IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide
Kiwi Mike Roberts is one of Adventure Consultants' most seasoned high-altitude guides. Not content with reaching the top each of the Seven Summits at least twice, he holds nine successful Everest summits under his belt.
Born on the North Island of New Zealand Mike first started climbing in 1978, at age 16. He has been guiding for nearly 30 years and during his guiding career has climbed many of the world’s highest mountains including 9 ascents of Everest including back to back ascents of Everest and Lhotse.
He has also managed to fit in 14 seasons mountain and ski guiding in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, 18 seasons in Antarctica as a Field Leader / Guide to the USA and NZ Antarctic Programs, SAR Leader for the Joint Antarctic Search and Rescue team, has worked as a Professional Ski Patroller / Avalanche Forecaster and is a qualified physiotherapist.
Everest 8,850m / Lhotse 8,516m
- Back to back Everest + Lhotse, 2013
- 9 times Everest summitter (pictured on 9th summit in 2017)
Gasherbrum II 8,035m
- Solo climb without oxygen, 2006
Ama Dablam 6,828m
- Solo climb, 2003
- After climbing Carstensz Pyramid not once but twice in a row in 2013
- Mike has now completed the Seven Summits having climbed each one at least two times
Mount Hicks, New Zealand 3,216m
- Climbed the Yankee/Kiwi Couloir on the South Face, 1989
Mount Douglas, New Zealand 2,187m
- The South Face, 1985, 1987
Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand 3,754m
- New route named Sweet Dreams, 1985
- The Caroline Face, 1987
Sabre Peak, New Zealand 2,162m
- ‘Black Doris’ on the NE Face, 1986
Mount Walter, New Zealand 1,925m
- Winter climbs, East Face, 1984, 1986
Mount Earnslaw, New Zealand 2,830m
- The first winter ascent of the South Face of the West Peak via a new route, 1982
Read more about Mike on the AC Blog in our article, The Call of the Mountains.
Q & A
What do you love most about climbing?
I love the solace and beauty of wilderness and am inherently drawn to the challenges of climbing high rugged peaks. I thrive on sustained endurance exercise, the technical challenges of climbing and the deeper levels of connection that get forged with climbing partners.
I love to help people achieve their goals and have enjoyable experiences in what is often an intimidating and frightening environment for them. Key to this, I like to take the time to educate folks on both technical aspects and environmental appreciation. Through guiding, I have met amazing people and formed lasting friendships. Guiding has enabled me to travel and work in many different countries, having fascinating cultural experiences.
Most memorable climbing experiences?
Transalpine trip in Mt Aspiring National Park
One of my most memorable experiences was a wilderness transalpine trip in Mt Aspiring National Park where Geoff Spearpoint and I traversed the Olivine Ice Plateau and Red Mountain to Big Bay in four fantastic days; this included climbing an inconsequential but lovely peak called Little Ark.
Aoraki Mount Cook
During several occasions in my youth, I was benighted on routes and had forced bivouacs. On one such occasion, after climbing the Caroline Face of Aoraki Mount Cook with Maryanne Water and descending in falling snow, low visibility and eventually darkness, I awoke to find the roof of Empress Hut protruding above deep snow less than 100m away from where we had made our emergency snow shelter. Of the many ascents I did of Aoraki, a mountain I was obsessed with in my 20’s, the rock steps of the North Ridge rate high for a fantastic and exhilarating climbing.
Gasherbrum II & Ama Dablam
Standing alone on both the summits of Gasherbrum II and Ama Dablam on days where no other climbers were present.
The first ascent of Mt Jenkins on Wiencke Island, Antarctic Peninsula from a yacht. This wonderful trip and adventurous climb has many special memories for me: a stunning and amazing landscape; venturing into terrain where nobody had climbed before; the intimidation of a major glacier carving ice into the ocean adjacent to where we were endeavouring to land by zodiac in a sea state of high swell; the colours of a brilliant sunrise on ice burgs in the ocean directly below our climbing position; 12 pitches of steep and exhilarating snow and ice climbing; and a spectacularly steep summit ridge in one of planet earth's most stunning environments.
Outside of climbing how do you like to spend your time?
I have taken up surfing (a beginner who has a lot of fun) and am venturing into the world of kite surfing. My lifestyle includes yoga, vipassanā meditation and an enduring interest in personal transformation through techniques such as Voice Dialogue.
Check out AC Blog piece The Call of the Mountains to learn more about Mike and his passion for the mountains.
Photo - Mike ski touring on Breithorn, Italy 2018
- Summits - 2002, 2007 (pictured), 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017
- Lead Guide - 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019
- Guide – 2002, 2004, 2007, 2013
Carstensz Pyramid (4,884m/16,023ft)
- Total of 8 ascents
- Back to back summits as Lead Guide which completed Mike’s Seven Summits (2013)
- Lead Guide 2018, 2019 (summiting twice!)
- Lead Guide March and November 2016 (summiting twice on the November expedition)
- Lead Guide on 5 successful expeditions (2003-2018)
Mount Elbrus (5,642m/18,510ft)
- 19 summits (2004-2019)
- 12 expeditions, 11 summits
- Lead Guide - 1988, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009
Mount Vinson (4,892m/16,050ft)
- Lead Guide 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2018, 2019
- Lead Guide 1998, 2002
- Summit 2013
Gasherbrum 2 (8,035m/26,361ft)
- Lead Guide, 2 expeditions, 1 summit, 2003, 2006
Cho Oyu (8,188m/26,863ft)
- 8 expeditions, 6 summits, 2001-2016
- Lead Guide, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 (pictured)
- Baruntse (7,129m/23,389ft) - Lead Guide 2008
- Mera Peak (6,476m/21,246ft) - Lead Guide 2006, 2008
- Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft) - Lead Guide 1991, 2003, 2013
- Lobuche East (6,119m/20,075ft) - Lead Guide 1991
- Mount Jenkins (1,705m/3,526ft) - Guided first ascent 2000 (Wiencke Island, Antarctic Peninsula)
- Mount Sidley (4,285m/14,058ft) - Guide 2012 (Highest volcano in Antarctica)
- Mont Blanc (4,807m/15,771ft) - Guide 2011
- Matterhorn (4,478m/14,691ft) - Guide 2010
- Mount Sanford (4,949m/16,236ft) - Lead Guide 2006 (Wrangell Mountains, Alaska)
- Muztagh Ata (7,545m/24,754ft) - Lead Guide 2 expeditions, 1 summit, 2000, 2001
- Antarctic Peninsula - Guide 2000 (6 week sailing/ mountaineering expedition aboard Pelagic, several first ascents)
New Zealand Ascents
Aoraki Mount Cook (3,754m/12,316ft)
- Over 20 ascents
Mount Aspiring (3,033m/9,950ft)
- Multiple ascents (pictured, 2017)
Other New Zealand ascents
- Numerous ascents of New Zealand mountains, 1985-2018
- IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide, 1990
- Level 2 Avalanche and PHEC
- NZMGA Guide,1986
Film & Safety Work
The Vertical Limit, Hollywood Motion Picture
- Mountain Safety Position, 1999 (including Talent Safety, Avalanche Unit, Rigging Department and First Unit)
- Logistics and expedition planning, 2000-2007
Special Projects / Other
Otago Polytechnic, NZ
- Directed 7 day Avalanche Courses
United States Antarctic Program, (USAP) McMurdo Station 1987-2018
- Field Leader for the USAP geological and glaciological groups, 20 seasons
- USAP Field and Safety Training Instructor, 4 seasons
Antarctica New Zealand
- Review of Antarctic Field Training Program, 2005/06
"I had such a profound Everest journey with Mike in 2019, and would love to climb with him again! I especially appreciated the way he integrates his level-headed mindfulness practice into his climbing philosophy—I learned so much from his years of mountaineering wisdom. Despite being a living legend, Mike is so humble and unassuming... so it was especially entertaining when we'd catch a glimpse of his snarky, Kiwi sense of humor!"
Sophie Hilaire, USA, Everest 2019
"I climbed with Mike on Elbrus and Everest and would climb again with him in a heartbeat. His incredible experience and care always make you feel perfectly safe. Through his patience and expertise, he ensures you get the best summit window possible and he led us successfully to the top both times. He is a legend but still incredibly humble and selfless and just a great person to be on a trip with."
Roman Tschupp, Switzerland, Everest 2019
"Mike was a fantastic guide, a fountain of expedition knowledge and always teaching. Just being in his presence has made me a better climber.
Neil Long, UK/Canada, Elbrus 2019
"Mike Roberts was exceptional—he kept us focused on the job in hand whilst maintaining his candid humour."
Andy Higson, UK, Elbrus 2018
"I can't speak highly enough of Mike Roberts: calm, quietly authoritative, assertive when he needed to be, friendly and open. It was a privilege to climb with him."
Ed Butchart, Elbrus 2018
"Well, I would say the man is a living legend. He came up with a wealth of experience. I truly appreciate Mike. I have my respect for his experience and the way he briefed about upcoming events. I think he is just fantastic and absolutely an asset to AC. I am so glad that I got him as my guide and get to learn a lot from him; he exactly knows what he is saying and doing."
Umesh Panicker, Elbrus 2017
"Mike was an excellent leader. He was very concerned about our welfare and did everything he could to help us on the mountain."
Kai Zinn, Cho Oyu 2016