Guy Cotter, CEO and IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide

Guy Cotter

CEO and IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide

Guy's whole life has been spent in the mountains - in New Zealand, the Himalayas and many other mountain ranges around the world. Born in southern New Zealand, he was introduced to the outdoors at an early age where a fascination for the mountains was fostered. He feels these days spent as a young explorer were a solid foundation for his future climbing career.

His passion for the mountains eventually saw him focus on a career as a mountain guide where his skills earned him a position working alongside fellow Kiwis Rob Hall and Gary Ball when they established their Everest guiding company; Adventure Consultants in 1992 . Guy excelled as a high altitude guide and, along with Rob and Gary, led the team to the summit that year on the first commercially guided expedition on Everest.

After Rob Hall was lost in the tragic events on Everest in 1996, Guy purchased Adventure Consultants from Rob's wife Jan becoming Director and CEO. For more on the History of Adventure Consultants, click here.

In addition to guiding, Guy's skills are in demand as a high altitude cameraman, running film projects in the Southern Alps (or on the Seven Summits), training corporate groups and meanwhile ensuring the list of exciting destinations for Adventure Consultants' clients is always growing!

For Guy, the pleasure of the adventure business lies not in the financial rewards but rather in helping clients achieve their dreams.

  • Notable Ascents

    • Climbed 7 x 8,000m peaks; Everest (1992,1997, 2006, 2007), Cho Oyu (1997), Gasherbrum 2 (1997), Makalu (2001), Manaslu (2012), Lhotse (2013), Dhaulagiri (2017)
    • Completed the Seven Summits including Carstensz & Kosciuszko - 2005
    • First ascent of a new route on the Balfour Face of Mt Tasman - 2003
    • First ascent, Mt Slaughter, Antarctica 3600m - 1998
    • First Westerner to guide and climb three 8000m peaks in one year - 1997
    • Awarded CMC/Macpac New Zealand Mountaineer of the Year - 1997
    • Summitted Everest, guiding for Adventure Consultants alongside Rob Hall and Gary Ball for their first commercially guided expedition of Everest - 1992
    • Third ascent of Uli Biaho Spire in the Karakoram - 1989
    • One of first New Zealander's to climb Dhaulagiri along with Dean Staples and Lydia Bradey - 2017
  • Q & A

    What do you love most about guiding?

    I share a passion with the team here at Adventure Consultants to be the best we can be at what we do. We all get a lot out of seeing our clients have the best experience of their lives.

    It’s that look of elation and seeing them evolve as personalities through the mental challenge of mountaineering that gets me.

    Outside of climbing how do you like to spend your time?

    I'm based in Wanaka, NZ, which is close to Mt Aspiring National Park and set on the shores of beautiful Lake Wanaka. With several ski resorts, lots of crags, rivers, paragliding, mountain biking galore; Wanaka offers everything I could ask for in providing an adventurer’s daily fix.

    I try to balance my time between steering the company and fulfilling my love of rock and mountain climbing as well as mountain biking and photography. Every now and then I take a complete break, disconnect from the modern world, and head to the south west coast of the South Island to go fishing and diving from my dingy.

  • International Expeditions

    Seven Summits

    Everest 8,850m

    • Summits – 1992, 1997, 2006, 2007
    • Team turned around at South Summit, 100m shy of the top due to weather and late hour - 1995
    • Descended from South Summit high point assisting exhausted team member - 1993
    • Was leading Everest Expedition in 2015 when the 7.8 earthquake occured, causing widespread devastation in Nepal and the cancellation of the expedition

    Kilimanjaro 5,895m

    • Lead guide - 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015
    • Climbed and filmed Annabelle Bond as part of her 7 Summits in one year program - 2004

    Elbrus 5,642m

    • Lead guide - 2003, 2009

    Denali 6,190m

    • Guide and cameraman. Summited via the West Buttress - 2005
    • Attempted via West Buttress, weather prevented summit - 1990

    Carstenz Pyramid 4,884m

    • Guided first AC group since 1995. Team of five all summited including Barb Gurtler, age 71 and Karla Wheelock, the first Latin American woman to complete the Seven Summits - 2005

    Kosciuszko 2,228m

    • Climbed and filmed Annabelle Bond - 2004

    Vinson Massif 4,892m

    • Lead Guide - 1994, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2006

    Aconcagua 6,962m

    • Lead guide, summitted via the Falso Polish route - 2001

    8,000m Peaks

    Lhotse 8,516m

    • Lead guide on the first AC Lhotse expedition. Sixth 8000m peak - 2013

    Manaslu 8,163m

    • Lead guide on the first AC Manaslu expedition. Fifth 8000m peak - 2012
    • Lead guide heavy snow and avalanche danger prevented summit - 2015

    Makalu 8,481m

    • Summited with Sherpa Lhakpa Dorjee (first person to climb Makalu twice) and Takashi Ozaki who was summiting his seventh 8000m peak. Fourth 8000m peak - 2001

    Dhaulagiri 8,167m

    • Attempted Dhaulagiri on an AC expedition with Veikka Gustafsson and Ed Viesturs. Expedition was turned back due to heavy snow conditions - 1998
    • Climbed Dhaulagiri in 2017, first New Zealander's to summit along with Dean Staples and Lydia Bradey

    Gasherbrum I 8,080m & Gasherbrum II 8,035m

    • Summitted Gasherbrum II. Third 8000m peak - 1997
    • Attempted Gasherbrum I - 1997

    Cho Oyu 8,201m

    • Lead Guide, second 8000m peak (Everest was first - 1997)
    • AC Guide - 1995

    Himalayan Climbs

    Muztagh Ata 7,545m

    • Leader of reconnaissance expedition for a proposed ski ascent and descent - 1998

    Pumori 7,161m

    • Lead Guide. Expedition abandoned when Rob Hall’s Everest expedition ran into trouble. Guy then assisted with rescue at Everest Base Camp - 1996

    Ama Dablam 6,828m

    • Lead Guide, Summitted - 1996


    South Georgia - Shackleton Crossing

    • Guided a group across South Georgia, following the footsteps of renowned Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton - 2016

    Ski The Last Degree

    • Led a group to the South Pole, where the team was flown to 89 degrees south, and then trekked for 10 days to the pole - 2010

    Antarctic Pennisula

    • Lead guide, expedition completed several first ascents - 2006

    Mt Kenya 5,199m

    • Climbed via the Nelion route - 2007

    Mont Blanc 4,807m

    • Summitted - 2009
  • New Zealand Ascents

    Mount Tasman 3,498m

    • Climbed the first ascent of a new route on the Balfour face of Tasman, one of New Zealand’s most difficult and remote alpine faces - 2003. Read about the epic climb here.

    Mount Hicks 3,216m

    • Solo ascent via the left hand buttress -1981

    Aoraki/Mount Cook 3,754m

    • Guy’s first ascent at age 17. He has climbed Mt Cook numerous times since - 1981

    Traverse Arthurs Pass to Mount Cook

    • At age 15 Guy made the traverse with three companions including Rob Hall, age 16 - 1977

    Mount Rolleston 2,271m

    • Summitted at age 11 with father, Ed Cotter - 1973
  • Rock & Ice


    • Toulomne Meadows, Yosemite, USA - 1990
    • Uli Biaho Spire 6,109m – 1989
    • Summitted South Pillar - third ever alpine style ascent of this Karakoram spire.
    • Salathe Wall and the Nose on El Capitan, Yosemite, USA -1981-1984
    • Arapiles Australia - 1981-1984, 2010
    • Wanaka, NZ - multiple first ascents, 1984 onwards


    • Wye Creek, New Zealand - repeat visitor whenever possible each winter!
    • Cogne, Lillaz, Italy - 2015
  • Qualifications


    • Trained and Assessed under the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. Completed 1990.


    • Last revised in 2015, current until 2018


    • ew Zealand Avalanche Institute


    • Life Member

    IFMGA logo

  • Work Experience


    Director/CEO 1996 – Present

    Guy was a guide on the first Adventure Consultants Everest expeditions in 1992,1993 and 1995 and purchased Adventure Consultants from Rob Hall’s wife, Jan Arnold in June 1996. He continues to lead expeditions as well as performing hands-on work as a Safety Manager, Locations Manager, and consultant for major film productions around the globe. He also gives lectures for everyone from burgeoning mountaineers to corporate groups.

    Since 1996 Guy has grown the company to a diverse operation spanning all the continents. From initially only running four expeditions annually the company is now offering over 50 expeditions operating in the Himalaya, South America, the 'Seven Summits' and the Arctic / Antarctic along with busy Climbing Schools in New Zealand and Europe. He leads a team of the world's best mountain guides and the client base of the company come from all corners of the globe.

    Expedition Guide 1992 - 95 on Everest, Cho Oyu and Vinson


    Film Crew / Private Charter Co-ordinator 1995
    Directed Avalanche & Mountaineering Courses 1995
    Snow Safety Officer 1994 - 95
    Ski Guide 1984 - 94


    Chief Mountaineering Instructor 1991 - 92


    Founded with associates Paul Scaife and Nick Cradock. 1989
    Guide - mountaineering ascents, instruction courses - 1989 - 1996


    Alpine Guide 1984 – 94

    Worked at ski resorts Australia and the USA 1981 - 84

  • Film & Safety Work


    • Key Alpine Advisor - Mountaineering Advisor
    • Lead Mountain Safety for mountain locations in Nepal and Italy
    • Guy Cotter role in this movie played by Sam Worthington

    BEYOND THE EDGE, General Film Corporation (2013)

    • Locations Scout/ Mt Cook
    • Mountain Safety Coordinator
    • Advisor to script, props, wardrobe etc.
    • High altitude Everest photographer
    • Everest filming director

    GAP - New Zealand Photo Shoot (2010 – 2013)

    • Locations/safety
    • Line producer

    LOUIS VUITTON - New Zealand Photo Shoot (2012)

    • New Zealand producer

    VARIOUS COMMERCIALS - Film/photo (2005-13)

    • Locations Scout
    • Safety
    • Helicopter Coordinator
    • Production


    • Climbed and filmed UK woman Annabelle Bond on Kilimanjaro and Kosciuszko as part of her 7 Summits in one year program which AC also coordinated.

    LAST SAMURAI, Warner Bros (2003)

    • Locations Scout, Queenstown
    • Safety/Medic

    NO MARGIN FOR ERROR, Road Rules Production Limited (2003)

    • Locations
    • Rigging
    • Safety


    • Lead Rigger

    ECO CHALLENGE, NZ (2001)

    • Chief Guide

    X FORCE – National Geographic Documentary (2001)

    • Talent/Camera
    • Mountaineering Science

    EVEREST BASE CAMP – Documentary (2000)

    • Co-Producer
    • Talent

    THE VERTICAL LIMIT, Sony Pictures (1999-2000)

    • First Unit Safety Coordinator
    • Climbing Coordinator
    • Advisor to Production, Script, Art Department
    • Talent (featured as himself)
    • Locations
    • Aerial Coordination

    MT EVEREST, Nova -Everest Special Feature, High Altitude Physiology (1997)

    • High Altitude Camera Operator – filmed summit ascent

    ANY PLACE WILD, PBS (1997)

    • Safety and Locations

    CHANNEL 3 NEWS, NZ – Everest (1996)

    • Interview footage

    MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA, TVNZ John Gadsby (1995)

    • Safety and Locations

    NOTO SKIS, NZ (1987)

    • Safety and Locations
    • Talent


    • Safety and Locations
    • Ski Model