For climbers and hikers - a NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) accredited course
Recognized by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, this Backcountry Avalanche Course is designed to deliver quality avalanche education for a minimum price.
The course is designed for people who want to hike, snowshoe or climb in winter or spring in the backcountry and up in the high mountains. The focus is on survival skills, trip preparation and avalanche decision making. While the goal is to not be caught in an avalanche, time will be spent learning small party self rescue.
It will help to have some basic knowledge of backcountry winter conditions and travel (see Avalanche Awareness Course). Previous experience in winter backcountry travel is recommended. The course will be taught using a variety of local backcountry access points such a local ski areas.
This course is based from Aspiring Guides offices on the lakefront in Wanaka.
This course was a fantastic introduction to avalanches generally, to reading NZ terrain and weather, to safe travel and rescue techniques, and to general considerations for heading out into areas with avalanche risk. I hoped to come away from the course with a heightened sense of awareness about the sorts of conditions and terrain that could produce avalanches, and to make informed decisions about route selection (and whether or not to go at all). And the course provided exactly this sort of training. The weather also contributed immensely to my learning in the course. Where I was (and still am somewhat) wary of traveling in whiteout conditions or conditions with low visibility, experiencing these conditions, and having a guide like Dan who talked us through specific challenges associated with the conditions, instilled in me a bit more confidence about safely negotiating the terrain, should I find myself in similar conditions in the future.
Optional Additions :
Dates don't suit? Contact us and we will see what we can do.
Also if you would like a private course for your own group we can discuss other dates.
It is recommended that participants have some familiarity with winter backcountry travel.
A moderate level of fitness is required. Participants need to be able to travel up steep hills and be strong enough to handle variable conditions.
Minimum number to run scheduled course is 3 pax, but we can run private courses for less people.
Course participants will be responsible for organising their own transport to & from the course venues, food, and accommodation in Wanaka for the duration of the course.
NZMGA/IFMGA Qualified Guide
MSC Backcountry Course - Participant workbook
Avalanche Awareness in the New Zealand Backcountry (2008, NZ)
Extra costs apply if tent/snow cave/Black Peak options are chosen.
Each day we meet at the Aspiring Guides office in Wanaka at 8:30. After a gear check we go to that day's field destination. Your instructor will pick which venue is most appropriate for the day's weather and snow conditions. Instruction will start at the beginning and learning will be broken into manageable parts.
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