Helicamp Detailed Info

 

Alpine Guides' Helicamps are a light-weight alternative to our alpine ski touring/mountaineering trips. We tour in Mount Cook Heliski's exclusive terrain in the Liebig Range of Aoraki/Mount Cook region.

Helicamps run in Spring (September to mid-October), and helicopter transport in and out of the mountains is included. With your professional guide you will tour and camp amongst New Zealand's premier heliskiing terrain.

The Liebigs are perfectly suited to touring due to the variety of runs in different valleys, all easily accessible from campsites along the crest of the range.

Diversity of slope angle, and aspect, means we have a much better chance of accessing good snow and safe (or steep) lines compared to touring on the glaciers. Without crevasse hazard your rope and harnesses can also be left behind!

The sheltering effect created by the upwind Main Divide and Malte Brun range helps moderate the weather - which means less down time and more reliable aircraft access.

Experience Required

Helicamp is suited to reasonably fit, strong (or better) skiers and snowboarders. However, the mellow terrain of the Ridge and Kehua areas can be easily accessed by the less experienced skier or snowboarder.

  • High level of aerobic fitness
  • Strong intermediate (or better) skier/snowboarder, able to comfortably ski black runs
  • Some off-piste skiing/riding experience is preferred, but not essential
  • Able to ski/ride in alpine terrain carrying a backpack (up to 12 kg), if required

Prices and dates | Winter 2017

All prices are per-person, in NZ Dollars

Price Includes:

  • Guide fees
  • Helicopter access and egress from the mountains
  • Local transport 
  • Local accommodation (as required inside trip dates) 
  • All meals (including snacks and energy bars) 
  • Free use of a range of technical equipment 
  • One weather contingency day
There are 2 options for joining a Helicamp
  1. Join a scheduled 4 day tour - ideal for individuals
  2. Arrange a Private Helicamp - for small groups, 4 days long

1. Scheduled Helicamps

Individuals can join these Heli Camps. They run to set dates. Scheduled Heli Camps are for ski tourers or experienced split-boarders only.

Minimum bookings

If there is only one person booked, rather than cancel a trip we can run the same program for NZ$3,950. The trip content is unaffected.

In the situation with only one participant you have the option to cancel for a full refund. We will keep you informed if other bookings have not been made inside a month of departure.

2. Private Helicamps

Private Helicamps are available from 01 Sept to mid-October

We will arrange the start date based on your schedule, and subject to guide availability. Please contact us to discuss your start dates 

Private groups can be skiers, snowboarders on split boards or with snowshoes, or mixed groups.

All prices are per-person, in New Zealand Dollars, base don a 4 day tour.

Guide to Participant Ratios

The Alpine Heli Camp runs at a maximum of a 1:4 guide/participant ratio. For private tours with 5 or more participants at least 2 guides are required.

Reporting Details

All Helicamps begin at 08:30 at Alpine Guides base in Mt Cook Village on the start date, and finish at 17:00 on the last day.

Check public transport options to Mount Cook here.

Weather Contingency

A one-day weather contingency is built into the trip (at no cost to you). Please allow some flexibility in your travel plans to allow for this.

How the contingency works: If we face a particularly bad weather forecast when you arrive to start the trip, we can take the option of rolling the start date back by one day. This allows us to take best advantage of upcoming fine weather, and your time.

Liebig Range Touring Terrain

Liebigs offer a great range of ski runs (from beginner to expert), with uphill routes linking three major valley systems ( Murchison, Jollie, and Cass) - as well as numerous smaller basins and peaks.

The top elevation on most of the runs is 2,200 – 2,400 metres. We have many lines to ski in times of good stability, with safe options available if the hazard is high. Options exist (in close proximity) to ski powder, or corn, according to prevailing conditions.

Campsites and Camping

On the Helicamp (as the name suggests) you will mainly be camping in cozy expedition style tents. Snow caving options are possible, luxury style - if pre-built by your friendly Mount Cook Heliski guides. All waste (including yours) will be carried out at the end of the trip.

Most campsites are at high elevations and have amazing views up the Murchison Valley to the Main Divide, across to fiery sunsets over the glaciers of the Malte Brun Range. We vary campsite locations to take advantage of snow conditions, likely weather, and group ability.

We also have access to a private hut which is a great retreat in a storm, or your find camping is not to your liking...

Possible Instruction Topics

While instruction is not the focus of the Helicamp the high mountain environment presents challenges, and safe travel requires some specialised knowledge. Depending on your experience level you may cover some of the following instructional topics to round out your back country skills:

  • Avalanche hazard evaluation
  • Avalanche transceiver searches
  • Uphill skinning/snowshoeing technique
  • Route finding
  • Terrain analysis
  • Mountain navigation

Egress from the mountains

The cost of flying out is included in the cost of the Helicamp. In very rare circumstances you may have to walk out to a vehicle pick up. This will be a tough trip on foot, skiing/riding and waking for up to 6 hours. A high level of fitness is essential.

Alternative Options (in case of bad weather)

A weather contingency of one day is included with the Helicamp. If bad weather disrupts the trip we will arrange touring at another venue, if possible.

Road transport will be provided, but participants are expected to pay for ski area lift tickets, if required.

Equipment and Clothing

Please let us know what gear you need to rent - including any equipment supplied free of charge.

Choosing your clothing | Seasonal Variation

Our gear lists cater for all eventualities. Sometimes you may not require everything on the equipment list. Weather and conditions when your trip starts will help determine what is needed.

Always pack for cold conditions on the Helicamp. A 4-season sleeping bag, down jacket, and heavy grade thermal layers are required.

Temperatures, weather, and snow conditions will vary. The program is designed to work around these changes. Read more about seasonality, weather, and snow conditions here.

Make a Booking

Book online here using a credit card or by bank deposit

  • For private tours please ensure you have talked to us about guide availability.
  • We require a deposit of NZ$1,000 and completed booking form for each person.