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

Aircraft access/egress in NZ

What you need to know about aircraft access/egress for our guided mountain climbing and mountaineering courses here in the NZ southern alps

Heliaircraft used for mountaineering adventures

fox neve drop off

 

 

Accessing glaciated mountaineering terrain in the Southern alps requires travelling in to our National parks some distance. Most locations if done on foot would require a good weather period, 2 days travel with big packs and a substantial elevation gain all in good weather.( same to get out) Often when the party travelling in via foot access gets to the climbing location the weather is already on the turn, the party gets some hut time, finds their food is running out and then is forced to start heading out down the valley again. Hmmmm.  Yep, as a young student at university, this used to be a common scenario. I got a bit done, but not as much as I could have…..

Alpinism and Ski uses helicopters to access and egress the climbing venues ( this is actually  a very common and standard thing for NZ mountaineering). There are many helicopter bases close to  the mountain venues we go to which is ideal. Yes this is an added expense, but one which many climbers who understand kiwi weather  and logistics regularly use.

Flying in and out maximizes your precious time in the alpine zone. Last but not least, when you fly in, your legs are fresh for your climbing, mountaineering and ski touring adventure and so is the food.

Knowing and understanding Kiwi weather is cruicial for trip planning and  working in with the helicopter companies. This is where my 30 years of exerience and my solid understanding of local weather patterns comes in.

Our guided mountaineering and ski touring parties wait for good weather in the mountains to arrive and then quickly, efficiently and painlessly fly in. If the weather is bad for flying in, time is spent rock climbing/scrambling, revising rope skills and/or relaxing at the Alpinism and Ski base.

Aircraft cost for alpinism adventures in NZ

Your New Zealand mountaineering and ski touring adventures with Alpinism and Ski Wanaka do not include the price of flights in or out of the mountains. Why….?

Trips in NZ are driven by the weather and conditions options, sometimes you end up going into your first objective,  often you end up going somewhere different that first thought.

Prices of flights vary depending on the area flown in to (e.g. Mt Cook-Aoraki National park or Westland National park) as well as aircraft used. The rules and regulations governing these areas vary too. I am more than happy to explain it and  give estimates on application to help you with budgeting. You pay directly to the aircraft company involved. there is no fee taken by us for that part of the trip.

We leave the flying to the expert aviation companies. We have an excellent working relationship with them and they and us do our best to get the most efficient and economical flight deals for your New Zealand alpinism adventures.

Classic NZ Summer Alpinism 2015/16

The kiwi summer alpinism season is upon us.

mountain guide NZ

Mega classic snow and ice Mt Lendenfeld 3192m centre

Alpine climbing instruction course in NZ

Fun and  classic summer alpinism on the wild west coast, NZ

Conditions on the glaciers are looking excellent due to the good snow winter we have had.  Check out a few of our additions on our webpage – Mt Lendenfeld mega classic 3192m peak week and the Classic  west coast peaks week. Time to dust of those mountaineering boots, find your headtorch and start planning your next kiwi adventure. Fly into queenstown airport, we can come and pick you up, whip over to wanaka for a pre trip BBQ, then cruise down the wild west coast, hop into a helicopter and be climbing in some of the worlds finest alpine terrain…

Pure Alpinism, mountaineering adventures in NZ

Alpinism & Ski Wanaka

change of colors, change of season

Summer climbing trips in NZ are gone again until later in the year but autumn mountaineering adventures can be stunning too. Mountain guide Gaz has just returned from an NZMGA course for future guides and has now put his mountaineering gear in the shed for a break. He’ll work on his aerial photography missions with his drone, the hexacopter. Summer in Europe is not too far away and the Icelandic mountain guides have requested the chief’s presence for more expert training.

The Alpinism & Ski team have had the opportunity to visit the Albert Burn chalet recently, a beautiful area, great views of Mt Aspiring and we had some pesky Keas around too, making sure we did not sleep in. A most interesting alpine flora session we had too, a separate album coming up. Here a few pictures of the latest Pure Alpinism 7 day trip, to Westland National Park with Charles Day from Australia:

Mountaineering instruction courses in New Zealand

Alpine climbing instruction course in NZ

Mic, Monty and Pat high up on the Fox Glacier, New Zealand

 

A few months ago, we heard from Mic who had climbed Mt Cook as well as Mt Tasman with Gaz some years ago. He was keen to introduce his son Pat to Alpinism adventures and last month, together with his longtime mountaineering buddy Monty, the threesome arrived for a seven day mountaineering instruction course. At the base, this was the opportunity to finalize the latest Adventure Tourism auditing request and then our team hit the road to Fox Glacier; photos on the last blog but here now the feedback:

from Monty, after his fourth trip:

” Thank you very much again for a wonderful and friendly experience. I always come away from climbing trips with ‘Gaz’ with more confidence and desire for more mountain excursions. I know Mick and I will be planning our next trip as soon as we get back home. Gaz, your patient tutorial towards Pat in getting him to understand the complexity of climbing and how he can still enjoy it was most beneficial & assuring. A great mentor.

Iris, your hospitality as always was warm and generous. Till next time, Monty”

Thanks Monty, we look forward to it!

 

Guided Climbing in New Zealand – Alpinism & Ski Wanaka

The peak season of mountaineering adventures in the Southern Alps has started with this last month of the year. Guided climbing adventures with us begin most often right here in Wanaka, including ascents of Mt Aspiring, Mt Tasman and of course the highest, Mt Cook – Aoraki.

Also mountaineering courses and Gary has just spent a 7 day trip with three Australians, based at Pioneer hut for the best weather days, learning, refreshing and improving alpine climbing skills, enjoying the alpine ambiance and taking in the wilderness aspect of the Southern Alps:

Mic and Monty have both been on Alpinism adventures here with us before and it was a pleasure to introduce Mic’s son Pat to the fun and excitement of alpine climbing.

Private mountain guiding

Late November, local woman Jackie went off with Alpinism and Ski Mountain Guide Callum into the Aspiring climbing region for a private mountain guiding adventure. They got in and did a warm up climb of Rolling Pin, before the next day making an attempt to climb Mt Aspiring. In was an extremely windy and cold day and wisely they turned back at an appropriate spot on the NW ridge around 2/3 the way up the mountain. As a testament to Jackies fitness and preparation, the next day they walked all the way out to the Raspberry creek carpark and a well earned shower and feed in Wanaka. A great experience was had by Jackie. Mt Aspiring summit will always be there for a less windy day.  Nice work team :-)

Part of private mountain guiding adventures - walking out thru the sub alpine

Jackie climbing on the biggest mountain on her back doorstep

Mountain guide Callum and Jackie - the climbing team for a crack at some private mountain guiding in their back yard - Mt Aspiring

Ski Touring in New Zealand

Ski touring in New Zealand

A fine day in the Southern Alps during September

Ski touring has been the main subject since our return from Switzerland a few weeks ago. Three Australian guests visited Fox Glacier and Pioneer hut with Gary, in between the snow storms that rendered the Southern Alps very wintry indeed. Not that much snow around the hut was one of Gaz’ comments. – The next 7 day ski touring adventure started for Charles Day after a day visit to Treble Cone. A legendary mountaineer from way back who knows the mountain guiding scene of New Zealand very well, having had many fine trips with IFMGA guides here, to name but a few Nick Cradock, Anton Wopereis and Dave Hiddleston – he also climbed Mt Aspiring with Geoff Wyatt, walking in and out! but some more photos of ski touring:

ski touring in New Zealand

Glaciated Beauty and fun times

Alpinism adventure

views down Fox glacier and Pioneer ridge towards the sea

Ski touring base

Pioneer hut

 

Mountain huts in New Zealand

your base for climbing Mt Aspiring, 3033 m

Colin Todd hut

A variety of huts, a combination of high alpine and tramping accommodation plus some amazing rock bivvies. The collection of photos so far only includes huts on the South Island. The majority of mountain huts in New Zealand do not have a hut warden and trampers and mountaineers need to carry in their own cooking gear e.g. stove, fuel, pots, plates, etc.. You can pay the hut fees to DoC – Department of Conservation – or the NZ Alpine Club. Continue reading

Private Mountain Guiding – Alpinism at its best

Mountain Guiding - Alpinism

Private mountain guiding adventures

Swiss Alps private mountain guiding

Alpinism on a private mountain guiding trip

Climbing Dent Blanche

Climbing Dent Blanche - private mountain guiding

As summer in New Zealand is disappearing, our minds are turning to the mountain guiding season in Europe where we’ll be based again until end of August. This year, given that Gary is president of NZMGA at the moment, he’ll be representing his favorite country at the international mountain guides festival in France during the first week of May. Iris & Gaz look forward to their personal ski touring while there too. However, before the departure in six weeks, we have some more Alpinism in New Zealand on the program.