AGL Skill

Difficulty
Endurance

Duration

9 Days (spans 10)

Ratio

1 : 4

Equipment List

Download PDF

Price

$3,650 NZD

 

Technical Mountaineering Course

The Technical Mountaineering Course (TMC ) is Alpine Guides advanced mountaineering course. It will provide a kick-start to your independent climbing exploits. The skills you acquire on the TMC will take you readily into any other mountain range in the world.

All instruction takes place in the serious mountain environment of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, although the course is flexible enough to move elsewhere for a few days should the weather become inhospitable.

Previous alpine climbing experience is a requirement. This is not a beginner course. We expect a base level of alpine experience similar to completion our Alpine Skills Course, plus additional personal climbing.

On a TMC you will be ‘coached’ by your guide, while attempting multiple ascents or other objectives, in serious, glaciated terrain.

TMC Objectives

The TMC’s is for climbers training towards longer-term technical mountaineering objectives. A longer course like the TMC provides the immersion and time needed to learn these experiential skills.

You will learn the most modern and safest techniques to take you safely to any mountain range on Earth. You will be coached by your guide, while actively climbing multiple ascents, or other objectives in serious glaciated terrain. Rock, ice and snow climbing are covered.

There is a focus on encouraging problem solving, advanced rope and rescue techniques and strategies for independent climbing.

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What You Will Learn

  • Revision of base mountaineering skills

  • Glacier travel and crevasse rescue systems

  • Snow, ice and rock climbing - with a multi-pitch routes

  • Advanced rope management and rescue practices

  • Navigation and Route Finding

  • Emergency shelters refresher

  • Weather and forecasting

  • Avalanche hazard evaluation

Experience Required

Previous experience on snow and ice and mountaineering in glaciated terrain is essential - similar to the level of completion of our Alpine Skills Course plus additional mileage in the mountains.  A background in rock climbing is required.

Some skills will be revised early in the course, but it is important that you have requisite experience. Equally important is a high level of fitness.

Unsure on experience? Please contact us directly to discuss your experience before booking if you are uncertain of meeting minimum requirements. We will advise on a case-by-case basis.

Prior to the course you must be able to:

  • Rope-up for glacier travel - through previous glacier travel training

  • Be familiar with self-rescue from a crevasse

  • Comfortably climb on sustained 40º to 50º ice - with two tools

  • Build simple anchors on rock, snow and ice, and operate a belay

  • Abseil with confidence

  • Confidently second on multi-pitch rock to at least AU grade 15

  • Move with crampons and ice-axe over a variety of terrain

  • Willingness to adapt and progress in a team environment

A high level of aerobic fitness is required. You must be able to carry an 8 kg backpack 1,000 vertical metres in 3.5 hours.

Read more about fitness for mountaineering.


Technical Mountaineering Course Details

+ Course Itinerary

When dealing with a dynamic environment we don't thing it is realistic to plan fixed day-to-day schedules which can easily be disrupted. Instead, we work around prevailing weather and snow conditions to provide the most comprehensive coverage of all the course topics. This makes each TMC unique.

Day One and 2

After meeting your teammates and guide, the first afternoon involves an outline of the course, an equipment check, and organising rental equipment. If there is time, some initial instruction (roping-up for glacier travel, for example) will be covered.

Generally you do not fly into the mountains until the morning of day 2. However, you need to be ready in case we decide that flying in on day one will make better use of time and weather opportunities.

Expect to be in the mountains for up to 8 nights of the course.

After roping up for glacier travel you will haul your gear and food to the hut (often a 20 minute hike). You guide will introduce you to your mountain abode for the week, and provide a refresher on hut etiquette and management.

After lunch, the rest of this day typically focuses on revising crampon technique, self-arrest, anchor theory and familiarising with the area.

Day 3-9

Once in the mountains, the focus of the TMC is using available weather for 'on the hill' training. Any enforced downtime will be spent maximising the technical skill/theory topics.

Each day will have an objective suitable to the conditions, weather, and leaning pathways of the group. Typically this will be a process where the course participants take part in planning and driving the execution of each day's activity, The guide will assist in the role of mentor and safety/technical advisor.

In some sections, in particular earlier in the course, the guide may take a more active leadership role - as the terrain dictates.

As you progress the focus shifts to climbing on more complex terrain, and refining rope and anchor skills. You will spend at least a half-day working on crevasse rescue scenarios. We aim to spend a day on technical day ice climbing on glacial seracs.

As a more advanced course there will always be a degree of flexibility in the content delivered. This is dependent on the experience of the participants and the need to ensure that course skills are well understood (and developed) by all involved.

Instructional days will begin at around 07:00. When climbing on good weather days you may have “alpine starts” - as early as 04:00, if tackling a longer ascent. Most day's activities will have you out for 8 to 10 hours.

We aim to have you back in Mount Cook Village by afternoon on the final full day. This allows for a "debrief" and meal at a local Mt Cook watering hole.

Day 10 - Final morning

The final morning is spent on revision, perhaps a few hours at the local crag and returning gear, before finishing around noon. Most bus transport leaves Mt Cook about 14:00, so you have time to take lunch and to bid farewell to your team mates.

+ Maximum and Minimum Bookings

Maximum Bookings: All TMC's have a maximum of 8 participants. The maximum guide to client ratio is 1 to 4.

Minimum Bookings: We guarantee to run the course you are booked on, with the following modifications:

  • One person only: We shorten the course to 6 full days
  • 2 people only: We shorten the course to 7 full days

We believe that shortening courses with low numbers, rather than cancelling them is the best service we can offer. This minimises any affects on your travel plans, and still provides a great mountaineering experience.

Smaller teams can cover instruction topics more quickly and efficiently than a larger group.

If your course is shortened we may move the start time of your course, but within the scheduled course dates. If your course is shortened we will discuss this with you well in advance of the start date.

+ Why take a course at Aoraki Mount Cook?

Because Alpine Guides is based in Mount Cook National Park, you will not be driven for hours to and from your starting point. We are right amongst the action.

The course price includes aircraft access and exit flights to maximise your time in the mountains.

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park offers:

  • Some of NZ's highest peaks (some over 3,000 metres) from NZ Alpine Grade 1 through 3 and beyond.
  • Snow and ice, mixed, and alpine rock peaks to test your mettle.
  • Ice climbing on the glacial seracs in summer.
  • More settled weather than the neighbouring West Coast

+ Mountain Hut Venues

The TMC can be run from multiple venues, your guide will chose the best venue based on general mountain conditions and the upcoming weather weather for your trip.

Tasman Saddle

A classic venue at the head of NZ’s longest glacier where most TMCs are held. Arguably, this is NZ’s best alpine training ground.

Peaks include Mount Green (2,837 m), Mount Walter (2,905 m), Hochstetter Dome (2,810 m), Mt Annan (2,934 m) and others. Tasman Saddle is slightly east of the Main Divide, often offering more settled weather than the neighbouring West Coast

Grand Plateau

Based on the massif of Aoraki/Mount Cook. This is big-mountain terrain with complex glaciation. Peaks include The Anzacs (2,528 metres) and Mount Dixon (3,004 metres).

Pioneer Hut

Visited with a settled weather forecast. Based at the at the head of the Fox Glacier, with multiple peaks from grade 1+ to 3 within close proximity.

Read more about mountain hut living conditions.

+ Maximum and Minimum Bookings

Maximum Bookings: All TMCs have a maximum of 8 participants. The maximum guide to client ratio is 1 to 4.

Minimum Bookings: We guarantee to run the course you are booked on, with the following modifications:

  • One person only: We shorten the course to 4 full days
  • 2 people only: We shorten the course to 5 full days

We believe that shortening courses with low numbers, rather than cancelling them is the best service we can offer. This minimises any affects on your travel plans, and still provides a great mountaineering experience.

Smaller teams can cover instruction topics more quickly and efficiently than a larger group.

If your course is shortened we may move the start time of your course, but within the scheduled course dates. If your course is shortened we will discuss this with you well in advance of the start date.

+ Aircraft Use

We fly the course in and out from your mountain venue, by helicopter or ski plane. The price is included in the course fees. This avoids an arduous 2 day walk in (and a 1 to 1.5 day walk out) and maximises climbing opportunities.

+ Equipment and Clothing

Please download the gear list and let us know what 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 dduring the gear-sort at the start of your course.

The weather and general 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 changes.

Read more about seasonality, weather, temperatures and snow conditions here.

 
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