Locations/safety
  • Line producer

Louis Vuitton - New Zealand Photo Shoot (2012)

  • New Zealand producer

Various commercials - Film & photo

  • Locations Scout
  • Safety
  • Helicopter Coordinator
  • Production

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
  • Safety/Medic

No Margin for Error, Road Rules Production Limited (2003)

  • Locations, rigging & safety

Eco Challenge, Fiji (2002)

  • Lead Rigger

Eco Challenge, New Zealand (2001)

  • Chief Guide

X Force – National Geographic Documentary (2001)

  • Talent/Camera
  • Mountaineering Science

Everest Base Camp – Documentary (2000)

  • Co-Producer
  • Talent

The Vertical Limit, Sony Pictures (1999-2000)

  • First Unit Safety Coordinator
  • Climbing Coordinator
  • Advisor to Production, Script, Art Department
  • Talent (featured as himself)
  • Locations
  • 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
  • Talent

Various Heli-Ski Productions, NZ (1985-99)

  • Safety and Locations
  • Ski Model
Recent Media

Guy Cotter has been at the cutting edge of high-altitude guiding since the 90s, there is little he hasn't seen in the ever-changing world of climbing. Read More

Guy Cotter talks about how mountaineering has changed, the good and the ugly on Everest, and his book coming out in the fall. Read More

Follow the remarkable story of AC CEO Guy Cotter in an authentic and riveting account of the high-stakes life of an Everest Mountain Guide. Read More

Dawn as Everest casts a shadow across the Himalaya

The Seven Summits are comprised of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. An achievable, yet significant mountaineering achievement reached by Guy in 2005.

Seven Summits
Guy Cotter Mt Slaughter

Pioneers of commercially guided expeditions to the frozen continent, AC CEO Guy Cotter also achieved the first ascent of the 3,600m Mount Slaughter, Antarctica in 1998.