Leave the rope and harness behind on Alpine Guides unique Helicamp. Explore the fantastic back country terrain at Mount Cook on skis or snowboard - terrain usually only accessible with Mount Cook Heliski.
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, Gammack and Ben Ohau ranges of Aoraki/Mount Cook region. Helicamps run in Spring (September to mid-October). It's warmer then, and snow cover is at it's most extensive. 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 terrain is perfect for touring, due to the variety of runs in different valleys, all easily accessible from campsites along the crest of the range. The 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.
Light-weight touring in exclusive big mountain terrain
Helicamps are camping and ski/snowboard touring with light packs. Campsites are cozy expedition-style tent camps, backed up with snow caves (or a mountain hut). The campsite locations are stunning high-altitude ridge crests. Wake up to fiery sunrises, before skiing/riding untamed big mountain terrain - usually only visited by heliskiers.
Touring Zone - Mount Cook Region.
Ranges we access sit just east of Mount Cook and the Main Divide. The terrain is non-glaciated, featuring extensive valley systems, with mellow to steep runs across all aspects. They offer great options for touring in nearly all weather and snow conditions.
Booking your Helicamp
Helicamps are privately arranged, and available from 01 September to mid-October.
We will confirm the start date based on your schedule and subject to guide availability. Contact us to discuss your preferred dates.
Participants can be skiers, snowboarders on split boards or with snowshoes, or mixed groups.
Professional mountain guide
Helicopter flights in and out from the mountains
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
How to Book
Please contact us to discuss your start dates. Helicamps are available from 01 September to mid-October
We will arrange the start date based on your schedule and subject to guide availability.
Helicamps are best for reasonably fit, strong (or better) skiers and snowboarders. However, we there is plenty of easily accessed mellow terrain for the less experienced skier or snowboarder. You need:
High level of aerobic fitness
To be a strong intermediate (or better) skier/snowboarder, able to comfortably ski black runs
Some off-piste skiing/riding experience is preferred, but not essential
To be able to ski/ride in alpine terrain carrying a backpack (up to 12 kg), if required
+ 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
+ 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.
+ Touring Terrain
The 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 Ben Ohaus feature Mt Mary, Whale and Twin Stream, with many converging catchments, terrain and aspect choices.
The Gammacks, including Fork and Fraser Stream, are the first rolling range you see across the valley as you approach Mt Cook Village. They offer unparalleled options for touring without the need of a glacial travel kit.
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. 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.
+ 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.
+ Touring Gear Hite
RECOMMENDED GEAR HIRE STORES
Wanaka - MT Outdoors
Queenstown - Small Planet
+ Equipment and Clothing
Please let us know what gear you need to rent - including any equipment supplied free of charge.
Our gear lists cater for all eventualities. Sometimes you may not require everything on the equipment list your guide will help you sort though your kit at the start of your trip. Weather and mountain conditions when your trip starts will help determine what is needed.
Temperatures, weather, and snow conditions will vary. The gear list is designed to work around these possibilities.