Mountain Experience Course (MEC)

The MEC is Alpine Guides' beginner-level mountaineering course; an introduction to mountain climbing - based in Mt Cook National Park New Zealand. You will learn the basics of mountain and snow craft, and how to camp/bivouac in an alpine environment.


A Complete Introduction To Mountaineering

If your imagination has been captured by high mountain places, the MEC is the perfect starting point.

No prior knowledge of rope systems is required. You need a high level of aerobic fitness for pack carrying, so a background in hiking/tramping is crucial.

The MEC 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)

See our Course Progression Chart

Spring through Early Summer

The MEC runs through October to  December. At this time of year snow is still easily attainable on foot. Later in summer, conditions may be dryer. Earlier than October there may be too much snow in the mountains for easy and safe travel on foot.

Late Summer Courses

If booking from late December, please see the Core Mountain Skills (CMS) course. Our 5-day introduction to summer mountaineering. 

Instruction topics include:

  • Equipment - what to bring and how to use it

  • Snow skills: including using crampons, ice axe, and self arrest

  • Climbing on snow and ice

  • Alpine camping/bivvying

  • Introduction to rock climbing

  • Route finding and awareness of terrain

Experience required:

  • High level of aerobic fitness

  • Hiking / tramping experience

  • Able to carry a up to a 15 kg pack for 4 to 5 hours continuously