The Course Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants Polar Training Courses.
You can view the course notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
New Zealand Polar Training Course Notes 2020
New Zealand Polar Training Course Notes 2021
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.
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.
Level of Experience Required
Participants need not have any prior training although confidence on cross country skis will be a big advantage.
The skiing component of polar travel is not very technical. The skis are used to slide along the snow and to stop you ‘breaking through’ the snow surface. It is a much faster mode of travel than going on foot. Having stated that, it is important that you have good balance on your skis and are very familiar with the motion of skiing. Injury could occur to those not familiar with skiing and any self-respecting polar traveller will make a point of learning the skill (Robert Falcon Scott decided against using skis on his journey to the South Pole with disastrous consequences!).
If you are not already a skier we suggest you come to Wanaka early to spend some time developing the skills and we can help arrange tuition.
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 training experience we encourage you to work on your fitness prior to the trip. If you can, prepare yourself by cross country skiing or ski touring prior to the course. If this is not possible you could consider coming to Wanaka early to spend some time developing the skills.
You will find that training with a 20kg+ pack on is good 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.
Adventure Consultants will provide food while the course is running with the exception of dinner on Day 1. Otherwise, you are catered from 9.00am on Day 1 until lunch on the last day of your course. All food outside this time will be at your expense.
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.
During the course Adventure Consultants will provide accommodation while the course is running. All accommodation outside this time will be at your expense. When in the mountains you will stay in tents with limited facilities where you will be exposed to the elements. For more information on New Zealand's mountain accommodation see our Alpine Huts page.
For overnights in Wanaka, you will be accommodated 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 good personal gear due to the potential weather conditions. Our focus is on having the essential clothing and equipment, whilst keeping pack weights as light as possible for your comfort and ease of travel.
The course equipment list is a guideline to your equipment requirements. Your guide will go through an equipment checklist with you prior to the trip. These will vary subject to seasonal weather and route conditions. All group equipment including ropes and stoves 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/sat 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 course carries a locator beacon for additional security.
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).
Return ground transport from Wanaka to the course venue is included in the course fee.
Guide Books & Maps
Included in your course fee is a complimentary copy of ‘A Climbers Guide to New Zealand Mountaineering Techniques’. Written by Adventure Consultants guides Guy Cotter, Dean Staples and Mark Sedon, the ‘ACG’ was published specifically as reference material which you will find useful before, during, and long after your course has finished.
Whilst the Climbers Guide does not focus on polar travel techniques there are plenty of useful sections for alpine environments that are applicable to polar travel.
It is useful to have your own map for navigation exercises. Your guide will advise you of the relevant 1:50,000 topographic maps required when the course begins. The training area for your Polar Training Course will generally only be decided just prior to course commencement date to ensure the most favourable area is utilised.
The above books and maps can be purchased from our office in Wanaka.