Ice climbing in the Darwin Icefall, Technical Mountaineering Course. Photo by Trevor Streat.

Technical Mountaineering Course (TMC)

The Technical Mountaineering Course (TMC) is Alpine Guides flagship course. If you want to climb independently in glaciated terrain, or you dream of 8000 metre summits - this is where you begin.

A 9-day Comprehensive Introduction to Technical Alpine Climbing

The TMC is long enough to provide a solid grounding in all alpine mountaineering skills. You must be fit, keen to learn, and have some roped climbing experience. Shorter courses do not provide the immersion, and time needed, to learn these experiential skills.

You will learn the latest and safest techniques, that will take you safely to any mountain range on Earth.

We aim to climb 2 or 3 peaks - each progressively more challenging, as you practice and develop your technique.

Every course is unique, in terms of what weather and conditions throw at us. But every TMC is about climbing, balanced with building your mountain knowledge, for a solid platform to launch your own alpine adventures.

The TMC is ideal:

  • For rock climbers looking for alpine climbing skills
  • As a follow-up from our introductory Mountain Experience Course (MEC) ›
  • For training towards longer-term technical mountaineering objectives

The Best Mountain Instruction Venue in New Zealand

The TMC runs at the head of the Tasman Glacier. This is the premier instruction venue in NZ, with:

  • 2 huts at the confluence of the Murchison and Tasman Glaciers
  • Any number of peaks (some over 3,000 metres) from NZ Alpine Grade 1 through 3
  • Snow and ice, mixed, and alpine rock peaks to test your mettle
  • Ice climbing on the glacial seracs in summer
  • Avoids the worst of the West Coast weather systems

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

We are 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.

Ice screw belay station. Photo by Jamie Robertson.

Instruction topics include:

  • Glacier travel and crevasse rescue
  • Snow and ice climbing
  • Belay systems and techniques
  • Modern rope techniques
  • Route finding
  • Emergency shelters
  • Mountain navigation, weather and forecasting
  • Avalanche hazard evaluation

Experience required:

  • High level of fitness
  • Rope skills (e.g. rock climbing, caving, abseiling)
  • Trekking/tramping experience
  • Previous alpine (snow & ice) climbing experience is not required

See the detailed notes for more info on experience ›


A bit light on rope skills? Come on a Tune-up

The TMC Tune-up is a 1.5 day rope and rock climbing clinic. A Tune-up runs prior to every TMC.

If you need a ropes "refresher", or additional training, the Tune-up will get you to the standard required for the TMC. Read more about the TMC Tune-up ›

AGL Skill Check



Season: Summer (November- March)

Trip Type: Summer Course

Length: 9 days

Max Guide/Participant Ratio: 1:4

Maximum of 8 participants


Price NZ$3,450 per person

Cost Includes:

Summer 2015/16 Course Schedule

Course Dates Spaces
TMC 1 Nov 11-20 Limited
TMC 2 Nov 18-27 Open
TMC 3 Nov/Dec 25-04 Open
TMC 4 Dec 02-11 Open
TMC 5 Dec 09-18 Limited
TMC 6 Dec/Jan 30-08 Open
TMC 7 Jan 06-15 Open
TMC 8 Jan 20-29 Open
TMC 9 Jan/Feb 27-05 Open
TMC 10 Feb 03-12 Open
TMC 11 Feb 10-19 Open
TMC 12 Feb 17-26 Open
TMC 13 Mar 02-11 Open
TMC 14 Mar 09-18 Open


  • Open - free to book.
  • Limited - Please check before booking (may fill quickly).
  • One only/2 only = one or 2 spaces remain. Phone us to secure your place.
  • Closed - course no longer available.