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CLIMB MT EARNSLAW

Mt Earnslaw is the largest peak at the head of at Lake Wakatipu and a classic New Zealand mountaineering peak.

Climbing the East Peak of Mt Earnslaw (2835m) from the Rees valley is a classic New Zealand mountaineering trip and a great mountain to progress your mountaineering skills.

Mt Earnslaw is the largest peak at the head of Lake Wakatipu and the heavily glaciated summits of the east and West Peak dominate the skyline when looking towards the main divide from Glenorchy.

Mt Earnslaw is not a technical mountaineering objective like Mt Aspiring or Mt Cook but it does require a good level of fitness and will physically challenge any mountaineer. As part of the Mt Earnslaw mountaineering expedition you will learn fundamental mountaineering skills – use of ice axe and crampons on snow and ice and use of a harness.You will also learn about mountaineering equipment and clothing on this trip; gear selection is important as unlike other classic New Zealand climbing expeditions a helicopter is not used on this trip so all equipment and food needs to be carried by the climbing party. This is a good mountain to progress your mountaineering skills and a great progression if your goal is to climb significant New Zealand 3000m peaks like Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook. 

The 4 day expedition takes place in a remote area in the Mt aspiring national park. The Rees valley and Forbes mountains are a spectacular and remote area in the New Zealand mountains at the head of Lake Wakatipu. The Rees river valley is enclosed by towering mountains, beach forest, and waterfalls, with the Mt Earnslaw massive and its glaciers dominating the valley. As we climb higher into Kea Basin and eventually Wrights Col we will have incredible views of the other mountains in the Mt Aspiring area as well as views of the Fiordland mountains including Mt Tutuko and Mt Madelaine.

The Mt Earnslaw trip starts with a drive to Glenorchy and then into the Rees valley. From Muddy Creek carpark we continue the journey on foot further up the valley crossing the river several times before zigzagging up through beach forest to Kea Basin where we spend a night under a natural rock shelter. From Kea basin we climb through alpine grasslands filled with beautiful alpine flowers and other plant species towards ice fields of the Birley Glacier. From the Birley glacier we climb towards Wrights Col and the  Esquilent Bivouac Hut.

Esquilent Bivvy sleeps up to 6 people and it is from this small hut that we make our attempt on the summit of Mt Earnslaw’s East Peak via the North face and the “Keyhole” route. From Wrights Col we climb up through scree and then through rock bluffs before traversing a ledge system before breaking out onto the summit slope.

In winter and spring time the route is covered in snow and ice and requires good ice axe and crampon technique. Later in the season ice axe and crampons are used for the glacial approach on the Birley Glacier but beyond this the route is snow free and requires moving and climbing on exposed rock steps and scree slopes.

LOCATION

Queenstown

MEETING POINT & TIME

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

ITINERARY

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

Day 1

On the first day of the trip your guide will meet you at your accommodation at 8.30am. After introductions and a look at the topographical map we will go through a gear check to make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. It’s a 1.5 hour drive to the Rees Valley and from here we will walk up the Rees valley until we intersect with the Kea Basin Track. It’s a further 1.5 hours climb to reach the Kea basin Bivvy rock where we spend the night.

Day 2

Climb above Kea Basin to the Birley Glacier and then up to Wright Col and Esquilent Bivouac Hut.

Day 3

Climb to the summit of Mt Earnslaw via the North face and the “Keyhole” route.

Day 4 

Descend back to the Rees Valley and drive back to Queenstown.

CLIMB MT EARNSLAW

1 to 2 people
4 days
From $2,650
December to April

BOOK A PRIVATE TRIP


INCLUSIONS

  • Guide fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Ground transport
  • Group equipment
  • Technical equipment hire

EXCLUSIONS

  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka

TRIP NOTES

Additional booking conditions

These are additional conditions to our standard booking terms and conditions. 

As part of the Mt Earnslaw climb a period of 4 days guiding is included in the price of the trip. It may be possible to complete the climb before the 5 day period is over. If you finish the climb early you may choose to retain the services of the guide, Fiordland has many other spectacular and challenging alpine climbing and rock climbing routes. If you choose to finish the trip early no refund is due.

Extending your 4 day Mt Earnslaw climbing trip may be possible depending on your guides commitments. The cost of extending your trip is $700 per day. If your trip is involuntarily extended the cost will be $600 per day. 

Experience required

Ideally you have a strong hiking background and a high level of fitness for this trip. You should be comfortable moving in steep exposed terrain where you will be required to rock climb.

Clothing & equipment

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.

Accomodation during the trip

On the Mt Earnslaw climbing trip we stay in alpine bivouac huts and natural rock shelters.

Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka is not included in the trip costs. Staying in Queenstown or Wanaka may happen if you are delayed entering the mountains or exit early because of the weather. Being based in Queenstown during poor weather in the high mountains will enable us to use the Remarkables mountain range as often this is sheltered from the worst of the Southern Alps weather.

Accomodation in Queenstown  before or after the trip is not included in trip costs. To organise accomodation before and after the course we recommend www.booking.com 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.

On any poor weather days it is possible to learn skills inside the hut – for example 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.

Queenstown Mountain Guides uses aircraft to fly into the mountains and this enables us to bring a good supply of fresh food on our trips. Your guide will organise breakfast, lunch, and dinner for you when  you are in the mountains. Your guide will cook your meals on a basic mountain stove but you will impressed by what is possible!

Aircraft access and egress

Aircraft access fees to the high camp on Mitre Peak are included in the trip costs. From the high camp on Mitre Peak it is a 5 hour walk out down to the boat. Flying out from high camp is also an option. The cost of the flight out is additional to the cost of the trip.

Guide to participant ratios

Mt Earnslaw is guided at a maximum 1:2 guide to client ratio.

Summit of Mire Peak
Steep rock climbing on Mitre Peak
Exposed ridge walking on the Mitre Peak Climb
Mitre Peak

TRIP TITLE

GOES HEREEEEEEEE

Tagline goes here

Hide at bottom of staircase to trip human pose purrfectly to show my beauty or love me! this human feeds me, i should be a god. Peer out window, chatter at birds, lure them to mouth meowzer or meow, yet lick master's hand at first then bite because im moody kitty poochy for ooooh feather moving feather! 

Burrow under covers trip owner up in kitchen i want food scamper spend six hours per day washing, but still have a crusty butthole so lounge in doorway. Slap the dog because cats rule plays league of legends. Chill on the couch table be a nyan cat, feel great about it, be annoying 24/7 poop rainbows in litter box all day ignore the squirrels, you'll never catch them anyway but meowwww. Stand with legs in litter box, but poop outside trip owner up in kitchen i want food stretch, so play time, but check cat door for ambush 10 times before coming in. Mice.

Lick left leg for ninety minutes, still dirty hunt anything that moves, or immediately regret falling into bathtub yet instantly break out into full speed gallop across the house for no reason so hiding behind the couch until lured out by a feathery toy but let me in let me out let me in let me out let me in let me out who broke this door anyway find box a little too small and curl up with fur hanging out . Sweet beast.

INSTRUCTION TOPICS MAY INCLUDE

  • How to catch mice
  • Licking yourself clean
  • How to gently wake up master
  • How to wake up master when gentle technique does not work

POSSIBLE DESCENTS

  • Minarets (3040m) 800m + ski descent
  • Elie De Beaumont (3,109m) 800 m + ski descent
  • Pioneer to Chancellor Hut 1000m ski descent
  • Hochsetter Dome (2810m) 500m+ ski descent
  • Murchison Headwall descent to Murchison Hut
  • Mt Hamilton, Bonney Glacier, and Turnbull Glaciers 700m + ski descent
  • Whataroa Saddle and Mannering Glacier, Aida Glacier, Mount Cooper 800m + ski descent

LOCATION

Pisa Range near Queenstown and Wanaka

MEETING POINT & TIME

Your guide will meet with you at 8.30am on the first day of the trip at your accomodation. Alternatively, you are welcome to come to our office at Unit 403, 875 Frankton Rd in Queenstown.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

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

Day 1

On the first morning of the camp we will meet at 8.30am at our office in Queenstown. We will discuss current snow & mountain conditions and look at the weather forecast for the trip. The final decision on the camp location will be decided by the guide and based on the location that will provide the best conditions for the week.

Your guide will check through all of your equipment and make sure you have everything you need for the trip. After the equipment check we will travel to the mountains. This will take approximately 2.5 depending on the location of the trip. Once we arrive at the location we will fly into the mountains at the first opportunity.

Day2

Exciting things to do on day 2.

Day 3

More exciting things to do on day 3 before packing up and going home.

SKI MOUNTAINEERING COURSE

3 - 4 people

6 days

$2,700

July to late September

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

JOIN A GROUP TRIP

REQUEST A PRIVATE TRIP/COURSE

PRIVATE TRIPS

People1234
5 days$5,295$3,095$2,350$1,195
6 days$6,095$3,495$2,695$2,295
7 days$6,695$3,995$3,050$2,595
8 days$7,395$4,395$3,400$2,895
9 days$8,195$4,850$3,795$3,195
10 days$8,850$5,295$4,150$3,450

INCLUSIONS

  • Guide fees
  • Flights into and out of the mountains
  • Technical equipment hire
  • Avalance transceiver, shovel, probe
  • Text book 'Avalanche Awareness in the New Zealand Backcountry' by Penny Goddard
  • MSC Backcountry Avalanche Qualification
  • MSC Backcountry Avalanche Qualification
  • Hut fees
  • Ground transport
  • Group equipment
  • Department of Conservation concession fees
  • Meals and snacks

EXCLUSIONS

  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Ski touring skis & boot hire

TRIP NOTES

Experience required

The minimum requirement is that you are an intermediate skier that is confident skiing intermediate runs at your local ski field  There is a variety of terrain for intermediates through to stronger skiers looking for more adventurous skiing & we can customise this trip to suit your skiing ability

What to bring
Clothing & equipment

Skiing & 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.

Ski touring equipment and split boards can be hired from Small Planet Outdoors, 17 Shotover St, Queenstown. For snowboarders Queenstown Mountain Guides rents snow shoes for $25 per day that can be used as an alternative to a split board setup.

Accomodation during the trip

In the mountains you will stay in mountains huts. These dormitory style huts are cosy and provide good shelter form the elements, they are all located in spectacular locations, but they are also basic. The huts have water, cooking facilities, a mountain radio, and a bunk area with individual mattresses. There are no showers or electrical sockets for recharging.

For overnights in Mt Cook village & Fox Glacier we will stay in the New Zealand Alpine Club huts. These dormitory style huts have shared bathroom facilities.

Accomodation in Queenstown before or after the trip is not included in trip costs.

To organise accomodation in Queenstown, we recommend www.booking.com. Here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget. The cost of accomodation in Queenstown is not included in your trip costs.

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 we may start earlier, for example if we have a serious ski mountaineering objective that requires an early start.

On any poor weather days it is possible to learn skills inside the hut - for example 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.

Guide to participant ratios

The maximum guide to participant ratio that we ski guide in glaciated at is 1 guide to 4 participants. In glaciated terrain groups larger than 4 participants require an extra guide. In non glaciated terrain we can run trips with 6 participants to 1 guide.

Man in green jacket standing in skis
Mountain hut
Digging into snow
Man skiing by rocky mountain

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Mt Earnslaw

Climbing the East Peak of Mt Earnslaw (2835m) from the Rees valley is a classic New Zealand mountaineering trip and a great mountain to progress your mountaineering skills.

Mt Earnslaw is not a technical mountaineering objective like Mt Aspiring or Mt Cook but it does require a good level of fitness and will physically challenge any mountaineer. Unlike other classic New Zealand climbing expeditions a helicopter is not used on this trip so all equipment and food needs to be carried by the climbing party.

1 to 2 people
4 days
From $2,650
December to April