9 Day Alpine course
-day mountaineering course based in Arthurs Pass National Park.
On this comprehensive 9-day course, you will learn everything from putting on crampons and walking on the snow to avalanche and crevasse rescue. This course combines our 4-day intro to alpine & avalanche skills and 6-day alpine rope skills course.
Delivered by our highly skilled local guides, you will learn all the essential skills required to get out there and climb independently in the mountains.
From our base lodge, we have access to some of the best peaks and climbing terrain in Arthurs Pass National Park & Craigieburn Forest Park. Some of the well-known mountains include Mt Temple, Mt Phipps, and Mt Cassidy, Hamilton peak & Mt Cheeseman.
*Prior experience is not necessary, this course covers everything that you need to know all wrapped up in one package.
MOUNTAINEERING COURSE LOCATION
This mountaineering course is delivered in Arthurs Pass National Park from Temple Basin lodge (see map). However, New Zealand mountain weather can be fickle so as a backup option sometimes we split the course between Arthurs Pass and The Craigieburn Range (see map). Having flexibility in course location ensures you will get the most of your time with us.
ACCESS TO THE SNOW
It’s a short walk up to the accommodation and training location at Temple Basin. A goods lift will even carry your gear up to the lodge. Our courses do not require “fly-in” access to reach the snow. Our courses are delivered in the mountains, not stuck in a base lodge waiting for a weather window.
*Fly-in access requires good weather as choppers can’t fly in high winds or poor visibility.
**All your accommodation is included in this mountaineering course**
Arthurs Pass Lodge (days 1-4 )
For the first four nights, we will be staying at our Lodge in Arthurs Pass Village. The lodge has bunk beds set up across three bedrooms and can sleep up to 20 people. It has a kitchen stocked with utensils, cookware, fridge, ovens. You’ll also be treated to power, bathroom facilities, hot showers and heating. All you need to bring is your sleeping bag, pillow.
Temple Basin Lodge (days 5-9)
On the 5th day, we walk up to Temple Basin alpine lodge situated high above Arthurs pass village. The lodge is very comfortable with power, flush toilets, a drying room, heaters, bunk rooms, and a large common room and bar.
Basic hut or Snow cave
One night may be spent out in a snow cave or a very basic alpine hut while staying up at Temple Basin.
This course is semi-catered.
Self-catered, you will have access to cooking facilities at our Arthurs Pass lodge. Pub style food is also available in the Village.
The team-up at Temple Basin lodge will look after the catering. You can expect a cooked breakfast, dinner and dessert, all prepared by the onsite chef. A small shop and bar are also available to purchase refreshments and snacks.
If you’re staying in a hotel
Free transport is available from any Christchurch accommodation if your travelling from out of town to attend one of our courses.
Meeting locations (catch a ride with us)
If you are bringing your car and want a lift, please meet us at one of the following locations:
Yaldhurst Mcdonalds 7:00 am (see on google maps)
*Darfield Bakery 7:30 am (see on google maps)
Castle Hill Village 8:30 am (see on google maps)
*Our preferred meeting location is Darfield Bakery.
TRAVELLING FROM OUT OF TOWN?
We recommend that you arrive in Christchurch the day before your course. We have a few hotel & hostel suggestions on our FAQ’s page. Please avoid booking accommodation north or east of the city centre. At the end of the course, we are more than happy to drop you back at your accommodation or directly to the airport. The earliest time we can have you back at the airport is 6 pm.
GEAR & EQUIPMENT
You don’t need your own climbing or mountaineering gear for this course. We have all the specialist gear & equipment available for you to borrow. If you have your own gear, we encourage you to bring it along as it’s better to train with the gear that you will be using in the mountains. A full gear list is available to download at the bottom of this page.
WHEN IS THE NEXT COURSE?
This course runs from June to September each year, visit our Course Calendar for course dates and bookings. If you would like to talk to someone about private training or creating a custom course, get in touch with us today.
* This is the early bird booking price, standard rates available on the course calendar.
This mountaineering course includes
Basic Alpine Skills (day 1& 2)
- Flat foot technique
- mixed technique
- down climbing
- Holding an ice axe
- Two axe climbing techniques
- Steep cutting
Avalanche Skills (days 3 & 4)
Weather & avalanche forecasts
- Introduction to the NZ Backcountry Avalanche Advisory
- Mountain Weather in NZ
- Pre-trip checks
- Wearing a transceiver
- Coarse search techniques
- Fine search techniques
- Pin-point search techniques
Probing & digging
- Spiral Probing technique
- Snow Shoveling techniques
- Team digging
Safe terrain travel
- Identifying avalanche terrain
- Identifying terrain traps
- Introduction to safe travel techniques
- Buddy rescue
- Small party rescue scenarios
- Scrambling (un-roped travel)
- Roped ridge travel
- Climbing steep snow/ice
Advanced alpine skills (days 5-9)
- Snow Stakes
- Vertical placements
- Horizontal placement
- Top clips
- Snow Bollards
- Knots for alpine climbing
- Alpine rock protection & rock anchors
- Snow Anchors & Runners
- Pitching & belaying
- Body Belays
- Stomp belay
- Climbing in 2 & 3 person teams
- Roping up for glacier travel
- Crevasse rescue
- Holding a fall
- 2:1 (simple) haul systems
- 5:1 (complex) haul systems
Snow caving/Emergency shelters
- Snow cave construction
- Emergency shelters
- NZ mountaineering grading systems
- Planning climbing routes/trips
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ON MY COURSE?
We believe that small groups are better for this type of training. So we have a maximum client to instructor ratio of just four clients to one instructor. If there are six clients you will have one guide and one assistant guide, eight clients means there will be two guides and you’ll operate in two smaller groups.
DOES THIS MOUNTAINEERING COURSE HAVE MINIMUM NUMBERS?
Yes, the minimum number for the course to proceed at the advertised price is two clients. We won’t cancel your course if we don’t meet minumum numbers though, instead, we will offer you the following options:
a.) A shorter private course with 1-1 tuition – e.g. with one person we can cover the course content much faster, so far fewer days are needed.
b.) You will be offered to continue with the course as planned and cover the extra cost.
c.) We can transfer you to another date when the course is running again.
Note: In the unlikely event that the course length is shortened due to insufficient numbers. We will provide accommodation for you in Arthurs Pass Village for the full duration of your original booking. ie. any extra time following the course being shortened.
SEE WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY
“Thanks for such a phenomenal week, honestly was a lifetime experience, learned heaps, gained enough confidence to go into the mountains and give stuff a go! Can’t thank you enough.” -Joel Balmer, Christchurch, NZ