The following Frequently Asked Questions answers serve as a helpful guideline for the Adventure Consultants New Zealand Guided Ascents and Courses. Please feel free to call or e-mail if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!
How long have Adventure Consultants been in operation?
Adventure Consultants commenced operations in 1990 and has been guiding internationally ever since. The full story of the company thus spans over 25 years and can be read in depth on the AC history page. The New Zealand guiding operation for Adventure Consultants under CEO Guy Cotter’s leadership was established after 1996 and quickly propelled AC to become New Zealand’s largest guiding operation within a few years.
A few outfitters ‘claim’ to have the same level of experience and prestige with that of Adventure Consultants. In this league, what makes you the first choice for your climbers?
As a New Zealand company leading clients to the summit of Mount Everest we are renowned for our expertise at high altitude and the expansive logistics that are necessary to be able to be extraordinarily successful guiding in such extreme environments. This ‘top down’ approach is applied to all our planning and processes and we are proud to apply this service and level of detail to each and every trip we operate. We maintain such high standards by focussing on quality and by attracting the best guiding and headquarters administration staff in the business.
What showers and washing (clothes) will be available on the course/ascent?
In the high alpine environment and at our Wye Creek Ice Climbing Base Camp and First Tracks Wanaka Alpine Heli Camp, there are no showers or clothes washing facilities. The alpine huts and AC Base Camps have a small supply of fresh water for a basic wash cloth refresher and/or wet-wipes can be handy for a tidy up during your hut or stay at Wye Creek.
Would you let us know what food will be available?
During your trip or course, we will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks and ample hot and cold drinks to keep you well-nourished and hydrated. We cater for a variety of diets and with the convenience of flying in and out of the mountains; we are able to provide a good variety of fresh goods, protein sources and produce.
What is the food like?
All of our NZ guides are proficient cooks who aim to prepare high-quality popular dishes that are filling and nutritious. Please indicate any special dietary requirements on your application form, so that we can take this into consideration when planning.
What are the NZ Mountain huts like? Can I have my own room?
NZ offers some fantastic huts in amazing locations and most often these provide dormitory style bunk rooms and communal kitchens. Toilets are 'long drops' and many are famous for their views! Expect to share the huts with other like-minded climbers. Read more on our New Zealand Alpine Huts page.
What is the Wye Creek Expedition Camp and First Tracks Alpine Heli Camp like?
These are innovative camps that incorporate two large expedition style tents - one for cooking and relaxing and the other for sleeping. The camps provide a cosy atmosphere to enjoy your morning and evening meals and to relax after a big day of climbing, heli-hiking or ski touring. A separate sleeping tent contains bunks and mattresses for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Do I need to arrive the day before the trip starts? And when should I book my flight to leave?
With an early start on day one (9:00am in summer and 8:30am in winter), we do ask that you arrive at least one day prior to your trip start. This will allow you to get settled in and organized for your week, and also provides some leeway in case of delays or lost baggage. This also means that you start your trip well rested and ready to get into the mountains. You are welcome to arrive several days early or stay for extra nights at the end, and we are happy to assist with accommodation bookings and/or travel advice.
When should I book my ticket?
If you are joining a group course we generally ask you to wait until 60 days prior to your trip start date to ensure your trip has met the minimum numbers and will operate. If you see a good deal and want to book your flights then ensure you can make changes to your tickets or you run the risk of losing your ticket if we do have to cancel the trip.
If you are joining us for a 1:1 course or ascent, or with a group of friends then you are welcome to book your tickets as soon as you wish.
Can I get a cheap ticket online?
The problem with these tickets is that you usually end up having to pay quite a lot more if you have to make any changes to your ticket; therefore, we highly recommend using a travel agent.
Where do we meet? Will I be picked up?
Our NZ trips start at the Adventure Consultants head office which is located on 20 Brownston Street in Wanaka, which is on the corner of Russell and Brownston Streets. Our summer trips/courses start at 9:00am and winter trips and courses start at 8:30am. We can easily arrange for your guide to come pick you up from your accommodation and your Client Liaison will be happy to assist with booking airport transfers.
What if I am arriving early or departing late?
Adventure Consultants can make reservations for you and can often make recommendations for local attractions you can enjoy while waiting for your trip to begin. Please let our office know your specific plans.
Do you have a recommended list of clothing we should bring?Yes, once your booking form and deposit have been received, we will send you out a specific gear and equipment checklist along with additional equipment notes, which will provide a description, example and recommendations for each item required. You can also find this information on our website under the Trip Notes section of the relevant trip.
Do I really need all the equipment on the equipment list?
Yes, all of the items on the list, except those marked optional, are necessary for mountaineering in New Zealand. Due to the variable weather and conditions in the New Zealand Mountains some of the above items may or may not be utilised on your trip and your guide will discuss this with you during your gear check on arrival.
How warm do we need our sleeping bags to be?
A sleeping bag rated up to 3 season or better (approx -5 degrees Celsius and containing anything from 550gms – 750gms down fill) is ideal for New Zealand summer mountaineering conditions. For winter courses and ascents bring a bag rated as 4 season or 700g+ down fill (approx. -5 to -10 degrees Celsius).
We suggest buying a sleeping bag big enough to allow you to wear some clothes in if it is especially cold. Sleeping in a warm hat can greatly improve a bag's warmth.
What first aid supplies will be available on the trip?
All our guides carry a full first aid kit to deal with any medical emergency on the trip. You need to bring any medications you regularly use (don’t forget to tell us about them) plus some extra. Also, bring a small first aid kit including a blister kit and mild pain relief medication.
How many guides will be assigned to our group?
You will find the trip ratio on the AC website on the specific page of your course or ascent and detailed in the Trip Notes. Generally, our group scheduled courses are guided at a maximum ratio of 1:4, whereas guided ascents are at a 1:1 ratio. Depending on your experience and objectives Private Instruction Courses operate at a ratio of between 1:1 and 1:4, and Ascents Weeks at 1:1 or 1:2.
How much weight will we carry?
Once we arrive at our alpine hut base we will be able to leave most of our gear at the hut and only carry what is required for each day. This is all course/ascent dependent, but you will need to be able to carry a day pack with warm clothes, water, snacks, sun block, camera and whatever else you need for the day plus a share of group climbing equipment. Generally, it will be a medium weight of approximately 5 to 10kgs (10 to 20 pounds). You need to be prepared to carry a full pack of about 20kg for trips and/or courses that finish with a walk out of the mountains, and for advanced trips and/or courses such as our Alpine Expedition Course, where hut to hut traverses may be possible as well as overnights outside of the alpine huts.
Who goes on your trips?
Our climbers and ski tourers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, countries and skill levels.We provide courses, expeditions, treks and guided ascents for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts, from those seeking skill development to those looking for assistance in reaching the world's highest mountains. We love what we do and we look forward to assisting you with whatever mountain adventure you’re dreaming up.
What kind of physical condition should I be in for my trip or course?
We encourage you to work on your fitness prior to your course/ascent. When training, it is recommended you carry a pack for long periods on hills and uneven terrain. Over time, increase the pack weight until you are comfortable with 15-20kgs. Gym training, swimming, running and cycling also add to your base fitness and are a great addition to a pack training program.
Arriving fit and prepared for your trip is an essential key to a successful and enjoyable time. Here at Adventure Consultants, we have partnered with the experts at Uphill Athlete to create scientifically sound training plans designed by two professional coaches and leading mountaineers. Together we provide a range of training programs designed specifically for mountaineering, as well as one on one online coaching options. Check out our programs at Training Peaks or see our Fitness Training Programs page for more information.
Will there be any access to a satellite phone? If yes then what would be the charges for usage?
Yes, our guides take satellite phones on our NZ ascents/courses and you are welcome to use these at a cost of US$4 per minute. In some huts and camps, you will be able to get cell phone coverage, but please do not depend on this.
I want to contact my friend or relative, who is on one of your trips, how can I reach them?
The best place to reach a loved one is through our office, as we can pass on messages when the guide calls in with updates.
Will there be any power source for charging batteries, etc. available throughout the course/ascent? What voltage requirements?
We highly recommend fully charging your phones and cameras before heading into the New Zealand Mountains. Once at the huts and camps, there are no charging facilities. We recommend that you bring a camera that uses standard batteries and it’s a good idea to bring some spare batteries as a backup.
What weather report service do you use?
On the days leading up to your trip, your guide will be looking closely at the weather and we utilise a variety of websites as well as being lucky enough to receive updates from landowners, the Department of Conservation and others already in the mountains. Once in the mountains, your guide will contact our office on a regular basis via satphone to receive weather updates and any changes to the perceived weather pattern for the week.
What insurance do I need to get?
We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation insurance and travel insurance to protect yourself in case of injury, mishap or cancellation prior to/or whilst on our trips. The New Zealand Alpine Club offers insurance options for Australian and New Zealand residents, and your client liaison will send you more details on this option.
While our number one focus is on safety and our track record supports this, the mountains do have hazards and there is always the potential for mishap.
Who do you recommend for insurance?
Coverage varies based on your nationality and the trip that you are taking with us. When you have booked on for a trip with us we will send you information on various insurance options which will serve as a good starting point for obtaining the best coverage available for yourself.
What is Trip Cancellation Insurance?
Trip cancellation insurance is an option that may allow you to cancel your trip without losing the total cost of the trip. Adventure Consultants highly recommends cancellation insurance for all of our trips and courses. If circumstances cause us to cancel a trip, then we will refund your fees paid. However, if you have to cancel your trip at the last minute trip cancellation insurance will cover your airfare and any other costs you may have incurred in the lead up to your trip.
Can I pay by credit card?
Yes we have a secure online credit card payment service using Payment Express. A 3% credit card payment service fee is added to all transactions. We also accept payment by bank wire transfer.
What is included in the cost of my trip? Does it include airfare?
Each specific trip page on the website has a section and a downloadable pdf Trip Notes document with exactly what is and what is not included in the trip. International airfares are not included in the trip price however, we recommend excellent travel agents should you require help with arranging your international airfare.
Why are you sometimes more expensive than other operators?
We are proud to be leaders in the industry offering a variety of courses, trips, treks, and expeditions worldwide. We base our prices on the high level of operation and services we provide throughout the entire trip experience with us. Some of the things that set us apart are our internationally qualified guides, many of whom are world renowned. Our partnerships with proven dependable local operators, our small group sizes which provide for safe client to guide ratios, high-quality equipment, and extensive pre-trip support, plus all those extra services along the way that help to make your experience with us extraordinary.
How do I sign up for a trip?
The best way to reserve your space on a trip is to call our offices or complete our online booking form. Return this with the trip deposit either through a bank wire transfer (information is in our trip notes downloaded from the specific trip page) or by using our secure credit card payment page. Phone our New Zealand head office on +643 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30pm PST + 19 hours) or Freephone 1-866-757-8722 from North America.
I love the photographs in your brochure and on your website, are they for sale?
Yes, our images are available for licensing or purchase.
I want to become a mountain guide, where do I start?
Those with limited experience generally start by taking an alpine climbing course and then go out and climb for a few years. You generally should have at least 5 years of climbing and/or teaching/guiding experience. You need avalanche and medical training and then you can apply to do a NZ Mountain Guides Course or the equivalent in your country, aligned with the IFMGA. Check the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association web pages for a complete description.