About Us

Internationally experienced, professional and qualified guides

In New Zealand and worldwide, our mountaineering achievements combine with a comprehensive knowledge of the history of guiding and instruction. These are the fundamental ingredients in providing a safe and enlightening connection between our guests and the mountain environment.

While our activities are centred from our base in the Mount Aspiring region, our permits and experience extend throughout the Southern Alps including Fiordland, Westland and Mt Cook National Parks. This is a vast area, diverse in geography.

Your safety is our priority.

We have 'hand-picked' specialist guides from within the industry, in light of their qualifications, knowledge, experience level and communication skills. Our guiding team are qualified through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. The NZMGA are affiliated to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association who governs mountain guiding worldwide. Our high level of expertise, comprehensive logistics support and refreshing personalities are the basis of Aspiring Guides' internationally renowned reputation for providing a quality and personalised service.

Meet our team:

Climbing

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney, originally from Jackson Hole US, has and climbed and skied throughout New Zealand since 1979. After living and working in here for over 20 years, together with his partner, decided to create a high end backcountry travel experience and hence Wild Walks NZ was created.

Whitney is a former Chief Guide of Aspiring Guides and Training Officer of the NZ Mountain Guides Association. He has over 50 ascents of Mount Aspiring and countless Southern Alps adventures. In 1990 he won the  World Telemark Giant Slalom Championships and has also won four North American Telemark Championships. He takes pride in cooking fluffy rice in adverse conditions. Whitney has also skied, trekked and climbed throughout the world, more recently on a number of European ski tours.

When he is not in the mountains he is normally haning out on the wild south coast or Peru, surfing with and without his kite.

There will only ever be one Whit. If you have ever met him in a mountain hut, you will have experienced  his hospitality. If you’ve ever spent a bit longer in a mountain hut with him, you might even have gone round the loop on his extensive repertoire of stories, anecdotes and w[h]itticisms.

IFMGA - New Zealand

Hiking

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Jessica Marriott

Jessica ("Jess") is not only the Aspiring Guides Operations Manager, she also gets out into the field to spend time with our clients.  Jessica has NZOIA Senior Instructor Rockclimbing, Bush 2 & Alpine 1 qualifications.  When she's not organising everything that goes back at Base, or guiding on our Wild Walks treks, she escapes to climb some seriously high grade rock climbs. Quick with a giggle, Jess has a relaxed but caring manner that builds confidance with all her clients.

Trekking Guide & AG Operations Manager

Jo-Haines

Jo Haines

Jo has been wandering the hills since she was a teenager. As well as years exploring the NZ Southern Alps on transalpine trips and climbing NZ’s well known and less well know peaks, she has been fortunate to have spent time in the Himalaya, on the rock walls in Australia and the USA and hanging out with Emperor penguins in Antarctica.

Jobs past and present include instructing at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, working in Antarctica and the Himalaya, teaching high school physics and designing websites or working in the mountains around her local town of Wanaka. Back-country telemarking and skate skiing keeps the smile on her face in winter.

Trekking Guide



George Cummings

George is a bit secretive when it comes to writing a bio about himself (we suspect he is actually a secret agent)....so here's some of what our clients have been saying about him.  

"George was laid back but always ready to answer questions patiently. His manner definitely suited us"

"It was a very relaxing, stress free trip. Everything from food to accommodation was very well organised making it an enjoyable trip"

Trekking Guide

michael-hoare

Michael Hoare

...

Trekking Guide

Administration Team

dave

Dave Hardy

Dave Hardy

Dave has returned home to Otago after 25 years of travelling the world and latterly living in North Canterbury. My background in sales and management  is slightly different to our other team members but my passion for the outdoors and love of the mountains makes the transition to Aspiring Guides and the Adventure Tourism industry an easy fit. My interests include Skiing, Tramping and Running and after years of being confined to a desk I can't wait to experience some of our amazing products first hand. I look forward to continuing the amazing service offered by the previous owners and feel privileged to be part of such a professional team.

Director

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Jessica Marriott

Jess has come all the way from the tropics of Darwin and she has a passion for rock climbing and mountaineering. She’s got a degree in Music and a diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management. She loves to guide and instruct in the outdoors and holds NZOIA Rock 2, Alpine 1 & Bush 2 qualifications. When away from the office Jess is usually out climbing, biking or skiing.

General Manager



Henrick Forsberg

Henrick grew up in Northern Norway growing up being in the outdoors and lots of skiing.  When he was 16 he started competing in Biathlon (which includes cross counrty skiing and shooting) and soon after reached the national level and was part of the Swedish National Team for 2 years.  After this chapter he went on to travel and explore the world, eventually ending up in Wanaka.  He spent two seasons at Snowfarm and decided he would like to stick around.  Now based year round here in Wanaka and at Aspiring Guides.

Operations Manager

Robyn_Brighouse

Robyn Brighouse

After many years of dreaming about mountain climbing Robyn participated in a Mountain Skills Course with Aspiring Guides in 2003. She loved it so much she continued in the same year with a Black Peak Ice Climbing Trip and a summit of Mt Aspiring. In 2004 Robyn travelled to Peru to join an Aspiring Guides expedition in the Cordillera Blanca and summitted Ishinca and Alpamayo. As she was spending so much time in the office Aspiring Guides decided to employ her to help out in the office. 

Bookings & Administration

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Carla Strong

Carla was brought up in the South Island and after spending years adventuring around the world has landed in Wanaka and started calling it home.  She loves the outdoors and has instructed and lead trips in NZ, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Tanzania, Nicaragua,  Costa Rica and Ecuador.   Her time off is spent in the mountains, running and biking around the local tracks or dreaming up her next adventure!

Bookings & Adminstration

Your safety is our priority. We have 'hand-picked' specialist guides from within the industry, in light of their qualifications, knowledge, experience level and communication skills. Our guiding team are qualified through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. The NZMGA are affiliated to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association who governs mountain guiding worldwide.

Our high level of expertise, comprehensive logistics support and refreshing personalities are the basis of Aspiring Guides' internationally renowned reputation for providing a quality and personalised service

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