New Zealand Mountaineering Course - Detailed Trip Notes


Meeting at the start of your trip
Clothing & equipment
Accommodation during the trip
Aircraft egress costs
Climbing season
Daily trip logistics
Guide to participant ratios
Summary of inclusions & exclusions


Meeting at the start of your trip

Your guide will meet with you at 8.30am on the first day of the trip. We can meet with you at your accomodation or you are welcome to come to our office. The Queenstown Mountain Guides office is located at Unit 403, 875 Frankton Rd in Queenstown.  


Clothing & Equipment

Climbing in the New Zealand mountains requires that you have high quality equipment and clothing due to the extremes of weather we experience. Please ensure you look carefully at our equipment checklist. At the start of the trip your guide will go through your equipment and make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. Please organise to have your extra equipment stored at your accomodation for the duration of the trip.

It is important that you keep as close as possible to the equipment checklist. The focus is on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, but also on keeping your pack as light as possible. If your guide is meeting you at your accomodation for the start of the trip it would be helpful if you have all your equipment and clothing organised and laid out in a logical fashion so they can check that everyone has the right equipment and clothing for the trip.


Accomodation during the trip

In the mountains you will stay in mountains huts. These dormitory style huts are cosy and provide good shelter form the elements, they are all located in spectacular locations, but they are also basic. The huts have water, cooking facilities, a mountain radio, and a bunk area with individual mattresses. There are no showers or electrical sockets for recharging.

On some trips to remote areas we use expedition style tent camps. If this is your preferred option please let us know.

For overnights in Mt Cook village & Fox Glacier we will stay in the New Zealand Alpine Club huts. These dormitory style huts have shared bathroom facilities.

Accomodation in Queenstown  before or after the trip is not included in trip costs. To organise accomodation before and after the course we recommend here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget.


Aircraft egress costs

The flight into the mountains is included in the trip costs. The cost of the flight out is not included in the trip cost. Our goal is to minimise the cost of aircraft egress costs by combining flights with other climbing and skiing parties when possible. By doing this it makes aircraft egress costs cheaper for you. The cost of aircraft egress will depend on the location of the trip. The most suitable aircraft on the days depends on the snow and weather conditions.

Location Spaces   Flight out cost
Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers Helicopter 3+ gear   $270 (lower glacier hut)
Plateau Hut Helicopter 5+ gear   $846
  Ski plane  3+ gear   $276
Tasman Glacier   Helicopter 5+ gear    $846 (lower glacier)
   Ski plane 3+ gear    $368 (lower glacier)
 Mt Aspiring region  Walk out    Walk out


Climbing Season

Queenstown Mountain Guides operate climbing trips and mountaineering expeditions all year round. The main climbing season is from November through until the end of April. In November and December we have heavy snow cover on the routes and glaciers.This time of year is more suited to snow and ice climbing. In January and February we generally experience warmer temperatures and settled weather. At this time of year we still have a lot of snow cover on the mountains and glaciers but the rock routes are free from snow and ice.  From late March onwards the temperatures begin to cool off as the days become shorter and we have occasional snowfalls to lower elevations in the Southern Alps.


Daily Trip Logistics

Every day in the mountains is different with changing weather, snowpack, and access conditions. When you book your trip with Queenstown Mountain Guides we will discuss your goals for the trip and the general plan. When you meet with your guide on the first morning of your trip your guide will discuss with you the weather forecast and current conditions and make a final plan for the trip. It is best to be flexible so we can ensure that you will make the most of your time with us.

At the start of the trip we will fly into the mountains at the first possible opportunity.

Each day in the mountains will typically start at 7.00am. On some days for example a serious alpine climbing objective you may be required to start climbing by as early as 2.00am to make the most of the safe frozen early morning conditions and quick glacier travel.

On any poor weather days it is possible to learn skills inside the hut - for example cliff and crevasse rescue, navigation, weather theory, avalanche awareness.

On the final day of the trip we will aim to have you back in Queenstown by approximately 5.00pm.


Guide to participant ratios

The maximum guide to participant ratio that we operate at is 1 guide to 4 participants. For groups larger than 4 participants extra guides are needed.
For climbing serious alpine routes (grade 3 or more e.g. Mt Cook & Mt Tasman) we only guide at a 1:1 ratio.

For groups of 2 or more your guide can teach your team to operate as an individual climbing team i.e of conditions are right you will get to experience lead climbing with your guide climbing next to you helping.


Summary of inclusions & exclusions

The price of the course includes

  • Guide fees
  • Aircraft access fees
  • Technical equipment hire
  • Hut fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Ground transport
  • Group equipment

The price of the program excludes

  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Aircraft egress fees
  • Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka