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Learn modern technique at the premier NZ ice climbing area – Wye Creek in the Remarkables Range, Queenstown.

Queenstown Mountain Guides 5 day helicopter accessed ice climbing course is located at the premier  New Zealand ice climbing area – Wye Creek in the Remarkables Mountain Range, Queenstown.  

The 5 day Ice Climbing Course focuses on developing modern ice climbing technique, safe practices, and lead climbing skills. By the end of the course you will have the skills to safely independently ice climb in New Zealand or at other ice climbing areas throughout the world.

Our goal is to spend as much time ice climbing as possible. We will start the trip teaching core ice climbing skills and best safe practices for ice climbing on moderate terrain before moving onto steeper and more challenging climbs as you progress with your skills.

We start this trip with a helicopter flight from Queenstown airport directly to our base camp at the Wye Creek, the premier New Zealand Ice Climbing area. Our basecamp is surrounded by the spectacular & steep waterfall ice climbs of varying difficulty. All of the ice flows are only a short distance from our camp making it possible to get lots of climbing in each day of the course.

The 5 day course is based from a small expedition style tent camp. Tents, stoves, and instruction on expedition style snow camping will be provided.


  • Modern steep ice & mixed climbing skills
  • Ice screw placement
  • Lead climbing on ice skills
  • Rappelling & abseiling skills on ice
  • Rope skills and belaying techniques
  • Ice screw anchors
  • V threading  & abalakov anchor techniques
  • Multi-pitch climbing techniques
  • Decision making and judgement
  • Basic avalanche awareness and rescue
  • Expedition camping skills


The Ice Climbing Course is based from Wye Creek in Queenstown. this is New Zealand’s premier ice climbing destination.


Your guide will meet with you at 8.30am on the first day of the trip at the Queenstown airport.



Note that this itinerary is a sample only. Your final itinerary is subject to weather and other conditions.

Day 1

Meet 8.30am at Queenstown airport for introductions and gear check. After the helicopter safety briefing we will fly into Wye Creek and establish the tent camp.

The afternoon will be spent top rope ice climbing at an area near the tent camp. On the first day we will concentrate on core climbing skills – belaying, and modern climbing technique on water ice.

Day 2-4

Each day we will head out of camp after breakfast and climb on one of the many areas near our camp site. throughout the week each day will be a combination of lessons and climbing. One of the best parts of the ice climbing course is how much ice climbing you get to do over the 5 days. Your arms will be totally pumped by the end of the trip.

For climbers with a strong rock climbing background it is possible to learn how to lead climb on ice. This is achieved by a progression and is at the discretion of the guide.

Day 5

After breakfast we will pack up the tent camp. If your arms are strong enough we still have time for more climbing today. We will be back at the tent camp by 3.00pm for a 3.30pm helicopter pickup and flight back to Queenstown.


3 to 4 people
5 days
July to August
  • 22nd – 26th July  2024

This trip is available as a pre-organised group trip as well as for private bookings.



  • Guide fees
  • Aircraft access fees & egress fees
  • Technical equipment hire
  • Hut fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Ground transport
  • Group equipment


  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka


Experience required

For this trip, the minimum requirement is that you have an intermediate level of fitness and an interest in learning climbing & mountaineering skills. Previous climbing experience is helpful but not required.

Clothing & equipment

Winter camping and climbing in the New Zealand mountains requires that you have high quality equipment and clothing due to the extremes of weather we experience. Please ensure you look carefully at our equipment checklist. At the start of the trip your guide will go through your equipment and make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. Please organise to have your extra equipment stored at your accomodation for the duration of the trip.

It is important that you keep as close as possible to the equipment checklist. The focus is on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, but also on keeping your pack as light as possible. If your guide is meeting you at your accomodation for the start of the trip it would be helpful if you have all your equipment and clothing organised and laid out in a logical fashion so they can check that everyone has the right equipment and clothing for the trip.


Winter camping and expedition style tent camp.

Accomodation in Queenstown  before or after the trip is not included in trip costs. To organise accomodation before and after the course we recommend here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget.

Daily trip logistics

Every day in the mountains is different with changing weather, snowpack, and access conditions. When you book your trip with Queenstown Mountain Guides we will discuss your goals for the trip and the general plan. When you meet with your guide on the first morning of your trip your guide will discuss with you the weather forecast and current conditions and make a final plan for the trip. It is best to be flexible so we can ensure that you will make the most of your time with us.

At the start of the trip we will fly into the mountains at the first possible opportunity.

Each day in the mountains will typically start at 7.00am. On some days for example a serious alpine climbing objective you may be required to start climbing by as early as 2.00am to make the most of the safe frozen early morning conditions and quick glacier travel.

On any poor weather days it is possible to learn skills inside the hut – for example cliff and crevasse rescue, navigation, weather theory, avalanche awareness.

On the final day of the trip we will aim to have you back in Queenstown by approximately 5.00pm.

Aircraft access & egress

The flight into and out of Wye creek is included in the trip costs. 

Guide to participant ratios

The maximum guide to participant ratio that we guide on our ice climbing courses is 1 guide to 4 participants.

Ice climbing at wye creek
Steep ice climbing
Lead climbing on ice
Learning lead climbing on ice

“The mountaineering course with Mike Madden from Queenstown Mountain Guides was a huge step up in our mountaineering training. Mike is an amazing guide and instructor with literally a world of experience. Upon meeting Mike in Queenstown we knew this is a guy who knows his stuff. We instantly felt in safe hands. Covering a range of skills including glacier travel, crevasse rescue, ice climbing and many rope skills we feel ready to take on the next challenge. Mike has instilled in us not only a range of skills and safety consciousness that will serve us for years to come but a real sense of what is possible for us to achieve. If you want to experience an awesome week in the spectacular New Zealand mountains then call Queenstown Mountain Guides. You will love it! Thanks Mike.” 

R Holland, Australia