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Technical Climbing Course (Advanced)

The Technical Climbing Course is for participants with previous climbing experience. The focus of this course is lead climbing and we aim to climb as many peaks as possible on the course.

Skills taught on the course include fast & light climbing technique & mountaineering skills, and tactics for success on big mountains.

The Technical Climbing Course has a low guide to client ratio with a maximum of 3 clients to one guide. This allows us to climb steeper and more advanced terrain. On the course we will use a combination of guided mountaineering and instruction with you lead climbing under the expert supervision of your guide.

The Technical Climbing Course is based from a helicopter accessed high mountain hut. Likely venues for the course are Pioneer Hut at the head of the Fox Glacier, or Plateau Hut underneath Mt Cook & Mt Tasman.

Technical Climbing Course skills syllabus

  • Modern light & fast climbing technique
  • Tactics for success on big mountains
  • Lead climbing on snow, rock, & ice
  • Placing snow, rock, & ice protection while lead climbing
  • Snow, rock, & ice anchors
  • Use of a climbing rope on snow, ice, rock, and alpine ridge lines
  • Descent techniques including rappelling & down pitching.
  • Decision making and judgment
  • Crevasse Rescue
  • Personal skills (self arresting, crampon & ice axe techniques)

Other related trips

Climb Mt Cook

Climb Mt Aspiring


Sample Itinerary

This is based on a past 7 day Technical Climbing Course

Every day in the mountains is different with constantly changing weather, snowpack, and route conditions. On mountaineering trips it is not possible to stick to fixed itineraries. Each day conditions will assessed & the guide will decide the best plan for the day. In mountaineering the best conditions are in the early morning when the snow & ice is frozen so it is normal to start early every day.

Day 1 

Meet at your accomodation at 8.30am for introductions and a gear check before we drive to Mt Cook village and airport. Once we arrive at the airport we will go through a helicopter safety briefing before flying into Plateau Hut. Once at Plateau Hut we get organised in the hut before having a review of rope work techniques for roping up for glacier travel. We have a review equipment and packing for alpine climbing and organise our packs for a climb the next day. Please note that sometimes because of weather it is not possible to fly into the mountains on the first day, but we will fly in at the first possible time. If we cannot fly in we will make use of the time teaching important rope work skills that will be used while climbing.

Day 2 

Todays objective is a traverse of the Glacier Dome ridge, learning skills while travelling through mountaineering terrain. On our climb we review climbing techniques, snow, ice, and rock anchor building techniques, belaying techniques, placing snow, rock, & ice protection while lead climbing, use of a climbing rope on snow, ice, rock, and alpine ridge lines, and descent techniques including rappelling & down pitching.

Day 3 

An early start, we are awake at 4am and are travelling across the Grand Plateau by 5am towards Anzac Peaks. Its time to put the skills we learned yesterday on Glacier Dome into use. We pitch our way up Anzac Peaks and then descend using a combination of down climbing and rappelling back to the glacier. By 2pm the weather has deteriorated and we head back to Plateau Hut.

Day 4  

We awake to the sound of gale force winds and rain outside the hut. After breakfast we have an indoor lesson on crevasse rescue rope work. This lesson includes self rescue by prussiking out of a crevasse, and 2:1 & 6:1 assisted and unassisted hoist rescue systems.

The weather continues to rage outside for the afternoon. After lunch we continue with rope work skills and then do a theory lesson on decision making, navigation and route finding in the mountains. Depending on your interests we can give theory lessons on navigation, weather in the New Zealand mountains, and avalanche awareness.

Day 5

The weather has cleared and its time to go climbing again. Todays objective is a 5 pitch route on the south east ridge on Mt Dixon. This is an exciting route requiring snow, ice and rock climbing skills to complete. If you are a climbing team of two or three your guide can climb along side you as you lead climb, coaching you on climbing technique, placing protection, and anchor building. A combination of guided mountaineering and instruction will be used while climbing.

Day 6

We awake up at 3am and are travelling towards the base of Mt Dixon's east ridge by 4am. At 5am as it is just starting to get light we are starting up the first pitch of Mt Dixon. Climbing a 3000m peak is a big day and requires fast movement while using the skills you have learned efficiently. The route requires the use of snow and ice climbing techniques. We place runners for protection as we move together along the exposed summit ridge line. Summiting Mt Dixon is the highlight of the trip and from the summit you can see  New Zealand's highest mountains. Your guide will be able to point out future climbing objectives for your next mountaineering trip in New Zealand.

Day 7

This is the last morning in Plateau Hut. Its time to head out of the mountains before the next weather system arrives. At 11am the helicopter arrives and we share a flight out with some other climbers that climbed Mt Cook yesterday. After packing equipment we make the drive back to Queenstown.


Prices are per person and in NZ dollars.


Map 2014

Flight in included


The Technical Climbing Course runs from October to April. Contact us for private bookings.

Experience Required

To participate on our Technical Climbing Course you need to have previous climbing & mountaineering experience. All courses are individually tailored to suit climbers so please contact us to find out if the Technical Climbing Course is suitable for you.

Whats Included

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 course excludes

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

Program Location

The Technical Climbing course is based from a helicopter accessed high mountain hut in the Southern Alps. Locations that we use for our program include Plateau Hut underneath Mt Cook & Mt Tasman, and Pioneer Hut at the head of the Fox Glacier.

Weather and conditions are changeable in the Southern Alps so often it is best for the guide to pick the location with the most favourable weather and conditions for the duration of the trip.

More Information

detailed trip notesequipment listFAQ