The Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Guided Ice Climbing.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Guided Ice Climbing NZ 2020 Trip Notes
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.
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
Anybody who has climbed ice before to any standard can participate although we regularly introduce people with no experience to ice and mixed climbing. Often people will have some rock climbing experience or a background in the outdoors. Ice climbing is a fabulous activity but participants do need to be physically fit and able to enjoy colder temperatures and pushing themselves physically. If you are wondering whether this activity is appropriate for you, then give us a call to discuss how the trip will run.
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.
Building up your upper body strength is imperative for ice climbing and some training beforehand will really help you make the most of your time on the trip. Progressing to doing pull-ups in the gym is what you need to aim for, and good overall conditioning will help you climb for longer each day on the trip. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for your trip.
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.
For special diets such as vegan and gluten/dairy free we will call you to discuss your needs.
Queenstown has a range of accommodation from backpackers, motels, hotels and luxury lodges. We are happy to assist with your accommodation arrangements.
Whilst in the mountains, the best thing of all about our Guided Ice Climbing Trips are that they operate from our innovative Expedition Base Camp tents that are set up right at the foot of the ice climbing area. The tents provide a cosy atmosphere to enjoy the evening meals and reflect on each days climbing before a well-earned sleep.
Clothing & Equipment
Climbing in winter in the New Zealand mountains requires good personal gear due to the potential cold 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 accompanying equipment list is a guideline to your equipment requirements. Your guide will go through an equipment checklist with you prior to the trip. All group equipment including ropes 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.
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 Queenstown. 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.
Bus services also operate daily between Christchurch and Queenstown (approximately 6 hours' travel time).
Weather is an integral facet of any mountain range and getting to understand and work with this major environmental factor is what will distinguish you from the others. The New Zealand weather can be fierce but also benign. A climber who learns to optimise their opportunities here will have the skills to climb in any other mountain environment on earth.
Our ice-climbing season runs from July through to September with the most stable ice conditions being in July and August. Daylight hours are approximately 9 in winter. Temperatures will drop to as low as –10° Celsius and could rise to as high as 15° Celsius.
On your climbing programme it is probable that some adverse weather may affect our climbing plans however we will attempt to anticipate what best moves to make for the positive outcome of the trip. At times we may elect to delay our departure into the hills in favour of other valuable activities and move into the mountains when conditions permit.
Adventure Consultants reserves the right to cancel, or alter the trip at any time if the ice is not in condition due to climatic influences, or if the climbing area or conditions are perceived by Adventure Consultants, as being too hazardous. However, we will to the best of our ability endeavour to find alternative suitable climbing venues in order for the trip to take place.