Alpine Skills Course 

This 7-day introductory-level alpine mountaineering course provides the perfect pathway for aspiring climbers. You will learn the skills to climb on snow, ice and alpine rock - coached by NZ’s guiding professionals.

Course Focus - Skill Development and Confidence

The Alpine Skills Course (ASC) is an introduction to the world of snow and ice. We aim to develop your skills and confidence to safely undertake independent climbing trips in the alpine zone.

Each ASC is unique - shaped by the course venue and what the weather and mountain conditions throw at us. However, every course is about developing skills and confidence - balanced with building your mountain knowledge into a solid platform, from which to launch your own alpine adventures.

The Alpine Skills Course is ideal:

Based in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

The ASC is based from one of a number of mountain huts across New Zealand's premium alpine area. The venue is selected for each course based on upcoming weather and general snow conditions.

Mount Cook Region offers:

  • Any number of peaks (some over 3,000 metres) from NZ Alpine Grade 1 through 3 and beyond...
  • Snow and ice, mixed, and alpine rock peaks to test your mettle
  • Ice climbing on the glacial seracs in summer
  • More settled weather than the neighbouring West Coast

The course price includes aircraft access and exit flights, to maximise your time in the mountains.

Alpine Guides - based in the mountains

Because Alpine Guides is based at Mt Cook, you don’t have to be driven for hours to and from your starting point. We are right amongst the action.


Instruction topics include:

  • Ice axe and crampon techniques
  • Glacier travel and self/team crevasse rescue
  • Snow and ice climbing
  • Belay and multi-pitch belay systems and techniques
  • Modern rope techniques
  • Route finding and navigation
  • Emergency shelters
  • Weather and forecasting
  • Basic avalanche hazard evaluation

Experience required:

  • Previous alpine (snow & ice) climbing experience is not required
  • High level of fitness
  • Basic rope skills - from rock climbing, caving, abseiling
  • Trekking/tramping experience

See the detailed notes for more info on experience.

New to rope skills? Come on a Tune-up

The Tune-up is a one day introduction to essential rope and rock climbing skills. A Tune-up runs prior to every Alpine Skills Course. The Tune-up will get you to the standard required for the ASC. Read more about the Tune-up here.