The Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants Mount Aspiring Course and Ascent.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Mount Aspiring Course and Ascent Notes 2020/21
Mount Aspiring Course and Ascent Notes 2021/22
The instructors on our New Zealand courses are all NZMGA/IFMGA qualified guides with many years experience, not only in pursuing their own climbing careers, but also in learning how to pass these skills on in an environment which is conducive to accelerated learning.
Our focus is to pass on knowledge that will assist your development towards becoming a competent climber. Many courses focus primarily on techniques that are taught as skills in isolation yet we recognise that you need to learn those skills in context while you are actually climbing the mountain so you know where and when to utilise each technique learned.
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.
A founding principle at Adventure Consultants is to recognise the necessity of positive communication within the group to foster an open and friendly approach to communicating and reinforcing learning processes.
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 around five years 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 joining a Mount Aspiring Course & Ascent must have good fitness, balance, coordination and the ability to carry a pack of 12–15 kg over rough, untracked terrain for 8–10 hours. While you will be carrying light packs for your training and summits days, you will be required to carry a full load on the first day to Colin Todd Hut and again on the 2-day walk out to the Raspberry Creek road end.
Previous snowcraft or rock climbing is not necessary, as these skills will be taught in the instruction part of the trip, but will be an advantage if you have them. The instruction element can be customised to your personal level of 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 course.
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 7. When in the mountains you will stay in mountain huts with shared bunkrooms and basic facilities. There are no single rooms available. 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. For more information on New Zealand's mountain accommodation see our Alpine Huts page.
If you experience a delay with entering the mountains caused by weather you will be accommodated in Wanaka in dormitory style backpackers with shared bathroom facilities. You may decide to upgrade to single accommodations in Wanaka 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 an 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 read the following equipment notes which are designed to help you when making decisions about which equipment best suits your personal needs.
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 coordination 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 Mt Aspiring all year as conditions allow, although our main climbing season is from November through to April. 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 which result in a combination of rock and ice routes. However, from May onwards cooling temperatures can bring snow falls to the Alps. Winter conditions are less predictable and the days are shorter, however for experienced climbers the winter solitude will be incredibly rewarding!
We do specialise in winter climbing and ice climbing through the months of July-September and whilst the days are shorter the mountains are virtually abandoned. Our guides are also experienced ski guides so enquire about combining ski touring with your ascent!
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).