Our main base is Wanaka here in Central Otago, New Zealand.
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.
January 2016, Ascents trip to the West coast, based at Centenial Hut. Great weather and we had the whole of the 8000ha of the Franz neve to ourselves! and the end of the week , a fantastic traverse of the Remarkables, above Queenstown….
Anthony on the summit of Single Cone, the third peak on the Remarkables traverse
Ant climbing on Mt Aurora, Franz Josef glacier, West coast NZ
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.
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 →
Colours are changing and the first frost has come and gone. In one month we’ll be sorting ourselves from our base in Switzerland to go ski touring. But the next few weeks left here bring some exciting moments with the Wanaka Easter airshow, Autumn Art School and the Epic Mountain Bike race around lake Hawea. Talking of races, our friend Simone just won the Gold Rush, she’s looking for sponsoring to pursue her racing career, so if you have what it takes to sponsor a worthy person, check her out here
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.
Here some memorabilia of Alpinism during the last decade: youtube legendary Doug Ball who spent considerable time climbing with mountain guide Gary Dickson aka Gaz from January 2006 until August 2009.
Doug Ball, 79, on Mt Aspiring, New Zealand
Doug at 80, climbing a few peaks over 4000m in a week in Switzerland
Doug climbing high above the Dossenhütte, Kingspitze in the back ground
Doug had climbed Mt Cook Aoraki with his wife Peggy and many other peaks, but never Mt Aspiring. He got thwarted twice while climbing with Gaz because of conditions and weather but third time lucky and for a brief time he was considered the oldest climber to have sumited. He must have been an inspiration … more
Based at Centennial hut for some more alpine climbing
He sent us these lines just recently …”I use a slide show of my mountaineering photos as a screen saver so that my memories are not lost but are refreshed every day. Alpinism and Ski certainly made an enormous difference to my life. What would have become of me if I had just thrown in the sponge after Peggy died? I have so much to thank you both for and am not likely to ever forget it.”
Typical NZ Spring storms are coming through and just last week we had fresh snow all around the mountains near Wanaka. October ended with our ski touring team coming out of Tasman Saddle hut, a successful Copeland pass alpine trekking traverse and a Mount Cook climb that could not eventuate because of the full on weather and avalanche dangers. IFMGA mountain guide Sean Brooks with mountaineer Rob had an interesting time at Plateau hut with the wind keeping them awake during the nights spent up there. Chief mountain guide Gary Dickson sat out the storm with VIP team Phil, Bill, John and Geoff and they managed a good number of excellent ski turns in the surrounding areas for the next couple of days, finishing with a splendid ski down the Tasman Glacier. However, they witnessed lots of avalanche activity too. NZMGA mountain guide Pete James with Darrin were also in the area, waiting in Mt Cook village for the weather to clear enough. After they saw the Chamoix bar windows blown out and the storm finally calming down, they were able to cross the Main Divide and here some photos (all by Pete James) telling more:
From beautiful Spring days to more stormy cold fronts. Driftwood, pine cones and dry fire wood as well as newly insolated wall and roof, we can’t complain. Ski touring for a week will keep Gaz busy shortly while Wanaka gears up for another Wanakafest this month. Already there is mention of the next Challenge competition and the Festival of Colour. Today there even was a compost seminar offered. Definitely never boring here! so, see you soon?
wool bats, pink bats, different prices, same goal
chief guide Gaz assisted by Cam, the Alpinism & Ski base improvements are never ending...
Iris' playground while renovations at home are happening