Wanaka, New Zealand

Our main base is Wanaka here in Central Otago, New Zealand.

Lake Wanaka NZ

We live on the shores of Lake Wanaka. The climate in Wanaka is dry as it is out of the mountain weather so ideal for preparing for a trip or hanging out waiting for a weather change before going into the big mountains.

Wanaka as a town is just the right size for having the conviences of modern living, but not overly busy. We have nice recreation options such as rock climbing, sailing, mountain biking, wine tasting….

Wanaka is idealy suited as a base for a mountain guiding operation as it is central for access to the southern alps. Mt Aspiring national park is at our door step, Mt Cook National Park is 2.5hrs drive away and Fox glacier, gateway to the Fox and Franz Josef glacier region is 3 hrs away.

Queenstown has an international airport or connects easily for our guests to international flights out of Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland, and is only 40  minutes drive away over the crown range for us to come and pick you up – yep , nice and handy.

Lake wanaka with early snowLake wanaka autumn coloursCBD, wanaka township

Alpinism & Ski base in Wanaka, sustainability and eco friendly

Wanaka, base of Alpinism & Ski

Autumn colors in Wanaka

The colorful leaves on trees and bushes will be gone very soon and winter woollies, boots and adventure gear used again. This ‘in-between’ season is always fabulous too, no early starts or not too many. The Alpinism & Ski team took a break, sailing in the Marlborough Sounds, enjoying the road trip through the Mainland and visiting friends.

Now it’s preparation time for our stint in the European Alps again and we look forward to many great rock climbing trips and summer mountaineering adventures in Switzerland, France and Italy. The Alpinism studio-cottage has a winter tenant, available again for short term holidays from mid Oct. and our base will be looked after by the same wonderful friend while we are away. We can boast about another sustainability achievement with an extra layer of flooring in the studio which should improve warmth. Another year for the Alpinism & Ski base has just been confirmed as being a ‘low user’ energy wise which should be thanks to our solar system.

We shall be away for the first part of the winter but for those of you following our blog and keen on winter activities around here, the annual Remarkables Ice and Mixed Climbing Festival this year is held from 14th – 16th of August and more on their website www.iceandmixedfestival.co.nz – Also, from 3-7th July another awesome thing we are missing out on is the Wanaka Film festival, enjoy if you are here.


Wanaka, a top place to start Alpinism Adventures

In case you wonder: the Gigatownwanaka competition is over – I neglected this blog and supported the cause on all social media, even signed up on Instagram and started tweeting. That’s over, or greatly reduced now as it is more important to be out there on Alpinism adventures. For me here in Wanaka, the native plants and amazing scenery on all the walks provide fantastic times. The festive season is almost on us so here :

Mountain Guide Gary Dickson IFMGA

Alpinism and Ski team Iris and Gary Dickson wishing you a Happy New Year 2015


Sustainability at the Alpinism and Ski base in Wanaka

A very  important thing happening this week: one of our sustainability projects for the Alpinism and Ski base here in Wanaka is finished, a long term dream as well, ticked off the bucket list and we are mighty proud of it: as of now, we are putting power back into the grid with our brand new solar system. So, life is good and we’ll continue to plan more projects and dream a little.


Mountain Guide Gary Dickson back in Wanaka, New Zealand

Professional mountain guides with an international qualification

Gary Dickson, Mountain Guide IFMGA/NZMGA

Spring seems to race along in full speed and plenty of typical storms with lots of wind are blowing through, not so typical are all the thunder and lightning we had during the last few weeks though.

The chief mountain guide of Alpinism & Ski Wanaka, being president of the NZ mountain guides association, has just returned from Peru where an international meeting for the industry took place. Gary is now getting ready again for alpinism adventures in the Southern Alps. His schedule for the coming summer season is getting busy but there are a few slots available should you want him in person for your special ascent, a particular training course or ‘just’ an amazing week in the mountains.

Meanwhile in Wanaka, the native and not so native flora is displaying new beauty almost every day

Alpinism Adventures from Wanaka

Alpinism home base

Wanaka base of Alpinism & Ski

Back in Wanaka, fresh snow has arrived with our return and all around it is as beautiful as ever. The first ski day for Iris has come and gone and chief mountain guide Gaz is preparing for a week of rope rescue course with the experts of the industry. As the present storm goes through, we are catching up with the latest Climber, Forest & Bird and Fish & Game mags. In Wanaka, the Wanakafest addicts are already busy preparing for the event late October, (24-27th) should you have spare time and/or cash to help, get in touch through www.wanakafest.co.nz

Ski touring is on our immediate alpinism activity menu and so are the soft recreational trekking excursions. Just ask if you are interested.

Sustainability – Alpinism & Ski – Wanaka

Alpinism and sustainability go hand in hand – there is no other way as we all have to look after our splendid nature and wilderness areas. We have our own sustainability statement and improvements have been ongoing since our establishment during the Millennium year.

sustainability practices

Mountain guide Gaz getting rid of surplus packaging before a trip

sustainability practices

Climbing ropes too get recycled, here to fix a rubbish bin

sustainability practices

there are 2-3 composts on the go at all times at the Alpinism and Ski base

Alpinism and Ski Wanaka is on every mountaineering, ski touring or trekking trip passing on the message as best as possible to visitors from all over the globe. We have also supported Wanaka Wastebusters since they opened their doors. Now there es another enterprise in Wanaka which I believe is in line with being sustainable and sharing resources, the Wanaka time bank. If everyone of us makes the best possible effort, there WILL be improvement. Education is part of it so please help to pass the message that breaking bottles all around beautiful places in Wanaka and leaving rubbish is not cool!

Alpinism and Ski and sustainability

Help educate the masses: no rubbish left behind ever!

Ski Touring in New Zealand

back country ski touring in NZ

Ski touring from Murcheson hut, see the rock avalanche on the left

As we are packing up for a couple of months of summer mountaineering in Europe, ski touring and back country snow boarding adventurers in the Southern Alps are getting ready for the 2013 season and most likely some hardy souls are at it already.

Ourselves will be ready for it, Ski Touring in New Zealand that is, from 10th September onwards. However, if you want our help before then for putting together your dream trip in the Southern Alps, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Fixing dates is always a good start.

More photos of this particular ski touring adventure :

Alpine hut in New Zealand

Ski touring : upon arrival, some snow shoveling to get into the hut

guided ski touring in nz

ski touring in the Southern Alps

guided ski tour in nz

Fantastic views over the Southern Alps on NZ while on a ski tour lunch break

backcountry ski touring in NZ

Team players: Geoff, John, Phil and Bill & mountain guide Gary Dickson

back country hut for ski touring in NZ

Sking back down to Murcheson hut

guided ski touring in nz

escaping the avalanche, no, but lucky they did not have to