The Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Aoraki Mount Cook Guided Ascents.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Aoraki Mount Cook Trip Notes 2022
Adventure Consultants guides are NZMGA and/or IFMGA qualified mountain guides. They are professional mountaineers and operate to the highest industry standards.
Being a great climber alone is not enough to work with us; our standards demand that trip leaders are great guides as well. You will find your guide friendly, approachable and focused on providing a safe and enjoyable trip in line with your objectives and comfort level.
Success with the highest margin of care is always a hallmark of our approach; promoting the realisation that even extreme pursuits such as high altitude mountaineering can be undertaken safely.
Adventure Consultants employs only IFMGA or NZMGA qualified guides, the most advanced training and certification program internationally. In order to gain these qualifications guides must undergo rigorous training and assessment on climbing skills, instructional skills, avalanche training and assessment, wilderness first aid, rescue training and much more. The qualification takes many years (5-7) to attain and ensures you are getting a world class professional service.
Head Office Support Team
Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.
Suze Kelly, General Manager
Suze has been coordinating the office at AC headquarters since 1996 and was our Everest Base Camp Manager in 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Much of the quality of our expeditions and the way we go about things here at AC is owed to the attention to detail which Suze applies in her role. Suze has skied and climbed in New Zealand all her life, including ascents of Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook and internationally she has climbed Island Peak, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Lhotse, Everest and Vinson.
Climbers wishing to attempt Aoraki Mount Cook should be experienced mountaineers with a strong technical climbing background that includes familiarity with pitched climbing techniques, good rope skills, moderate rock, snow and ice climbing experience (up to 55 degrees, using two tools) and good glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills. Climbers must have excellent fitness and endurance, so you can move quickly and confidently through steep, difficult terrain even when tired. If you are new to climbing with Adventure Consultants, please send us your climbing resume and/or guide’s reference to establish your level of mountaineering experience.
Our registration form requests that you advise us of any medical problems you may have and if you are on any medication. Any information you supply will be treated as confidential.
Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.
Preparing for Your Trip
To make the most of your climbing experience we encourage you to work on your fitness prior to the trip. You will find that training with a 15kg + pack on is the best preparation for the mountains, with the aim of getting ‘pack fit’ and building your endurance. Your guide places special focus on fitness levels and will regulate the pace accordingly. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for your ascent.
Aoraki Mount Cook is a Topuni area to the Ngai Tahu Maori of the South Island, New Zealand. The summit of Aoraki is regarded as the head of one of their ancestors; of which the head is sacred (or topuni) to New Zealand Maori. Adventure Consultants respects the wishes of Ngai Tahu, hence we do not stand on the summit but remain a few metres from the top of the mountain.
We place emphasis on providing nutritious meals and a good supply of snack food throughout the trip. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us at the time of registration.
Wanaka has a range of accommodation from backpackers, youth hostels, motels, and hotels to luxury lodges.
We are happy to assist with your accommodation and bus transfer arrangements.
Adventure Consultants will provide your accommodation while the trip is running which is from 9.00am on Day 1 until 5.00pm on Day 6.
When in the mountains you will stay in mountain huts with shared bunkrooms and basic facilities. There are no single rooms available and unlike European huts you need to provide your own sleeping bag. Some mountain nights may be spent in tents or bivvies where you will be more exposed to the elements but the final decision on this will be made by your guide after weighing up all the factors. To find out more about New Zealand's Alpine Huts see our Alpine Huts page.
If our schedule requires us to overnight at Aoraki Mount Cook either side of the trip we utilise the New Zealand Alpine Club facilities at Unwin Hut which has dormitory style accommodation and if in Wanaka we accommodate you in dormitory style backpackers with shared bathroom facilities. You may decide to upgrade to single accommodations in Wanaka or at Aoraki Mount Cook Village at your own expense, should you require.
Clothing & Equipment
Climbing in the Southern Alps requires you have the highest quality clothing and equipment due to the extremes of weather conditions. Our focus is on having the essential clothing and equipment while keeping your pack as light as possible.
Your guide will go through the equipment checklist with you at the beginning of your trip. Actual equipment taken may vary subject to seasonal weather and route conditions. All group equipment including ropes and cooking equipment will be organised by your guide.
Adventure Consultants can help with all your equipment needs prior to your trip departing. We have a dedicated equipment coordinator that can answer any questions you may have, or you can also read the following equipment notes which are designed to help you when making decisions about which equipment best suits your personal needs.
We carry a good range of modern rental equipment. If you will be renting equipment from us please advise your requirements in advance to ensure correct sizing and availability.
In addition, our extensive retail catalogue and gear store provide the added service of purchasing your clothing and equipment needs directly from us. We are regularly outfitting climbers from head to toe to help them prepare for their course, ascent or trek! We also have a range of products available at our headquarters for any last minute purchases on the day of departure.
We can offer secure storage at our office for your luggage and valuables during the trip.
Communication & Messages
Our guides are in radio/cell/satellite phone communication with our operations base and Department of Conservation headquarters throughout the trip. This assists us with schedule and weather forecast updates, helicopter co-ordination and safety back up. Urgent messages can be relayed via our office to the field if required. Each party carries a locator beacon for additional security.
We guide Aoraki Mount Cook all year as conditions allow.
In November and December we can expect more snow cover on the routes, and as temperatures warm up into the summer months of January and February, we traditionally experience more settled weather and mixed climbing conditions (snow, ice and rock).
From March through April, late summer conditions exist and daylight hours get shorter.
Subject to seasonal conditions, access up the Linda Glacier can be compromised at certain times. In the event access is restricted or the hazard rating is high, we will offer an alternative route or peak.
Winter conditions are less predictable and days shorter, however, for experienced climbers the winter solitude will be incredibly rewarding.
We commence this trip from our base in Wanaka. The nearest airport is located in Queenstown, approximately one hour's drive away. Air New Zealand and Jetstar airlines provide daily services to Queenstown from Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. There are also direct international flights from most major Australian cities.
A shuttle service operates several times daily between Queenstown and Wanaka (from $35 each way), see https://www.ritchies.co.nz/wanaka. We are happy to assist with your transfer arrangements.
Bus services also operate daily between Christchurch and Wanaka (approximately 6 hours' travel time).
New Zealand has a maritime climate, and the weather is always a consideration in the high mountains. In the event conditions were not suitable to enter the mountains at the start of the trip, we can delay for up to two days subject to your guide’s schedule. We recommend you allow some flexibility with your travel arrangements to create this advantage.
When booking your trip please specify the dates you are available.