Core Mountain Skills (CMS)
Learn the skills and gain the knowledge to travel independently in the mountains on Alpine Guides' introductory-level summer mountaineering course. Core Mountain Skills is based in Mt Cook National Park New Zealand. This 5-day course will teach you the essential skills of climbing and mountain travel and how to camp/bivouac in an alpine environment. You will come away prepared for your own adventures, or ready to take up a more technical challenge.
A Complete Introduction
No prior knowledge of rope systems or mountaineering is required. You need a high level of aerobic fitness for pack carrying, so a background in hiking/tramping is crucial.
The CMS also covers all the syllabus of our one-day Tune-up clinic.
The CMS is ideal training for:
High altitude technical trekking in Nepal/Tibet
General mountaineering and alpine travel, anywhere in the world
Non-technical alpine pass crossings
Undertaking a future Alpine Skills Course (ASC)
The CMS is a late-season version of our Mountain Experience Course, adapted to better suit the conditions you will likely experience from mid-summer.
Later in summer, the snowpack is at its minimum extent. It is not realistic to expect to spend all your time on snow and ice. Although we will teach axe and crampons skills, there is a greater focus on:
General mountaineering skills
Basic rock climbing technique
Ridge travel and scrambling
Bivvying and camping
Flexibility - the key to success in the mountains
Like the MEC, the Core Mountain Skills course's great strength is flexibility of objectives. We are not locked in to one hut, one location, or a particular mountain venue. We adapt each course to take best advantage of prevailing conditions at Mt Cook, or further afield.
Instruction topics include:
Equipment - what to bring and how to use it
Climbing on different terrain
Introduction to rock climbing
Route finding and awareness of terrain
High level of aerobic fitness
Hiking / tramping experience
Able to carry a up to a 15 kg pack for 4 to 5 hours continuously