7-Day Alpine course
7-day mountain skills course based in Arthurs Pass National Park.
A 7-day* avalanche & alpine rope skills course. This course is the next step for people who already have some experience using crampons and ice axes. On this course, you will gain the skills and confidence to climb independently in the mountains using ropes and avalanche assessment skills. Delivered by our highly skilled local guides, you will learn all the essential skills required to get out there and climb classic winter mountaineering routes in New Zealand and overseas.
From our base lodge in Arthurs Pass, we have access to some of the best peaks and climbing terrain in Arthurs Pass National Park including Mt Temple, Mt Phipps, and Mt Cassidy.
*This course starts the evening before in Arthurs Pass Village (transport & accommodation included).
Before attending this course, you must be competent walking in crampons, using an ice axe and have the ability to self-arrest.
Please get in contact with us before booking if you believe you have the prerequisite skills but haven’t attended any formal training.
MOUNTAIN SKILLS 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.
MOUNTAIN SKILLS COURSE ACCOMMODATION
**All your accommodation is included in this mountaineering course**
Arthurs Pass Lodge
The first night 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
On the 2nd 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, snow caving or snow camping
One night may be spent out in a snow cave, Snow camping or a very basic alpine hut.
This is a catered mountaineering course, 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.
Note: Dinner on day one and breakfast on day two are not provided.
If you’re staying in a hotel
Free transport is available from any Christchurch accommodation if you’re 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?
Alpine courses run from June to November. visit our Course Calendar for scheduled course dates. Custom courses can be created on alternative dates by request.
* This is the early bird booking price, standard rates available on the course calendar.
What’s Included in this mountain skills course?
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
- Flat foot technique
- mixed technique
- down climbing
- Holding an ice axe
- Two axe climbing techniques
- Step cutting
- Scrambling (un-roped travel)
- Roped ridge travel
- Climbing steep snow/ice
- 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
- Simple and complex hall 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 the minimum 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