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Clothing & equipment
On each trip page you will find a link to the equipment list under the more information heading.

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.

Fitness & training for mountaineering

Mountaineering & backcountry skiing/riding is a physically demanding sport. Fitness helps with safety, enjoyment, and leads to a higher probability of success on mountaineering ascents. The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your time in the mountains.

On significant mountaineering ascents you may be required to climb for up to 8 to 15 hours with only short breaks. Climbing New Zealand’s highest mountains requires a very high level of fitness and stamina. If you do not regularly climb or hike with a pack you will need to train for mountaineering. Queenstown Mountain Guides recommends a combination of aerobic, strength, and endurance training.

  • Aerobic training (hill running or cycling for 1 hour 2-3 times per week)
  • Strength training (lifting weights in the gym 2-3 times per week)
  • Endurance training closer to your trip (long hill walks of 6-8 hours with 5-10kgs in your pack once per week)
How heavy will my pack be?
For most of our trips we use aircraft access to get to the mountain hut or tent camp. Once established at the hut we can leave extra equipment in the hut or camp while we are out skiing and climbing. You can expect your pack to weigh between 5 – 10kgs while climbing and skiing. If you are required to walk out at the end of your trip you may be required to carry up to 20kgs in your pack. Please stick as closely as possible to the equipment list so we can keep your pack weight as light as possible.
Queenstown Mountain Guides provides all meals and snack food on our multi-day trips. Aircraft access allows us to bring in a good supply of fresh and quality food. Our guides are great cooks and will prepare filling, tasty, and nutritious meals while on the trip. If you have any special dietary requirements please let us know well in advance of the trip starting so we can cater for you.
Communication, electronics & mobile phone coverage in the mountains
Our guides carry satellite phones with them in the mountains. These phones are for checking in regularly with our office, gathering the latest weather information, organising aircraft logistics, and in case of emergency. It is possible for your friends and family to pass on messages to our office who will then in turn pass the message to our guide in the mountains when they check in on a daily basis.

Once in the mountains there are no electrical sockets for charging electronic equipment. The best strategy is to leave Queenstown with fully charged equipment and carry spare batteries for your camera. In most remote mountain areas in New Zealand there is no mobile phone coverage. You can travel with mobile phones to the airport but beyond here it is often better to leave these behind in the vehicle for the duration of the trip.

What if the weather is bad on my trip?

The New Zealand mountains are famous for their periods of poor weather hence the expedition style of New Zealand mountaineering, ski touring, and trekking trips. 

When you book a mountain trip you are booking a guide for the duration of the trip. If poor weather prevents you from proceeeding with the original plan your guide will offer you alternative options. It is best to be flexible so we can ensure that you will make the most of your time with us.

Weather is a significant factor in decision making and safety in the mountains. Your guide will make decisions about travel and safety based on the weather forecast and weather observations while in the mountains.

Prior to your trip the office and your guide will look closely at the weather forecasted for the duration of the trip. Once in the mountains your guide will collect regular weather updates from our office by satellite phone and also from the nightly hut radio schedules.

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. 

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

Travel to Queenstown & getting around Queenstown

Queenstown International Airport is located only 10 minutes drive from the town centre. The airport is serviced by regular international and domestic flights making getting to Queenstown a very easy and efficient option.

Once you arrive in Queenstown there are plenty of transport options. Its only a 10 minute ride into the centre of Queenstown from the airport and there are plenty of taxis waiting for customers. You can find some information here about transportation from the airport and around Queenstown:

Accommodation 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 in the high mountain huts, we advise people to bring wet wipes with them to help stay clean. Toilets are long drops, famous for their exposure and incredible views.

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.

If we stay in Queenstown or Wanaka during the duration of the trip the costs of this accommodation are not included in the trip costs. However you will be reimbursed at $40 per person per night.

Accommodation in Queenstown

To organise accommodation before and after a trip we recommend  or air bnb. Here you will find a wide range of accommodation depending on your preferred style and budget. There is so much accommodation in Queenstown to choose from… you can pick your type, location and budget.


Mountain rescue insurance & ACC

If you are injured while on a climbing, skiing, or trekking trip with us, the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) will cover the costs of evacuation, medical treatment, and re-habilitation. ACC coverage applies to all visitors to New Zealand. ACC does not cover you in case of illness. Please go to the following link to see what ACC covers.

ACC does not cover you if you need to be repatriated to your home country in the case of a serious accident in the mountains. Below is a list of insurance providers that may be able to cover you for guided mountaineering activities while you are with us.

Trip cancellation insurance

Queenstown Mountain Guides highly recommend purchasing travel cancellation insurance in case you have to cancel your trip at short notice for unforeseen circumstances for example an injury or a family emergency.

Please contact your travel agent or insurance company for more information on this. For New Zealand residents the New Zealand Alpine Club provides trip cancellation insurance.

Loss of deposits insurance for New Zealand Alpine Club members