Ice Climbing Course

SKILLS TAUGHT

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  • Rope handling skills applicable to ice climbing
  • Good anchor placement and belay systems
  • Modern ice climbing techniques with ice tools and crampons
  • Advanced ice craft and mixed techniques
  • Multi pitch climbing
  • Lead climbing
  • Route selection
  • Good decision making
  • Basic avalanche awareness and rescue technique

 

Factors such as weather and climbing conditions may at times dictate that not all topics are covered in full.

This course is designed to help you navigate your way towards safe and successful climbing practices on steeper ground. At the end of the course you will have the skills to begin your own ice climbing career in New Zealand and other ice regions around the world.

THE WAY THE COURSE OPERATES

We spend as much time as possible climbing ice routes at your level while you are developing skills. Initially we concentrate on developing and reinforcing skills in a contained environment and then we move on to more challenging routes during the course

The emphasis of the course will be on empowering you with the latest techniques with an emphasis on safe climbing practices. During the course your guides will progressively introduce you to a wider range of skills and techniques to enable you to develop at your own pace and confidence levels.

Weather plays a major factor in any mountain experience and the New Zealand’s Southern Alps get their share. We intend to run the course according to schedule, however, while we are rarely impacted by weather in Wye Creek, we may have to adjust the schedule during an extreme weather event.

COURSE OUTLINE

The course begins at 8.30 am on day one at the Heliworks Hangar, Queenstown Airport, Tex Smith Lane, Queenstown. Following introductions, your guide will present the course syllabus outlining how the week will operate.

We discuss, then organise our personal and group equipment (bring all your gear with you, including those items you are not sure whether to include or not).  Equipment pertinent to the course will be discussed and you can get all the advice you need concerning equipment from the guides.  Rental equipment will be fitted at this time and final purchases can be made.

We then load up the helicopter for our flight into the Remarkables Range, directly to the ice climbing area. Leaving our gear in the Base Camp tent, we’re off climbing!

Each day we leave the camp after a leisurely breakfast and climb until dusk. A short warm-up hike takes us directly to the climbing. We visit several ice ‘crags’ during the course for a variety of routes and conditions. You will be climbing several routes each day and will generally be sufficiently tired by the end of the day to be thankful for a rest!

Initially you will be climbing on low-angled routes while you develop confidence and technique. As you progress, the steepness of the terrain you climb on will increase at a rate that suits your comfort levels.

Because the climbing is strenuous it is advised to pace yourself during the week so you can really give it your best on the last day when you are really firing!

On Friday we plan to walk back to our vehicles in a five hour walk to the road-end, followed by a short drive into Queenstown. Alternatively the course members can opt to fly out by helicopter at additional cost (weather permitting). The course will be finished by 5pm on Friday.

 

Photos

Leaning to lead climb on an AC ice climbing course at Wye Creek, Queenstown © Oliver Hirschau

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