An introduction to alpine terrain and mountaineering, for people wanting to venture beyond tramping tracks and above the snowline. Covers the basics of snow craft and mountaineering.
Based at our privately owned Caroline Hut located straight opposite the mighty Caroline Face of Aoraki Mount Cook, this course will teach you not only the technical skills of mountaineering, but more importantly, raise your risk awareness, and improve your ability to keep safe in the mountains.
Summer courses are scheduled for 4 days, but on request we will also run a 5-day course. The course includes a climb of Kaitiaki Peak, 2222m/7290ft, and the option of crossing Ball Pass on the last day.
Winter courses (July - October) are 4 days and offered on demand. In winter emphasis is on snow skills, snow shelter building, navigation and avalanche awareness. Winter courses do not cross Ball Pass.
"For an introduction to climbing in the mountains, there wouldn't be a better facility in NZ." - P. Chapman, Dunedin. More client comments.
2-4 participants per guide, up to 8 with 2 guides.
Individual bookings welcome. If you end up being the only person on a trip you will have the option of changing to another date or a full refund.
|2013-14 Season: Price per person in NZ$ (valid 1 May 2013 - 30 April 2014)|
|5% returning client discount, if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Participants||4 days||5 days|
|Discounts for group bookings|
|3-5 (book a minimum of 3 persons to qualify)||1495||1795|
|6-8 (book a minimum of 6 persons to qualify)||1415||1700|
Please note that on public holidays there will be a surcharge of NZ$90 per person per day.
New Zealand public holidays 2013: New Year 1/1 & 2/1, Waitangi Day 6/2, Good Friday 29/3, Easter Monday 1/4, Anzac Day 25/4, Labour Day 28/10, Christmas Day 25/12, Boxing Day 26/12.
New Zealand public holidays 2014: New Year 1/1 & 2/1, Waitangi Day 6/2, Good Friday 18/4, Easter Monday 21/4, Anzac Day 25/4, Labour Day 27/10, Christmas Day 25/12, Boxing Day 26/12.
Included: guide, hut accommodation, all food & transport ex Lake Tekapo, all equipment including crampons, ice axe, helmet and boots, National Parks concession fees, 15% GST.
Optional climbing manual covering course material is available for purchase for NZ$20 before/after the course. A letter certifying course completion is available on request.
Meals and accommodation before/after tour are NOT included.
Caroline Hut is the only guide/operator-owned mountain hut in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and is available for the exclusive use of Alpine Recreation parties. It provides a high standard facility for professional instruction.
No aircraft required: The hut can be reached in 4-6 hours' walking from the road end and is located at 1800m, so right up on the mountain, with no time wasted relocating from one venue to another.
Private facilities: As we are not using public huts there is no risk of overcrowding, facilities are clean and hygenic and you have a guaranteed bunk. Camping consumes a lot of time, so by overnighting at a hut you can get underway faster in the mornings and spend more time learning skills.
Comprehensive climbing equipment and instruction aids at the hut enhance the quality of instruction. This includes a solar-powered laptop which can be used to complement field instruction.
Fully equipped with firewood, gas, solar lighting, satellite phone, Department of Conservation radio, sleeping bags and non-perishable food. A wood-fired stove means there are good heating and drying facilities.
This course is sufficient to teach the basic skills of mountaineering. However, technical skills alone do not make a good mountaineer. This is why the course places emphasis on developing your abilities to anticipate potential hazards, to identify areas of risk and how to minimise them - essential first skills of mountaineering.
For climbers who already have considerable rock experience the focus will be on snow and ice skills.
Instruction topics include:
Optional topics include:
Ascent options: Kaitiaki Peak 2222m/7290ft.
Bad weather: Caroline Hut makes a good classroom as it is warm and cozy and well equipped with instruction material - there is still much that can be covered on a hut day and your guide will keep you busy. The optional topics listed above can be covered on a bad weather day either near or in the hut. If the weather is fine the whole time, then you'll be out in the field, and there may not be time on the 4-day course to cover all the optional topics.
Rock climbing experience is an advantage, but is not essential. You do not need prior mountaineering experience.
8am gear check at our office, 30 Murray Place, Lake Tekapo. Any items of equipment that you have been unable to provide yourself will be provided free-of-charge. Good leather climbing boots are available if you do not have your own. All technical mountaineering equipment is provided (helmets, harnesses, slings, carabiners, rope etc.) but you are welcome to bring your own if you have them.
Drive to Mount Cook (about 1 hour), transfer to 4WD vehicle and drive as far as possible up the old Ball Hut Road, parallel to the Tasman Glacier. The effects of glacial recession are very evident as we hike beside the lateral moraine. From the Ball Shelter site you climb 850m/2800ft up the Ball Ridge to Caroline Hut at 1800m/6000ft, perched right opposite New Zealand's highest ice face, the Caroline Face of Mount Cook.
As the hut is fully stocked we only need to carry some fresh items of food (e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat) and our personal clothing and equipment. No need to carry sleeping bags.
After reaching the hut there may still be time to practise some knots.
DAYS 2 & 3:
Snow and ice instruction on the Ball Glacier or near Ball Pass. For rock climbing and abseiling practice there is good quality sandstone on Ball Ridge near Caroline Hut.
Practise various kinds of belays and anchors, and how to select a good route. Good cramponing techniques are emphasized, likewise knowing different methods of self-arresting and choosing the right methods for the conditions. Weather assessment will be covered. For climbers who already have considerable rock experience the focus will be on snow and ice skills.
You have the choice of testing your skills by crossing Ball Pass, or receiving more instruction before returning to Mount Cook village via the Tasman Valley. Return to Lake Tekapo, arriving at 6-7pm.
Trampers, hikers, bushwalkers, trekkers, hunters, rock climbers, adventurers who want to:
Want to get serious?
Why go with Alpine Recreation?
Alpine Recreation provides all mountaineering equipment, including boots. Outdoor clothing and packs can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary. IDC Clothing & Equipment list.
Accommodation pre-/post- tour:
As our equipment check takes place at 8am on the morning of departure, you need to book accommodation in Tekapo the night before. After the tour, it is recommended to overnight in Tekapo again, or in Mount Cook. Accommodation options in Tekapo.
In case of accident New Zealand's Accident Compensation scheme (ACC) will cover the majority of costs (about 80%) involved with evacuation and injury treatment, even for visitors to New Zealand. However you still need ordinary travel insurance to cover such things as your cancellation if an injury prevents you taking part on the trip, or a close relative suddenly becomes ill; and medical insurance in case you become ill. More information re Accident Compensation. The New Zealand Alpine Club provides a good mountaineering specific travel insurance.
How green are we?
Alpine Recreation reduces its carbon footprint and environmental impact through such things as:
- restricting group size
- using fuel efficient vehicles
- minimising use of vehicles and aircraft
- recycling, re-using, composting, avoiding "consumerism"
- minimal impact huts
- bulk buying of food supplies
- promoting conservation of native flora and fauna
- supporting community efforts to encourage appreciation of the natural environment
For details please refer to our Environmental Care Action.