Alpine ski mountaineering course

In October, Gary headed into the head of the Tasman Glacier, based at Tasman Saddle hut with clients Mark  and Rachel. Learing the skills of ski mountaineering in preparation for a trip May 2017 to Denali.  Cold  snowy weather conditions provided perfect conditions to test gear , back country skiing / ski touring techniques , learn and apply technical mountaineering skills and weather and avalanche knowledge.

Sunset  from Tasman saddle hut

Sunset from Tasman saddle hut

Canyon lands, back basins tasman glacier

Canyon lands, back basins Tasman Glacier

Mountaineering in New Zealand – Pure Alpinism

Ropework and knots, part of alpinism skills

refreshing some technical mountaineering skills at Pioneer hut – the loo is vertical in reality:)

February’s mountaineering highlight for us was Mark’s Pure Alpinism week in the Southern Alps of NZ. The team was able to fly up to Pioneer hut as planned on a Monday morning and the weather turned out to be much better than expected during the six days. Only another couple of people were up there during that week. For IFMGA/NZMGA Mountain Guide Gary Dickson and Mark it was the third mountaineering trip together in New Zealand and he promised it won’t be the last.



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


Mountaineering instruction courses in New Zealand

use of ice screws

learn some tricks while on a specialized training course

How to stay safe in the mountains is part of the skills practiced on an instruction course, be it for winter mountaineering or summer alpine climbing. Avalanches happen during the whole year, so knowing the basics about safety is part of the game. We have two scheduled trips on the program and free spaces available for each: October ski touring/snow boarding, the other an intermediate mountaineering course, Total Alpinism. Search and Rescue training is Continue reading

Ski Touring in New Zealand’s Southern Alps

Alpinism & Ski Wanaka New Zealand

Bernese Oberland ski touring fun in May 2012

As Winter is starting back home in Wanaka, we are just about having the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere. Expecting our first Kiwi guest Andrew for another Euro summer alpinism adventure but already planning the ski touring and back country snowboard fun late winter and spring downunder. Alpinism & Ski will pick up activities in NZ again with a private ski touring trip: a keen team of three Ozie blokes will head off on 10th Sept.

For individuals keen to share cost and fun: we’ve fixed the dates for our

one and only 2012 scheduled  6 day ski touring adventure:

from Sunday 14th – Friday 19th October 2012

max 4 participants, $ 2430 pp (special conditions apply)

Our next newsletter and program update by email is not too far away, if you haven’t received one yet and would like to subscribe, send an email please

Alpinism adventures in the mountains of New Zealand

As the sun is out again, mountain guide Gaz and Michelle headed off on a climbing trip. Here at the Alpinism & Ski base, the home stay accommodation has once more extended to fly fishing lodge. Iris has gone fishing with friends, here at the Ahuriri river:

Ahuriri river

Hawkeye & Karen looking good, a magnificent alpine area in the back ground of the Ahuriri river

Preparations for alpinism in Europe have started, we look forward to once again go climbing in the Northern Alps; this time ski touring will be on the menu too. But for now, walking, tramping, trekking and hiking is part of Iris’ summer based in Wanaka: Diamond lake loop track, Rob Roy glacier cirque, even lake Alta in the Remarkables. Just lately a visit to Liverpool hut and a fabulous overnight trip in Mt Aspiring National Park. Photos on facebook, Lake Alta, Liverpool but here a selection:

trekking in alpine wonderland

Enjoying alpine wonderland in the Southern Alps

Magic views from the Remarkables

on a guided trekking excursion looking down at lake Wakatipu

Phil Melchior enjoying a day out in Mt Aspiring National Park

Phil on a day trip from Wanaka

Mt Cook climb, Ski touring and Alpine trekking

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:

Climbing up towards Copeland Shelter

Climbing up towards Copeland Shelter

Copeland Shelter in Mt Cook Nat. Park

The shelter and Copeland pass behind it

Darrin on the Copeland Pass

Darrin on the Copeland Pass, Mt Cook Nat. Park

Mountaineering course, ski touring and trekking in NZ

Ski touring with a mountain guide

Ski Touring in the Southern Alps of New Zealand

September and October are perfect to explore the glaciated and grandiose terrain amongst the main divide. A keen team, Linda, Rob and Kerryn, came from Australia to practice their mountaineering and ski touring skills in preparation for an adventure in Patagonia. Based at Tasman Saddle hut in Mt Cook National Park, they enjoyed pretty good weather, awesome views and some wonderful moments:

Wintermountaineering and ski touring

adventures amongst the highest mountains of NZ

New Zealand ski touring with a mountain guide

late winter fun on a ski touring trip

ski touring and mountaineering private instruction courses

the smile says it all, here at Tasman Saddle hut

Now, chief mountain guide Gaz is on handyman duty before his next ski touring trip, while Iris is off to Rob Roy glacier cirque for a guided trekking excursion.

Back in Wanaka for ski touring, winter mountaineering

Alpinism & Ski team Gaz and Iris are back in Wanaka where more snow has fallen a couple of days ago, a top up as usual for our return from our climbing activities in Europe and we look forward to some fun on skis. Sunday, Gary is off with a team of three for a six day winter mountaineering adventure.

The scheduled ski touring trip in September is closed but four spaces are available for the ski  tour in October and one person is very keen for YOU to join up and to make it happen, so get in touch for details by e-mail

ski touring in New Zealand

views from a day trip ski tour adventure at the Remarkables

Avalanche course, winter mountaineering, ski touring in NZ

Just a few lucky avalanche shots while on a trekking adventure over Ball Pass last summer in New Zealand

Alpinism photography

Caroline face, Mt Cook Aoraki NZ, Dec 2010

alpinism experiences in NZ

Avalanche course anybody?

summer avalanche lucky shot

Close up avalanche action in the middle of the climbing season

Gary is guiding a father-son team for ISM in the beautiful alpine play area of Trient glacier, Orny hut – a fabulous play ground for mountaineers and climbers, along the Swiss-French border ridge lines. It’s raining in Leysin, easy to get our minds into move-on mode and therefore ski touring, avalanche courses and winter mountaineering in New Zealand… but, before then, the Alpinism & Ski team is taking a break:

the global office is officially closed – between 23 August and 7th September

as Gaz and Iris will be gone on their private adventure

So, if you’d like to inquire or book your special dream trip, just do it before then 🙂

Alpinism & Culture

Climbing in Swiss Alps: Alpinism and Culture, ibex sculpture at the Orny hut,