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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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.
Food
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: https://www.queenstownairport.co.nz/travelling/parking-transport/transport-options

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 booking.com.  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

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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Man in green jacket standing in skis

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