An intensive course for people who want to go beyond the basic skills of mountaineering and get into more serious alpine terrain. An ideal refresher for those who already have basic snow craft skills. Provides a thorough grounding in all technical alpine skills.
Our private Caroline Hut provides an ideal base for practising the technical skills of mountaineering, and improving your confidence and competence to climb safely in the mountains. Good snow, ice and rock sites are within easy reach from the hut on the Ball Ridge, opposite the mighty Caroline Face of Aoraki Mount Cook.
6 day courses are scheduled from November - April and include an ascent of Turner Peak, 2341m/7680 ft., and the option of crossing Ball Pass on the last day.
"Great teaching by Gavin, he not only helped me gain knowledge of mountaineering, but he also taught me to trust my own judgement and think independently when climbing. Thanks to this great start to mountaineering, i am now pursuing it in Canberra, and wish to come back at the end of the year to do the advanced course, and if I've gained enough knowledge and experience attempt Mount Cook. In my case this was my first real taste of mountaineering, and i like the fact that you lend us equipment so that i can make an informed decision when purchsing equipment later, as i have first hand experience. I chose your company because it has a good reputation." - E. Gargiulo, Australia, January 2013. 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.
COMBINED COURSE SPECIAL - Combine your Intermediate Course with an Advanced Course for 12 days in our Southern Alps and pay only NZ$4620 per person.
|2013-14 Season: Price per person in NZ$ (valid 1 May 2013 - 30 April 2014)|
|5% returning client discount, if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Discounts for group bookings|
|3-5 (book a minimum of 3 persons to qualify)||2080|
|6-8 (book a minimum of 6 persons to qualify)||1975|
|Combined Course discount|
|Intermediate + Advanced Course (12 days in total)||4620|
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 climbing 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.
Technical skills alone do not make a mountaineer. Good judgement and decision-making in the mountains only come after many alpine trips spent in varying conditions. These courses can only provide you with building blocks on which to base your further experience.
The course will be tailored according to the needs of participants and according to the weather, snow and ice conditions at the time. In November-December when there is still lots of snow cover, crevasses will be filled in and there will be very little exposed ice or rock. January-April, when snow has melted back, good alpine rock and ice climbing is more readily available. For climbers who already have considerable rock experience the focus will be on snow and ice skills.
Ascent options: Kaitiaki Peak 2222m/7290ft, Turner Peak 2341m/7680 ft.
Bad weather options: Caroline Hut makes a good classroom as it is warm and cosy 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.
Preferable (but not essential):
If you are after a mountain experience course and are not necessarily intending to become a serious alpine climber, we recommend the Introductory Climbing Course.
This course is flexible and may be altered to avoid bad weather, eg. rock climbing at good South Canterbury rock venues may be offered.
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.
After reaching the hut there may still be time to practise some knots.
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. You can be lowered into a crevasse and climb out again, practising steep ice climbing with front-pointing. Weather assessment will become second-nature. For climbers who already have considerable rock experience the focus will be on snow and ice skills.
When your guide thinks you are ready for it, you will climb Turner Peak - a good test of your technical 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. Those electing to continue with an Advanced Course can stay overnight at Unwin Hut (NZAC) at Mt. Cook (own cost), or return with the guide to Tekapo.
Add our Advanced Climbing Programme (ADC) to extend yourself with more technical climbing. Our 1:2 guide-client ratio on these courses allows you to include a climb of a 3000m peak as part of the programme. Combine the IMC with the ADC to give you 12 days in our Southern Alps, qualifying you for the special combination price, NZ$4400 per person for the two courses.
Trampers, hikers, bushwalkers, trekkers, hunters, rock climbers, adventurers, mountaineers and athletes who want to:
Want to get serious?
Start straight into our 6 day Intermediate Course to get a thorough grounding in the basics and prepare for technical ascents, then follow it up with our Advanced Course (ADC). Our 1:2 guide-client ratio on the ADC allows you to include a climb of a 3000m peak as part of the programme.
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. IMC 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.