Mt Aspiring Expedition Course


Climbing on Mount Aspiring

"...genuine commitment to our enjoying the experience"

Martyn, Australia, 2017

"I have never considered using a guide previously, preferring to manage under my own steam. Realised for this objective this was not appropriate. It was a privilege to be guided by Ervin who was gentle with us, rather than domineering, and extremely “steady”.Ervin ensured he took into account our levels of fitness and capabilities effectively and professionally. It was good having my son along and him enjoying the trip, All office staff were extremely helpful, friendly and approachable.  I would recommend Aspiring Guides for their competence, genuine commitment to our enjoying the experience, flexibility, generosity, and employing excellent guides."

More Information

Mount Aspiring (3027m/9928ft) is the only 3000m peak outside of Mount Cook National Park. It is an iconic peak that is often called the “Matterhorn of the South” and its aesthetic beauty attracts climbers from all over the world.

The course syllabus includes:

•   Mountain hazards identification and avoidance including avalanche awareness.
•   Mountain weather. 
•   Ropework, including belay, abseiling and rescue.
•   Protection and anchors on snow, rock and ice.
•   Glacier travel techniques and crevasse rescue.
•   Snow, ice and mixed climbing.
•   Alpine rock climbing.
•   Mountain shelter and camp management.
•   Equipment and clothing selection.
•   Route selection & navigation.
•   Trip planning including weather and conditions, human factors and terrain assessment.

The course develops and expands on essential skills enabling you to move with confidence through the mountain environment and preparing you for more demanding routes and summits. At the end of the course you will be a competent member of a mountaineering partnership, being able to contribute to decision making and attempt ascents of 3000m peaks via routes graded 2 to 3 (NZ grade) or undertake guided ascents of more technical objectives.    

Available Dates

Dates 2019/20 Status
8 - 15  Nov FULL
22 - 29 Nov Open
7 - 14 Dec Open
28 Dec - 4 Jan Open
9 - 16 Jan Open
23 - 30 Jan Open
Inquire about availability for Feb, March, April  

COURSE FULL?  Still get in touch with us, we offer a range of excellent alternative options.

Have a look at our Advanced Mountaineering Course for a great alternative.

Mt Aspiring offers excellent conditions from Nov until April.
Places fill quickly for Nov, Dec and early Jan.


Technical Difficulty

This course is designed for people with some mountaineering experieince or may have previously done an introductory mountaineering course. For courses run from late December onwards, being comfortable climbing grade 14 rock will be benefitial. Previous experience with knots, belaying and rope work will be an asset and can be practiced beforehand at a climbing gym.  This course is the time to concentrate on the skills that will be the foundation for all your future alpine adventures.  Skills such as good footwork with crampon and ice axe are essential for your safety.  Our instructor will show you the right way to protect your self and gain a lifetime of solid technical skills.

Physical Difficulty

No one will ever tell you that alpine climbing is easy.  The better shape you are in the more you will be able enjoy the course. Instruction courses are different than ascents in that we are able to adjust the physical difficulty to the group.  Some days are spent with learning focused activity while other days are more physically challenging.  Expect to be pushed hard physically but there will be time to recharge your batteries.  Participants need to be accustomed to regular exercise.  You should be able maintain a slow but steady pace up and down steep hills carrying a 10-15kg pack. Being able to climb 300m vertical meters in under an hour is a good endurance training aim. Good balance and coordination and a comfort with heights will be required.

Price Details

Guide Ratio   Price per person
1:2 8 days NZ $4,850 


What's Included
  • guide fees
  • meals and energy snacks
  • alpine hut / tent accommodation
  • technical equipment - see equipment section below for details
  • 150 page technical instruction manual
  • radio network or satellite phone comms
  • national park & landing fees
  • 15% goods and services tax.
Not included-
  • Helicopter flight in

Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Day One

We meet at our offices 8:30am in Wanaka.  After meeting your guide your gear is checked and rental equipment fitted.  Any last minute questions you have will be answered and there is usually time for a quick visit to the shop if you have forgotten something.  The drive to Cattle Flat helicopter staging area is approximately 20 min. down the magnificent Matukituki Valley. Dress for the alpine environment since you will be landing at Bevan Col on the edge of the Bonar Glacier, a whole new world. Here we fit crampons, rope together for glacier travel, and walk over the glacier for approximately two hours to Colin Todd hut (1800m) or alternatively camp if the weather is fine. Mid summer rewards us with day light until 9-10pm. Cramponing and self arresting skills are taught and demonstrated by the guide and practiced until it becomes second nature. We go over the basic skills to ensure a consistency of technique before moving onto the more advanced skills. 

Colin Todd Hut

Day Two

We believe in learning by doing so after instruction on roping up for glacier travel we like to get in a tour of the local area.  Following the Ship Owner Ridge is a great day out taking in the Therma Glacier and views of the west coast.  By the end of the day you will be accomplished at traveling through crevassed areas and safely roping up to your partner. 

Day Three

Today we make an ascent of Mt Rolling Pin. This allows us to put skills learned on previous days into practice on an ascent.  This awesome looking peak is surprisingly easy if you know the route but with steep snow and ice and even a little rock, it is the perfect place to be introduced to using anchors and pitching.  The exposed traverse along the summit ridge is guaranteed to keep your attention!

Mt Rolling Pin

Day Four

Today we can move into more technical aspects such as ice climbing and crevasse rescue.  Using some of the technical terrain that you will be encountering on the approach the next day, this is a chance to inspect the route up Mount Aspiring. Placing ice screws, V threads and equalizing anchors will be covered. A radio call provides the latest weather forecast each evening.

Instruction Course on Mt Aspiring

Day Five

Summit Day! The weather still holds so our alpine starts at 4am. You and your partner will be climbing under the watchful eye of the guide who will step in and help as needed. Speed is important since this will be a big day.  Usually the climb takes between 12 and 14 hours.  The route will vary according the time of year and conditions but no matter which way you go, it will be a challenging climb!  

Day Six

A well deserved sleep rests everyone. Bad weather rolls in giving us a chance to focus on navigation, weather and advanced rope skills that can be practiced in the hut. 

Local Kea

Day Seven

Ascent of Mt Bevan. This peak dominates the end of the Matukituki Valley and is a fitting final summit for your trip. This peak is on the route out and if you mistakenly thought the excitement was over you will find the famed Bevan Col descent to the valley floor to be a real wake up. Reaching the valley floor we often bivi at the beautiful (but hard to find) Oats Bivi.


Day Eight

The walk down valley takes you into native bush and the steep track finally reaches level ground about 2 hours from the car park.  Here you discover why we have been working at traveling light, tired legs pushed to the limit.  With a quick lunch at Aspiring Hut it is a race to the trail head and a hot shower. A debrief at our office usually includes a cold beverage and few moments of contemplation on our deck overlooking Lake Wanaka.

Equipment Details

This video provides practical demonstration of the common equipment and clothing required for mountaineering.

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