About Us

Internationally experienced, professional and qualified guides

In New Zealand and worldwide, our mountaineering achievements combine with a comprehensive knowledge of guiding and instruction. These are the fundamental ingredients in providing a safe and enlightening connection between our guests and the mountain environment. While our activities are centred from our base in the Mount Aspiring region, our permits and experience extend throughout the Southern Alps including Fiordland, Westland and Mt Cook National Parks. This is a vast area diverse in geography.

Your safety is our priority.

We have 'hand-picked' specialist guides from within the industry.  Nothing affects the enjoyment of a trip more that the people you are with and we pride ourselves in matching discerning clients with experienced and personable guides.   Our climbing team are qualified through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. The NZMGA are affiliated to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association who governs mountain guiding worldwide. Our high level of expertise, comprehensive logistics support and refreshing personalities are the basis of Aspiring Guides' internationally renowned reputation for providing a quality and personalised service.

Meet our team:


Please contact us if you are interested in any of the following positions: 
Tim Steward, Chief Guide 

MOUNTAIN GUIDES - October 2017 to April 2018  
Qualifications: IFMGA Guide or Aspirant GuideNZMGA Climbing Guide or Assistant Climbing Guide (or overseas equivalent)  

Work is available for qualified Mountain Guides for the summer season commencing October 2017. Work will involve a mixture of ascents and instruction courses. 



Tim Steward

Tim Steward

Tim comes from the UK where, due to a limited amount of  snow and ice, spent his years time studying mechanical engineering to persist in going rock climbing all through the year, in all weathers through out the UK and Europe.  Summers were spent climbing around Europe and hanging out in the European Alps. After starting off designing floor joists and aircraft seats, Tim decided that there were more fun things to do and began leading expeditions and trekking trips.

After travelling, climbing and hiking around New Zealand on a long holiday, Tim and his (now) wife decided to stay and he decided to embark on new career guiding.  He has been guiding throughout the Southern Alps since 2010 and took over as Chief Guide in 2016.

Tim has led moutaineering, rock climbing and trekking trips to Nepal, Peru, Russia, Africa, China and South East Aisa.  As often as possible, Tim is out rock climbing or up in the hills skiing and climbing for work or play. Currently he is enjoying a bit more time at home helping look after his young son. Bryn and looking forward to introducing him into some mountain adventures soon. 

His favorite spot in NZ include is the Darrans for alpine rock or winter climbing and Castle Hill for a spot of bouldering. 

Chief Guide, IFMGA - New Zealand

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney, originally from Jackson Hole US, has and climbed and skied throughout New Zealand since 1979. After living and working in here for over 20 years, together with his partner, decided to create a high end backcountry travel experience and hence Wild Walks NZ was created.

Whitney is a former Chief Guide of Aspiring Guides and Training Officer of the NZ Mountain Guides Association. He has over 50 ascents of Mount Aspiring and countless Southern Alps adventures. In 1990 he won the  World Telemark Giant Slalom Championships and has also won four North American Telemark Championships. He takes pride in cooking fluffy rice in adverse conditions. Whitney has also skied, trekked and climbed throughout the world, more recently on a number of European ski tours.

When he is not in the mountains he is normally haning out on the wild south coast or Peru, surfing with and without his kite.

There will only ever be one Whit. If you have ever met him in a mountain hut, you will have experienced  his hospitality. If you’ve ever spent a bit longer in a mountain hut with him, you might even have gone round the loop on his extensive repertoire of stories, anecdotes and w[h]itticisms.

IFMGA - New Zealand


Andrea Bruni

Andrea is originally from the Dolomites, a beautiful place in the eastern Alps but has spent most of the last 3 years living and working in New Zealand.

He has always lived in close contact with the mountain, skiing as a child and then climbing in the Dolomites and around the Alps. Andrea Graduated in Forestry and Environmental Sciences and certified as an IFMGA Guide in 2009.

More recently he began traveling around the world, Australia, New Zealand Alaska, Patagonia Chile, Madagascar, Cuba, for rock climbing, skiing and mountaineering before finding his way back to NZ .

Andrea enjoys "beautiful places, people ... and the food (after all, I'm Italian)."

IFMGA - Italy/New Zealand

New Zealand Ski Tour

Nick Cradock
Nick is one of NZ's most prestigious alpine climbers and experienced mountain guides. He has been working as a qualified IFMGA guide for over 30 years,  pioneering ski guiding in India as well as in Russia and Greenland and more recently establishing many new rock routes around Wanaka and the Darrans. 

IFMGA Mountain and Ski Guide

Tai Naka

Tai grew up skiing in Hokkaido, the island of ‘Japow’ in Japan.

He moved to NZ in 2001 hoping to become an outdoor instructor or guide. Soon after he discovered unique club fields in Canterbury and the Craigieburn/Arthur’s Pass area - which became his backcountry playground.

While woking as a glacier guide on the South Island's West Coast, he explored the endless glaciers and peaks of the Southern Alps skiing and climbing as much as time would allow.

Tai never has a dull moment being a passionate skier, climber, whitewater kayaker, hunter, fisherman and mountain biker.

NZMGA Aspirant Mountain and Ski Guide


Dan Phillips

Growing up in Perth, West Australia, Dan worked Outdoor Instructor for a few years leading rock climbing, kayaking and bushwalking trips. He soon discovered snow and ice in New Zealand and was hooked on being in the mountains. He is a passionate skier and rock climber.

In 2008  Dan began work as a ski patroller on the ski hills and guiding on the west coast glaciers. He has spent the last 3 summers as a Team Leader for Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Search and Rescue and Snow Safety Officer for Mt Hutt Ski field during winters.

Dan has also spent time climbing in Europe as well as Ski Patrolling and Cat Ski guiding in Canada.

In his spare time Dan enjoys hunting, fishing and 4WD-ing in his big red  60 series Landcruiser called 'Helga', listening predominantly to Led Zeppelin on vinyl and watching a few modern classic movies. Sometimes even the odd round of golf.

NZMGA Aspirant Mountain and Ski Guide


Tony Donaldson

Tony grew up on the remote West Coast of New Zealand and when he was old enough to go to work, his father sent him down to a guy named Mike Brown to see if he could learn a trade. Mike runs New Zealand’s first Glacier guiding company and Tony was put to work swinging a 5 pound ice axe cutting steps in the ice for tourists. That was 15 years ago and Tony has been working in the mountains ever since. He works as a professional ski patroller running Ohau skifield in the winter. Tony has an adventure lifestyle that is hard to keep up with. A prodigious climber, Tony is quick to laugh and hard to faze. He is a great companion in the mountains.



Aritza Monasterio

Aritza has lived and guided in Peru's Cordillia Blanca for over 25 years and operates a lodge in Huarez. He spends the Peruvian off-season guiding for Aspiring Guides in New Zealand.  

Aritza pioneered some of the Cordilla Blanca's hardest climbs including the West Face of Chacraraju. More importantly he is known as a tireless guide (it must come from his years at altitude) who is meticulous in his planning and fun to be with in the mountains.

Aritza is trip leader for our Peru climbing and trekking operations

IFMGA - Peru/New Zealand

Andy Cole

Andy Cole

Andy has been an army mountaineering and survival instructor for many years. After leaving the Army, he took up a position as an Antarctic Field trainer, leadership and personal development facilitator. Before coming to guiding, Andy trained as an aircraft technician and trade instructor as well as being a Geo technician and rock blaster. There's not much that Andy can't turn his hand to! And in his spare time there's nothing he likes better than to go ski touring and sailing with his two sons.

IFMGA - New Zealand


Xavier Fournier

Xavier is coming back for Winter 2016 and Summer 2016/17.

IFMGA - Switzerland/New Zealand


Gianni Predan

I was born in 1955 north-eastern Italy, after completing my studies in 1975 I moved to Ivrea to work in an electronics company and I started attending the Western Alps making many beautiful classic climbs. I obtained a licence as mountain guide in 1995, leaving then in '98 my job to work as a guide and at the same time to perform rope access works. Normally in the summer I work as a mountain guide full time generally in the Western Alps (Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso Valais, ...) while in winter next to the activity of ski mountaineering and some ice-climbing I also work on tree- climbing .I had also the opportunity to do some climbs outside Europe, in Yosemite, Patagonia, ..

IFMGA - Italy/New Zealand


Backcountry skiing New Zealand

Steve Schreiber
One of NZ's most experieinced ski guides

NZMGA Ski Guide


Mark Evans
Mark has an extensive ski and winter background working as a Ski Patroller at the Remarkables and more recently on the avalanche programme for the Milford Road.

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide

Black Peak Hut sunset

Paul Nicholson
Paul joins us for the 2017 winter season

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide


Anna Loomes
Growing up in rural South Canterbury, Anna was introduced to the joys of bush bashing and back country huts at an early age. This soon developed into a passion for skiing and snowboarding and through this, a love for the alpine environment and the beauty and challenges to be found there. 

Following a year at Aoraki Polytech in her early twenties, Anna went to spend winters at the remote club ski fields and summers on the west coast glaciers. For the last few years she has been working as a ski patroller on Mt Ruapehu and the Remarkables in Queenstown and as a glacier and trekking guide in the Aoraki Mt Cook area. More recently she has qualified as an assistant ski guide and looking forward to applying her guiding skills and mountain knowledge in this new area.

In her spare time Anna likes to be biking, scrambling, carrying her skis through thick alpine scrub or hiding away with a coffee and a book.

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide and Alpine Trekking Guide, Hard Ice Guide


Tom Willmott

“Tom loves all things snowboarding and sharing his passion for surfing the mountain with all those around him.  He has been based in Wanaka for the past 17 winters and when not guiding works for Snowsports NZ as the Head Coach of New Zealand’s Freeski and Snowboard teams travelling the globe from one training camp or competition to the next.  A former World Cup competitor and 3-time Olympic coach, Tom juggles his time between coaching in the halfpipe, guiding in the backcountry and spending time with his young family.”

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide



Jessica Marriott

Jessica ("Jess") is not only the Aspiring Guides Operations Manager, she also gets out into the field to spend time with our clients.  Jessica has NZOIA Senior Instructor Rockclimbing, Bush 2 & Alpine 1 qualifications.  When she's not organising everything that goes back at Base, or guiding on our Wild Walks treks, she escapes to climb some seriously high grade rock climbs. Quick with a giggle, Jess has a relaxed but caring manner that builds confidance with all her clients.

Trekking Guide & AG Operations Manager


Jo Haines

Jo has been wandering the hills since she was a teenager. As well as years exploring the NZ Southern Alps on transalpine trips and climbing NZ’s well known and less well know peaks, she has been fortunate to have spent time in the Himalaya, on the rock walls in Australia and the USA and hanging out with Emperor penguins in Antarctica.

Jobs past and present include instructing at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, working in Antarctica and the Himalaya, teaching high school physics and designing websites or working in the mountains around her local town of Wanaka. Back-country telemarking and skate skiing keeps the smile on her face in winter.

Trekking Guide

George Cummings

George is a bit secretive when it comes to writing a bio about himself (we suspect he is actually a secret agent)....so here's some of what our clients have been saying about him.  

"George was laid back but always ready to answer questions patiently. His manner definitely suited us"

"It was a very relaxing, stress free trip. Everything from food to accommodation was very well organised making it an enjoyable trip"

Trekking Guide


Michael Hoare


Trekking Guide

Administration Team


Dave Hardy

Dave Hardy

Dave has returned home to Otago after 25 years of travelling the world and latterly living in North Canterbury. My background in sales and management  is slightly different to our other team members but my passion for the outdoors and love of the mountains makes the transition to Aspiring Guides and the Adventure Tourism industry an easy fit. My interests include Skiing, Tramping and Running and after years of being confined to a desk I can't wait to experience some of our amazing products first hand. I look forward to continuing the amazing service offered by the previous owners and feel privileged to be part of such a professional team.



Jessica Marriott

Jess has come all the way from the tropics of Darwin and she has a passion for rock climbing and mountaineering. She’s got a degree in Music and a diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management. She loves to guide and instruct in the outdoors and holds NZOIA Rock 2, Alpine 1 & Bush 2 qualifications. When away from the office Jess is usually out climbing, biking or skiing.

General Manager

Henrick Forsberg

Henrick grew up in Northern Norway growing up being in the outdoors and lots of skiing.  When he was 16 he started competing in Biathlon (which includes cross counrty skiing and shooting) and soon after reached the national level and was part of the Swedish National Team for 2 years.  After this chapter he went on to travel and explore the world, eventually ending up in Wanaka.  He spent two seasons at Snowfarm and decided he would like to stick around.  Now based year round here in Wanaka and at Aspiring Guides.

Operations Manager


Robyn Brighouse

After many years of dreaming about mountain climbing Robyn participated in a Mountain Skills Course with Aspiring Guides in 2003. She loved it so much she continued in the same year with a Black Peak Ice Climbing Trip and a summit of Mt Aspiring. In 2004 Robyn travelled to Peru to join an Aspiring Guides expedition in the Cordillera Blanca and summitted Ishinca and Alpamayo. As she was spending so much time in the office Aspiring Guides decided to employ her to help out in the office. 

Bookings & Administration


Carla Strong

Carla was brought up in the South Island and after spending years adventuring around the world has landed in Wanaka and started calling it home.  She loves the outdoors and has instructed and lead trips in NZ, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Tanzania, Nicaragua,  Costa Rica and Ecuador.   Her time off is spent in the mountains, running and biking around the local tracks or dreaming up her next adventure!

Bookings & Adminstration

"Whatever the season -
summer or winter, the
New Zealand Southern
Alps provide a breathtaking
venue for adventure. Let us
share our passion for the
mountains with you."

Tim Steward
Chief Guide, IFMGA/ UIAGM

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