Polar Training Course - NZ




We operate the scheduled Polar Training Course in the Pisa Mountain Range or the Old Man Mountain Range close to our base here in Wanaka, New Zealand, during the months of July and August.


Please be aware that factors such as weather and snow conditions can affect the venue and time we spend in the mountains. The course will commence and finish at our Wanaka office. 

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On our Private Polar Training, we can programme a course similar to our scheduled one that would still operate either in the Pisa or Old Man ranges. Alternatively, in the higher glaciated mountain regions, we can specifically focus on glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques along with operating in the later months of spring – Sept/Oct/Nov. On this Tasman Glacier option, we can undertake journeys through the high alpine glaciers in the Aoraki Mount Cook region for the most dramatic environmental conditions using helicopters or ski planes to give us quick access to the snow line. These journeys will require the additional use of ice axe and crampons on the steeper slopes that you will encounter along the way. Full training will be given in these techniques as well as rope work specific to this type of terrain.



Our objective is to pass on the skills to enable you to partake in a polar expedition.

  • Good planning and preparation skills
  • Basic mountain/polar awareness
  • Sound judgement of your own ability
  • Good decision making


We endeavour to cover the following skills during the course, however, factors such as weather and conditions may dictate that some skills are not covered in full.

  • Planning and preparation
  • Equipment requirements
  • Route finding and navigation
  • Navigating crevassed terrain
  • First aid and health management
  • Erecting tents and snow walls
  • Camp management
  • Glacier travel and self-rescue skills
  • Weather analysis

Participants on Private Polar Training may decide to focus primarily on one or two aspects of training so you can increase your skill set in that area.



Our scheduled Polar Training Course is designed to introduce you to polar specific techniques and knowledge to get you started as polar travel adventurer. There is a huge amount of information and learning required to operate safely in these environments as conditions can be so harsh that a minor period of inattention can lead to disastrous consequences. Generally, someone coming through our Polar Training Course would use this as preparation for expeditions such as our Greenland Crossing, or North or South Pole Last Degree Expeditions.


Should you aspire to partake in self-sufficient polar journeys your level of training would need to be a lot more intensive. In that case, we recommend you partake in a longer duration course that we can custom make to suit your requirements and timeframe. Private Polar Training can be tailored to run anywhere from 4 to 14 days or we can arrange a longer duration course on request. Another option is to complete our scheduled Polar Training Course then do some Private Polar Training as an add-on afterwards.

If you come to us as a group we can schedule a programme to suit your needs. In some cases, this can be done just prior to departure on the expedition so you become completely immersed in the environment with a seamless transition from training to the event itself.

No matter what training you receive from us, we strongly advise a progression towards the longer duration and more serious expeditions through a progression of ever more difficult trips. Following your training with us we’d suggest you move on to a trip like our Greenland Crossing or Last Degree Expeditions, so you can put your skills into practice under the supervision of an expert who can help you further develop your skills by having you partake in some of the leadership of the expedition.


We start the course by introducing the basics of polar clothing and equipment, what each item is, how it functions and what to do when it wears out or breaks! Being a good fix-it person really helps when you are thousands of kilometres from the closest store! You will learn what foods to take and how to pack your sled. We spend the remainder of the day learning skills such as navigation, use of stoves, tents, sleeping systems and you’ll get many other vital pieces of advice that you will need in your quiver of knowledge such as how to avoid frostbite and how to deal with it if you come across it. You’ll have the night free staying at accommodation in Wanaka to take it all in and prepare yourself for the upcoming days ahead.

The next morning we’re off to the snow to get the skis on and begin a journey into the wilderness. You’ll travel to a good location to set up camp for the night. It takes some time to get to know how best to establish camp and get ready for the night ahead. Factors such as wind direction and strength need to be considered and it’s really important to manage your equipment well. Leaving something on the ground will likely lead to it being lost when it gets covered in snow overnight!

Each day your journey will take you to a new location where you will need to become proficient at setting camp and being totally dialled with your gear. Along the way, as you travel you will be consolidating skills such as the all-crucial navigation while you crank out the miles dragging your sled behind you.

On the final day of the course you will return to base and after sorting out the gear, have a good debrief and discussion about where to go from here and develop a training program to help get you ready for your upcoming Polar Journey!

The curriculum for Private Polar Training may include the above and move on to focus in greater detail on the skills required for independent polar travel.


 Day 1 of the course begins at 9.00 am at our office, in the Wanaka town centre at 20 Brownston Street. Please arrive just on 9.00am as the guides will be preparing prior to that time. You will need to arrive in town the night prior to the course commencing. Please give us a call to confirm your arrival in town.

 We moved into our new premises in January 2013.  We are walking distance to the shores of Lake Wanaka and now have amazing views of the surrounding mountains that we love to play in. The new building is a nicely renovated house with  space for groups to get ready, a classroom, a dedicated kitchen and an area for packing expedition gear for freighting to the far corners of the earth.  We've also expanded our lobby with added retail space.  There are ten work stations in the office with a nice outdoor deck and shade cloth for the Friday afternoon g and t's! 
You will find some of New Zealand’s best ski resorts in the Wanaka region from as close as a 30-minute drive from our office. Three ski resorts and a cross country area provide plentiful winter activity and all year round fishing, boating and numerous other recreational activities abound.





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