Advanced Mountaineering Course

The Advanced Mountaineering Course is designed for those with intermediate level mountaineering experience (eg. those who have completed our Beginner/Intermediate Mountaineering Course or have equivalent experience) who want to advance their skills and knowledge to the next level. You get the chance to attempt a 3000 metre (up to Grade 3) peak.

The aim of the Advanced Course is to provide participants with more advanced training in technical mountaineering skills and learn more about planning and undertaking your own trips. This course also provides an excellent preparation for those planning to further develop their skills and experience before undertaking a guided ascent on our Guided Ascent Program.

The course is normally held at Plateau (this may change if conditions dictate). This area is ideal due to its reliability for excellent snow and ice conditions and variety of 3000-metre peaks to climb.

Advanced Mountaineering Course Overview

The course is 6 days duration, commencing at Plateau hut (2200m), the closest hut to Mt Cook (3717m). Depending on weather and snow/ice conditions, the course may also be situated at Kelman hut.

The course is run only for individuals or private groups. The advantage of booking a private course (for yourself or with a group of people you know of similar fitness and skill level) is that you are less likely to be held back by people in your group who are unfit or otherwise unsuited to the course. This ensures that you can maximise your experience and enjoyment and chances of achieving your goals.

The aim of the Advanced Course is to progress your skills, ability and experience to a higher level suited to more technically challenging climbing. You will have the opportunity to plan and lead climbs under the supervision and guidance of your guide.  At the completion of the course, you will have developed skills to safely climb on steep icy terrain using crampons, lead single and multi-pitch climbs on ice and mixed terrain, and plan and undertake a supervised intermediate level summit like Mt Dixon (3019m) or Elie de Beaumont (3117m)

Course Details

The 6-day course will cover the following:

  • Safe glacier travel – safe navigation in more challenging conditions eg. crevasses, steep ice and mixed terrain;
  • Climbing at altitude  – health and safety considerations, overview of high altitude issues, acclimatisation regimes etc;
  • Advanced rope skills – roping up for glacier travel, short roping, belaying for lead climbing.
  • Introduction to lead climbing on rock and ice;
  • Training ascent (practising what you have learned), plan and climb a 3000-metre peak at your level under supervision of your Guide.

Fitness prerequisites: A very high level of fitness is required in order to undertake the course, ability to jog 10 km within an hour and easily hike to a 400-metre increase in elevation (eg. from sea level to 400 metres in altitude) with a 12 kg pack within an hour.

Previous experience:

  • Completed our Beginner/Intermediate Mountain Climbing Course or have equivalent basic level mountaineering experience (eg. you can walk confidently on crampons, use an ice axe, self-arrest, basic rope skills for glacier travel, rock climbing, abseiling and belaying experience).
  • Ability to walk in exposed conditions without fear of heights or problems with vertigo (dizziness) or other balance issues.

Minimum number of participants to run course: Course can be booked privately for one person and for a group of up to two participants per guide.

Course dates: Our courses are run on demand from October to April, please contact us if you would like more information or to book a course.

Bad weather itinerary: In the event of bad weather (or any other unforseen events) that requires a change of course location, additional costs (eg. transport) may be incurred. Any alteration to the schedule and/or costs will be  discussed with participants before being finalised.

 Course Details:  6 Day courses can be booked throughout October-April. Contact us to book a date that suits you.

Advanced Course Costs

Course prices: prices in NZD for a 6-day course (note: course duration can be flexible ie. more or fewer days)

  • $2500 for 2pp
  • $4800 for 1pp

Included In Fee

  • All Guides fees & expenses
  • Return transport to course location from Lake Tekapo
  • Hut fees (bed)
  • Hire of technical gear (harness, crampons, helmet  and ice axe)
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks

Not Included In Fee:

  • Accommodation/flights before & after course
  • Personal clothing/equipment (we can give you a list of recommended items to bring)
  • Mountaineering boots (bring your own or we will assist you to buy a pair whole through our company at the start of the course)
  • Helicopter access

Accommodation: During the course we will be staying at the Plateau or Kelman hut. Your fee covers overnight stay in bunk style dormitory.


Day one Meet at 8am at Lake Tekapo for introductions, trip briefing and gear check. From there we Travel to Mount Cook airport and fly up to Plateau hut. After settling in and coffee break & briefing, we commence ice climbing instruction at nearby ice walls.

Day two  After breakfast, return to ice climbing training area to revise skills. After lunch, climb Anzacs Peak via the standard route. The climb involves pitching and belaying on  moderate mixed terrain, providing a good opportunity to practise lead climbing.

Day three In the morning we continue to practise skills, the group decides what they want to practise eg. crevasse extraction, ice/mixed terrain climbing. After lunch, return to the hut to plan the next day’s ascent and prepare gear and equipment for an early alpine start.

Day four In the morning we continue to practise skills, you decide what you want to practise eg. crevasse extraction, ice/mixed terrain climbing. After lunch, return to the hut to plan the next day’s ascent and prepare gear and equipment for an early alpine start.

Day five and six Early apine start to climb Mt Dixon (3019m), a technically challenging Grade 2 multi pitch summit. Depending on the route climbed (ie. difficulty and length), the climbing time from leaving the hut and return is approximately 10 hours. Note: standard itinerary above may vary according to weather and snow/ice conditions and client ability.

Travel to Lake Tekapo.

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