Leysin, Switzerland

Leysin is a fantastic alpine village nestled in the pre alps of Switzerland, perfect as our base to launch mountaineering trips into the swiss alps from.

Leysin has all grades of rock climbing on superb rock

Leysin has all grades of rock climbing on superb rock

Leysin has excellent local hikes pre and post mountaineering

Leysin has excellent local hikes pre and post mountaineering

Awesome mountain veiws from this 1500m veiw point - Leysin

Awesome mountain veiws from this 1500m veiw point – Leysin

Leysin is easy to get to via the fantastically efficient and reliable Swiss train system or road if you have a rental car.

It is about the same size as Wanaka, NZ – a small alpine type town with cafes, restaurants, sports stores, supermarket, a variety of nice accomodation options  and importantly central to the main mountaineering regions.

  • 1.5 hrs from chamonix
  • 2 hrs from Zermatt, Sass valley region
  • 2.5 hrs from the Grindelwald  region
  • 3hrs from getting to Italy – Grand Paradiso National Park

So perfect for a warm up acclimatisation hike,  rock session or via ferrata if required for skills acqusition , skills tune up or best weather option, and then ideal for launching off to the best venue for conditions, weather, your skills and objectives….

guided climb of Matterhorn

Helicopter action recently rennovating the Hornli hut -Matterhorn in the background

UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guide

Me, Gary Dickson, IFMGA mountain guide on Swiss rock

Alpinism adventures, Leysin, Switzerland

Swiss alpine flora, on a rock climbing excursion near Leysin

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.

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.

Intermediate-advanced climbing course

climbing course - learning to place ice screws

learning to place ice screws on a climbing course

End of the month, two fit fellas will be arriving from Aussie to go on an intermediate-advanced climbing course with mountain guide Gaz.  The NZ weather looks to have settled into a more settled state of play and alpine conditions look excellent for the 10 day specialized mountain training.

If you are  looking for a climbing course we have  two sceduled courses comming up:

  • Intro to alpinism    –    6 days  20th-25th February
  • Total Alpinism         –   7  days  04th-10th March

If you are an individual or a group looking to have a week of private mountaineering instruction, just get in touch and we can see if we can fit around your schedule.


Mountaineering instruction courses in New Zealand

mountaineering instruction courses

Snow and ice techniques on a mountaineering course

crevasse rescue on an instruction course

crevasse rescue on an instruction course

pitching up a ridge, alpine course

pitching up a ridge on an alpine instruction course


The New Year is approaching fast and the last few weeks have brought us excellent weather for adventures in the Southern Alps.

We have two mountaineering courses on the program, one for beginners and the other for intermediate to advanced mountaineers keen to brush up, renew and confirm their alpine climbing skills to stay safe in the mountains while having fun, here the details:

  • Intro to Alpinism, 6 days from 20 – 25th February 2012, $ 2426 pp
  • Total Alpinism, 7 days from 4 – 10th March 2012, $ 2830 pp

One of those mountaineering instruction courses could be just right for you, so don’t hesitate and get in touch for more details.

For now:


Wanaka, perfect to start a guided walk or mountaineering adventures

The last month of the year and our Sustainability Statement is now available. Also our latest newsletter is out, check it here and you can sign up for the next one by sending us an email.  We promise not to spam you as time outside is too precious! Here some photos from a recent walking adventure, up to Breast Hill above Lake Hawea, a great one day walk unless you go from hut to hut…

from Breast Hill, Lake Hawea

high above Lake Hawea

On a hike up to Breast Hill

having fun going for a good walk

Pakituhi hut

On the way to Breast Hill: Cameron hut

Mountaineering Instruction course, mountain guiding and guided walks

Working  as a trainer for the New Zealand Mountain Guides Assn, Gaz and his small team  flew up to Centennial hut in windy, cold South West conditions. His crew made up of 3 Fox Glacier  guides who are keen on the NZMGA Alpine Trekking Pathway and one from Invercargill/Queenstown  keen on becoming a NZMGA ski guide. There is an excellent amount of snow cover on the glaciers and lots of good guide techniques taught to the students . After a couple of days in that location they then re-located  to Pioneer hut and finished the 6 day mountaineering instruction course at Chancellor hut from where they flew back down to Fox. A good week in the Southern Alps to improve technical skills and knowledge.

Need a mountain guide during December/January?

Due to a cancellation, Gaz is  available  for personalized mountain guiding or offer you a great mountaineering  instruction course…

Guided walks in the Wanaka area and Mt Aspiring National Park.  There are Rob Roy Glacier Cirque, Glacier Burn taking the Eastern branch of the Matukituki, Diamond lake loop track for those with only a small half day to spare: great views of Mt Aspiring, the river and Lake Wanaka. Even if you only have a couple of hours, they are so worth while checking out the best view points and eco tours in our Wanaka paradise…. call Iris for suggestions

Alpinism & Ski Wanaka

Life is too short , let's get out and play

Mountaineering instruction course with Alpinism & Ski

Wanaka still displays a beautiful palette of autumn colors and the weather has been stunning. We’ve been having fun rock climbing, mountain biking and sailing but now are getting ready for a private mountaineering instruction course in the Southern Alps. A keen team of eight blokes will be heading up into the mountains from either Mt Cook-Aoraki village or Fox Glacier with alpine mountain guides Gary Dickson and Callum Grant this coming week. This specialised training mission will include all the technical tricks of how to be and stay safe in extreme conditions and alpine terrain.

Beginners mountaineering course

learning belaying techniques on a mountaineering course

learn rope skills on a mountaineering course

extrordinary terrain

visit cool terrain

Alpine sunset from 2400m

Experience awesome mountain vistas and sunsets

Join our beginners mountaineering course scheduled for 20th – 25th march 2011.  Learn the basic skills of mountaineering under the tuition of an Alpinism and Ski Mountain guide.  If this sounds like you, send us an email, or call us to here more about it

or click to our website..