Custom River Crossing & Steep Ground Course January 11, 2024

This is a one-day river crossing & Steep Ground Course.


Completing a one-day river crossing course with OENZ is a great way to upskill and ensure your safety before you head on your next big adventure. Rivers are one of the greatest hazards in New Zealand’s backcountry and claim lives every year! They are dynamic and pose a serious risk to the untrained.

“There are on average, about four river crossing deaths each year. Of these accidents, most occur in flooded rivers or side streams.” (Bushcraft Manual Fourth edition. Mountain Safety Council, 2006)

Add to it some steep ground training and you will have a solid foundation of skills for more adventurous backcountry hikes that include passes and high saddles.


River Crossing and Steep Ground course location

Starting at Porters Pass we will venture up the hill to get into some steep terrain, looking specifically for scree and slippery tussock grasses. We will spend our time looking at footwork and walking techniques before continuing onto Mt White Bridge for the river crossing course. This will be a longer-than-normal day as we will be departing from Christchurch in the morning and have been allowed extra time to cover the additional skills.

For people interested in a river crossing course closer to Christchurch, please contact us for a private booking. 




This is a one-day course and does not include overnight accommodation. Please see our FAQ page for recommended accommodation options for those traveling outside of Christchurch.




All you will need for this course is waterproof boots, a tramping pack, and normal outdoor clothing. We will supply all the necessary equipment for you if you don’t have your own.  You can find a packing list and course outline at the bottom of this page.




Food is not provided in this course. We recommend packing plenty of snacks and a lunch that does not require cooking.




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OENZ 4×4


Free transport is available from any Christchurch accommodation if you’re traveling from out of town to attend one of our courses. Please book a central city or south Christchurch accommodation.

Meeting locations (catch a ride with us)

If you are bringing your car, please meet us at one of the following locations:



Van for rock climbing courses in christchurch



We recommend that you arrive in Christchurch the day before your course. We have a few hotel & hostel suggestions on our FAQ page. Please avoid booking accommodation north or east of the City Centre.  We are more than happy to drop you back at your accommodation or directly at the airport at the end of the course.  The earliest time we can have you back at the airport is 5 pm.




River safety course
Throw bagging rescues


Risk Assessment

  • Assessment and identification of hazards
  • Hazard management
  • River characteristics & features
  • Decision making


River Crossing

  • River crossing principles
  • Identifying safe entry and exit points
  • River crossing methods
  • Backing out
  • Using poles for support



  • Recovery swim
  • Pack float
  • Throw bag techniques
  • How to manage an injured, wet person until external help arrives



Scree training
Bracing on scree for traversing a slope

Steep Ground Skills:

  • Efficient walking techniques in scree
  • Walking techniques across mixed ground coverings
  • Using poles for bracing








Course Outline
Gear List












The ability to swim confidently is not a pre-requisite of this course, however, if participants are not confident swimmers they should advise their instructors of this on registration.

*A minimum of 4 participants is required for the course to run.



“I feel we had good time to go through everything and feel much more confident in crossing rivers” –  Clare Ross

” An excellent river course, exactly what I was looking”  – John Andrews

“My Wife and I have done two courses and it has been really helpful. We’ve done the two day navigation course and the River Crossing Course. Both courses have been customised To our needs so we couldn’t have asked for better service. We will be well prepared for our adventures to come. Highly recommend them. And thank you in advance for saving our lives crossing dangerous rivers” 

Contact us today


Phone: +64 3 329 9076                                Email: [email protected]

Field Based Course Highlights


The ability to swim confidently is not a pre-requisite of the course, however, if participants are not confident swimmers they should advise this on booking.

*Minimum 4 people needed to run a course

Course booking form

Participant Details

Participant details

Please enter details for each participant you're booking for (even if they're the same as entered above).

Bookings are $289 per participant

Add a Youth Participant?

Youth Participant details

Youth must be at least years old to attend this course

Bookings are $ per youth participant



Which course are you taking?
Alpine Course
Bush and River Crossing
Rock Climbing
Sea Kayak
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Other Details

Course cost

Course Cost: $ NZD

You can choose to complete your booking using Credit/Debit Card (via Paypal - PayPal account is not required), or by using your Paypal account. If you would like to make payment by Internet Banking or request an invoice please contact us in advance.

Contact us at
+64 3 329 9076

Other Course Dates

Please contact us for more dates!

Course Timing

8:00am to 6:00pm