About Us

Internationally experienced, professional and qualified guides

The mountaineering achievements of the Aspiring Guides team combine with a comprehensive knowledge 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 NZ and overseas.  Nothing affects the enjoyment of a trip more that the people you are with and we pride ourselves in matching discerning clients with proffesional, experienced and personable guides. Our mountain guides are qualified to international IFMGA standards through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association or equivalent national associations.

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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Meet our team:

If you are interested in joining the Aspiring Guides team look here for further details.



Tim Steward

Tim originates from Wales but has called NZ home for the last 10 years.  He has climbed throughout NZ, UK and European Alps and has lead and guided moutaineering, rock climbing and trekking trips to Nepal, Peru, Russia, Africa, China and South East Aisa.

Tim studied engineering before embarking on his outdoor instruction and guiding career , has been guiding throughout the Southern Alps since 2010 and taking over as Chief Guide for Aspiring Guides in 2016. He has been an active committee member for the NZ Mountain Guides Assoication for the last 5 years and the Chair of the Technical Sub-Committee since 2016. He is also a member of the Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team.

Currently he is enjoying a bit more time at home helping look after his young family, occasionaly being let out to the crags and hills for a rest. Looking forward to getting out on some family mountaineering adventures soon.

A  trad rock climber at heart, the more adventurous the better, his favorite spot in NZ include is the Darrans for alpine rock or winter climbing and Castle Hill for a spot of bouldering. 

Chief Guide, IFMGA - New Zealand


Andrea Bruni

Andrea is originally from the Dolomites, in the eastern Alps, where he grew up skiing and climbing but has spent most of the last 4 years living and working in New Zealand.

Andrea studied Forestry and Environmental Sciences and certified as an IFMGA Guide in 2009. He has an impressive list of travels and expeditions including Australia,  Alaska, Patagonia, Chile, Madagascar, Cuba.

Andrea is a popular guide and instructor, with a calm, confident and methodical approach. Most importantly he is known for his great cooking (after all, "I'm Italian").

Senior Guide, IFMGA - Italy/New Zealand


Aritza Monasterio

Aritza has lived and guided in Peru's Cordillia Blanca for over 25 years and operates a lodge in Huarez. He spends the Peruvian off-season guiding for Aspiring Guides in New Zealand.  

Aritza pioneered some of the Cordilla Blanca's hardest climbs including the West Face of Chacraraju. More importantly he is known as a vastly experienced and tireless guide (it must come from his years at altitude) who is meticulous in his planning and fun to be with in the mountains.

Aritza is trip leader for our Peru climbing and trekking operations

Senior Guide, IFMGA - Peru/New Zealand

New Zealand Ski Tour

Roy Smith

Roy has been guiding for over 30 years with over 25 summer and winter seasons in NZ as well extensive experience overseas. He has worked as a school teacher and has held positions safety officer for heliski opperations. He is a senior assesor for the NZ Mountain Guides Assoication and regularly assesses prospective mountain and ski guides their guiding exams.


Senior Guide, IFMGA - New Zealand

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney, originally from Jackson Hole US, has and climbed and skied throughout NZsince 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 Director 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 extensive repetoir of amusing stories and anecdotes, and his hospitality. If you’ve ever spent a bit a bit more time with him, you might even got onto the secord round of his w[h]itticisms.

Senior Guide, IFMGA - New Zealand

New Zealand Ski Tour

Nick Cradock

Nick is one of NZ's most prestigious alpine climbers and experienced mountain guides. He has been working as a qualified IFMGA guide for over 30 years and was a founding director of Aspiring Guides.

He has pioneered ski guiding in India as well as in Russia and Greenland and more recently establishing many new rock routes around Wanaka and the Darrans. 

Senior Guide, IFMGA - New Zealand


Marty Beare

Marty spent over 30 years as an outdoor instructor and mountain guide in New Zealand and a previous director of Aspiring Guides. Marty enjoys all types of climbing regardless of whether it is sport climbing, multi-pitch rock climbing, alpine mountaineering or ice-climbing.  He has enjoyed many overseas trips, both work and play, to various well-known climbing venues as well as a few less frequented places such as Antarctica and the Indian Himalaya. One of his climbing ‘high points’ was the coveted 2nd ascent of the route Deprivation on the North Face of Mt Hunter in Alaska.

Marty is a Workplace Trainer and Assessor in many outdoor recreation subjects including abseiling, canyoning, rock-climbing and bushwalking. He also gained an MA in Applied Science from research on the decision-making processes of outdoor experts. Marty’s dedication to the profession of outdoor guiding and instruction is equalled only by his love for alt-country music.

Senior Guide, IFMGA - Australia/NZ

Mt Aspiring - West Face

Clement Naegelen

Clement returns to NZ for the 2018/19 season to pick up where he left off exploring the mountains.  He is an enthusiastic and popular guide with many sucessful summits of Aspiring and Aoraki / Mount Cook.  He is a qualified ski instructor with previous experience guiding and instructing for UCPA in Chamonix.

IFMGA - France


Cristina Pogacean

Cristina returns for her second summer season in NZ having preivously notched up a number of ascents of Mt Aspiring and Aoraki/Mount Cook. She enjoys all aspects of mountaineering and has competed in bouldering, sport and ice climbing competitions, coming away with twenty 1st place positions between 2005 and 2016. She is also a qualified civil engineer.

Expeditions experieince include:
2013: Khan Tengri (7010m) in by the by the North -East ridge, 
2013: Reaching 7200m on the South West face of Shishapangma (8013m) 
2013: First ascent of Gandharva Chuli (6248m) in Annapurna Himal, alpine style by the SW ridge and the W ridge.  
2014: Bhagirathi I (6856 m), SW face, attempt of a new line.
2016: Reaching 59000m on T13 (6436 m by the, NW Ridge and first ascent of T16 South Summit (6431m), S face, “Supercouloir”, both in Zanskar, India. 

IFMGA - Romania

Tai Naka

Tai grew up skiing in Hokkaido, the island of ‘Japow’ in Japan.

He moved to NZ in 2001 hoping to become an outdoor instructor or guide. Soon after he discovered the unique club fields in Canterbury and the Craigieburn/Arthur’s Pass area - which became his backcountry playground.

While working as a glacier guide on the South Island's West Coast, he explored the endless glaciers and peaks of the Southern Alps skiing and climbing as much as time would allow.

Tai never has a dull moment being a passionate skier, climber, whitewater kayaker, hunter, fisherman, mountain biker and father.

IFMGA - New Zealand


Tony Donaldson

Tony grew up on the remote West Coast of New Zealand and when he was old enough to go to work, his father sent him down to a guy named Mike Brown to see if he could learn a trade. Mike runs New Zealand’s first Glacier guiding company and Tony was put to work swinging a 5 pound ice axe cutting steps in the ice for tourists. That was 15 years ago and Tony has been working in the mountains ever since. He has worked as a ski patroller for Ohau skifield and Treble Cone. He is quick to laugh and hard to faze. He is a great companion in the mountains and now splits his time guiding and spending time with his young daugther. 



Dan Phillips

Growing up in Perth, West Australia, Dan worked Outdoor Instructor for a few years leading rock climbing, kayaking and bushwalking trips. He soon discovered snow and ice in New Zealand and was hooked on being in the mountains. He is a passionate skier and rock climber.

In 2008  Dan began work as a ski patroller on the ski hills and guiding on the west coast glaciers. He has spent the last 3 summers as a Team Leader for Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Search and Rescue team and Snow Safety Officer for Mt Hutt Ski field during winters.

Dan has also spent time climbing in Europe as well as Ski Patrolling and Cat Ski guiding in Canada.

In his spare time Dan enjoys hunting, fishing and 4WD-ing in his big red  60 series Landcruiser called 'Helga', listening predominantly to Led Zeppelin on vinyl and watching a few modern classic movies. Sometimes even the odd round of golf.

NZMGA Aspirant Mountain and Ski Guide


Kim Ladiges

Kim grew up in Tasmania where he began tramping and climbing. During a six month trip to the Alps he became hooked on alpine climbing. All thoughts of a normal life dashed, Kim spent the next ten years climbing around the world, pioneering first ascents in Nepal, Alaska, Patagonia and Canada as well as climbing many famous routes in the European Alps. Notable ascents include the North Face of the Eiger, Moonflower Buttress on Mt Hunter, Alaska and North Face of Cholatse.

Kim has worked as a rock climbing guide and outdoor instructor for the last 12 years in Australia before begining his training as an NZMGA Climbing Guide. He is passionate about helping others develop their knowledge and skills and is a popular guide and instructor.

NZMGA Assistant Climbing Guide - Austrailia


Cillian Kennedy

Cillian was born in Ireland but grew up in the Blue Mountains Australia. Tramping, mountain biking and canyoning soon took a back seat to rock climbing. He has been working as a rock climbing, canyoning and outdoor instructor for 16 years around Austrailia before starting his training as a NZMGA Climbing Guide.

He has climbed throughout Australia, USA, Canada, Alaska, New Zealand ,Thailand and the European Alps. He currently splits his time between Wanaka and the Blue Mountains in Austrailia. He looks forward to sharing many adventures with his young daugther in the future.

NZMGA Assistant Climbing Guide - Austrailia


Backcountry skiing New Zealand

Steve Schreiber

One of NZ's most experienced ski guides, Steve is back in 2019 for his second season based in Wanaka. 

With over 20 years experience in the ski industry in NZ and the US with roles heli-skiing,  ski touring, snow safety and ski instructing, he is also a qualifed EMT instructor.


Senior Guide, NZMGA Ski Guide


Tom Willmott

Tom was NZ's first NZMGA qualified splitboard guide and loves sharing his passion for snowboarding with all those around him.  He has been based in Wanaka for the past 17 winters and when not guiding works for Snowsports NZ as the Head Coach of New Zealand’s Freeski and Snowboard teams travelling the globe from one training camp or competition to the next.  A former World Cup competitor and 3-time Olympic coach, Tom juggles his time between coaching in the halfpipe, guiding in the backcountry, heli-boarding guiding and spending time with his young family.

NZMGA Ski Guide, Lead Splitboard Guide

New Zealand Ski Tour

Dave Lundin
Dave has extensive experience ski patrolling in the Craigieburns and has spent the last three winters working as a tutor on Tai Poutini Ski Patrol training program in Wanaka. He spends his summers doing rope access work or ski guiding in Japan. In the past he has guided kayaking and Wild Walks. 


NZMGA Ski Guide


Bronwen Waters

Bronwen developed her undying passion for the mountains after her first visit to Nepal at 19 years of age. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Sydney University but she admits "I don’t like sitting down, let alone in an office!"

She has guided Wild Walks in NZ as well as trekking trips in Nepal, Mongolia & Bhutan. In NZ she has done a traverse of the South Island mountain chain in 84 days and made a film about it and has worked as a canyon guide and rock climbing instructor.

Bronwen entered the ski industry as a ski patroller and has spent winters patrolling in New Zealand, Canada and Norway. She now spends northern hemisphere winters ski guiding and teaching avalanche courses in Hokkaido, Japan. Skiing is her favourite way to share time with others in the mountains.

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide, Avalanche Stage 2

Fresh tracks on the way down

Joel O'Rourke

Joel grew up in Australia and has had a love of skiing and the mountains from a young age. He worked for many seasons as a ski patroller in the US, Canada, NZ and Austrailia with a brief interlude as a lawyer in Sydney.

Unable to escape the draw of the mountains he embarked on the NZMGA ski guiding pathway. Joel now enjoys perpetual winter, splitting his year between guiding in NZ, Japan and the USA. He is always in search of new adventures and mountain experiences and has be enthusasically clocking up impressive ski mountaineering feats around the Southern Alps. He is always keen to share his enthusiasm with others.

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide, CAA Level 3


Manu Greer

Manu has been involved in the ski industry since 2003.  He started out working on small ski areas in the South Island, quickly discovering an interest in avalanche safety, and becoming involved in ski patrol.

He has patrolled on large and small ski areas in Aotearoa and Canada, and spent many summers in the mountains working as a backcountry ranger. He has worked as an avalanche forecaster in NZ and the U.S. before taking the plunge into the NZMGA ski guide training pathway. He is an avid ski tourer and loves to get away from the crowds to find good snow, peace and quiet! He recently spent a winter in China, training a local ski patrol. 

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide, Avalanche Stage 2


Jimmy Armstrong

Jimmy loves being outside, mountains or open ocean being his preferred habitats. Raised in Wellington, he was drawn to the mountains of the South Island as a teenager, worked extensively throughout NZ in industrial rope access work, got a degree in Maori language, and spent as much time in the mountains as feasibly possible.  Jimmy guides in NZ and Japan and loves sharing his enthusiasm for the mountains with others.

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide

Black Peak Hut, NZ

Clint Kirkham
Clint has many years working in outdoor instruction and currently splits his year splitboard guiding in Japan and NZ and hanging out at home with his family in Austrailia. 

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide, Splitboard Guide


Blair Findlay

Blair has been snowboarding for 25 years and lived in Queenstown for 20. Over this time have been spending winters in North America, Japan and exploring New Zealands vast mountains. When not in the hills he is having fun with his family, mountain biking, hunting and training with the Queenstown Search and Rescue team.

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide, Splitboard Guide



Frankie Sanders

Frankie orignates from Wales and has climbed and trekked around the world before settling in Lake Hawea. In 2017 she competed in the epic Godzone multisports race over 9 grueling days of trekking, packrafting and biking. As well as guiding our Wild Walks and instructing rock climbing, her side project is creating the Local Dehy meals with her partner, delicious locally sourced vegetarian meals that you are likely to sample on our Wild Walks. Her knowledge of local flora, fauna and Maori puts even our local kiwis to shame. 

Senior Trekking Guide, NZMGA Assistant Alpine Trekking Guide, NZOIA Senior Rock Climbing Instructor


Adam Cotterell

Adam spent his youth surfing and ocean swimming on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. During his 20s he worked as a molecular pharmacologist at UQ in Brisbane to basically fund his travels. His most memorable adventures are his year-long journey circumnavigating the South American continent on a 125 motorcycle, cycling solo through the USA and spending 5 epic winters snowboarding in North America. After working as a snowboard instructor and later a ski patroller in the Kootenay Rockies in Canada, Adam decided to give up his science career to pursue a life in the mountains. He now lives in Wanaka, NZ where he loves tramping, splitboarding, open water swimming and rock climbing.   

Senior Trekking Guide


Bruno Geldermans

Bruno, has perfected the art of not working too much and playing hard. Known locally as the high altitude accountant for his previous life. If he is not at home sipping tea with his feet up, he will be out biking, climbing, trekking or mountaineering. His recent overseas adventures have taken him long distrance bike rides through the Indian Himalaya and the length of Peru. He is also a member of Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue Team, no wonder there is little time left to work.

Senior Trekking Guide

Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson

Tim descibes himself as tall, bald and hansom with glasses. Tim was raised as a navy brat and when he stepped off the bus in Wanaka in 1998 and realized he was as far from the sea as he could get, he decided "this is the place". Tim's passion is traveling anywhere that requires a backpack-from Utah to Scotland and the Himalayas, his favorite spot is Mount Ararat. Tim is at home in the mountains and if anyone can ever manage to get him upset please let us know because we have never seen it. He does, however, react badly to flying in helicopters.

Trekking Guide

Administration Team


Jessica Marriott

Jess is not only the Aspiring Guides General Manager, she also gets out into the field to spend time with our clients.  Jessica has NZOIA Senior Rock Climbing Instructor, Bush 1 & Alpine 1 qualifications.  When she's not organising everything that goes on 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 confidence with all her clients.

General Manager, Senior Trekking Guide, Rock Climbing Instructor

Ski Touring New Zealand

Ross Sprung

Ross, originally from Canada, has now spent enough time in NZ to be considered local. Especially being the father of his own little Kiwi.

He has worked as an outdoor instructor, and bike, trekking and canoe guide in NZ as well as stints in the wine industry and managing snow snow blowing testers.

Ross has a friendly,  warm mannered and energetic approach that is popular with clients in the office and when we occasionally let him out trekking.


Operations Manager, Trekking Guide


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!

Sales Manager, Trekking Guide

Whitney Oliver

Whitney has settled into Wanaka and joined the Aspiring Guides team after many years of adventuring from country to country--snowboarding in Canada, cycle touring in Australia, trail running in the Swiss Alps, and trekking around the States. She spent a surprisingly long time living in the urban jungle of Los Angeles, working in the film biz, before breaking out of the city for the freedom of the hills. 

When she's not helping with enquiries and getting clients sorted for their own outdoor adventures, you'll find Whitney out on her favorite local trails (all of them), often with a camera in hand working on her next project.


Bookings & Inquiries


Vickie Moses and Lukas Kichner

Vickie and Lukas took are the latest addition to the Aspiring Guides team taking over the reigns in June 2019. Both strong rock climbers and keen outdoor enthusiasts. Lukas is also one of NZ's strongest alpine climbers being the second person to solo the 1500m  'Cul de Sac' winter route on Mt Crosscut in the Darrans.

Vickie's background is Human Resources and also runs her own sucessful business consultancy business. Lukas, orignially from German, is a qualified plumber.

Both are established Wanaka locals, living in Albert Town with Vickie's 8 and 10 year old sons.


"Whatever the season -
summer or winter, the
New Zealand Southern
Alps provide a breathtaking
venue for adventure. Let us
share our passion for the
mountains with you."

Tim Steward
Chief Guide, IFMGA/ UIAGM

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