Advanced Ski Mountaineering Course 4 days


Black Peak in the North Harris Mountains. Visible from Wanaka waterfront.

Extremely masterful fusion of professionalism & casualness

Kirk, Australia

The course met my expectations and pushed me quite a bit beyond my existing experience & knowledge levels.  I felt completely confident & at ease at all times with our guide Andrea. I really enjoyed the  safety tutorials/classes (avalanche safety, snow anchor theory, skinning technique, steep ski descents), the practical tips & hints on a range of techniques & activities (eg ski crampon usage, belaying without a belay device), the awesome terrain & landscape, and Andrea's cooking. I was impressed by the calmly positive & friendly attitude of all the Aspiring Guides team I interacted with - no big egos or haughty manners!  Thanks for a great time, Andrea & everyone. You have a very slick, smooth service that really provides great value for $.

More Information

Black Peak is a 5-7 hour skin from the summit of Treble Cone Ski Area or a 10 minute helicopter flight from the valley floor. The expense of flying in saves time and energy for the ensuing days' instruction.  Our private hut is located at 1725m and is the perfect base from which to enjoy extensive & challenging ski and snowboard touring.

The Remarkables backcountry is accessed through the ski field and can be used as day trips from a comfortable base in Wanaka or Queenstown.

For the high mountain glacier based course, Wanaka has access to both the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers of Westland National Park and the Tasman Glacier of Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. We choose the optimal venue depend on the weather and conditions at the time.

The course syllabus includes:
  • Mountain hazards identification and avoidance including avalanche awareness.
  • Mountain weather. 
  • Ropework, including belaying, abseiling and rescue.
  • Protection and anchors on snow, rock and ice.Glacier travel techniques and crevasse rescue.
  • Ice axe and crampon use for snow climbing.
  • Transitioning on steep terrain
  • Turning on steep and confined terrain
  • Mountain shelter and camp management.
  • Equipment and clothing selection.
  • Route selection & navigation.
  • Trip planning including weather and conditions, human factors and terrain assessment. 

Available Dates

2019 Course Dates Status
16 - 19  Aug FULL
22 - 25 Aug Open

Open for bookings in 2019 !

C = trip confirmed to run

Dates don't suit?  Have your own group?
Inquire about available dates for a private course for yourself, or for a group of two to four people


Technical Difficulty

Participants need previous experience with backcountry touring.  You will need to be a strong skier or boarder in off piste conditions. Participants should be able to control their speed on steep terrain. Snowboarders must be on splitboards and have a dedicated snowboard mountaineering boots. Some rock climbing or experieince with ropes is recommended.

Physical Difficulty

A good level of fitness is required.  Participants need to be able to travel up steep hills and be strong enough to handle variable conditions. Participants should be experienced skiing and boarding steep terrain and be comfortable with heights.

Price Details

Guide Ratio Price per person
1:2 NZ $2,500
1:3 NZ $1,900
1:4 NZ $1,650


What's Included
  • IFMGA/ NZMGA Guide
  • All technical mountaineering gear
  • Accommodation in private, cosy hut (sleeping bags already in place)
  • Food & Energy snacks
  • Course handbook
  • Satellite phone/ radio comms
  • 15% GST

Not included :

  • Helicopter ride to the hut or the peak on the first day is an additional expense (approx. NZ $190-225 pp).
  • Ski touring or splitboard equipment hire.

Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Prior to the trip

Meet with your guide at our offices 5pm on the evening prior to departure. Your guide will check clothing and equipment as required for the course. Rental equipment is issued and last minute purchases can be made. The weather forecast will be reviewed and a plan made for an early flight the following morning.

Trip Planning

Day 1

It is 15 minutes to the helicopter staging area and your lift into Black Peak.  Depositing the gear at the hut we often take advantage of having the helicopter to lift us to the summit of Black Peak for our first run.  Today is the time to brush up on your transceiver skills.  We will cover self party rescue and shovel techniques.  You instructor will make sure the group has solid fundamentals before advancing onto steeper slopes.  Important knots and basic rope work will be introduced early in the course.

Heli drop into Black Peak Hut

Day 2

The East Face of Black Peak offers numerous steep couloirs.  Learn about how to pick a safe line and protect your self and your partner.  Practice your jump turns in confined spaces.  This is the chance to learn your limits. Judgment is everything in steep skiing and with the watchful of your instructor you can get valuable experience.  In general the ski day goes from 9am to 4pm, with most evenings having an indoor talk.


Day 3

The Summit Rocks on Black Peak are a great venue for learning about snow and ice anchors.    It takes a lot of judgment to know how secure a snow anchor is and this is the time to practice and learn under the watchful eye of your instructor.  Abseiling with skis, learning self arrest with an ice axe and learning to crampon efficiently are key skills which will be learned.


Day 4

The route back to Cone Ski Area is as exciting as you want to make it.  You will be asked to prepare a navigation plan using map, compass and GPS. There is no easy route out and if you play your cards right it just might include a run down Bold Rush.  This is perfect chance to use your new route finding skills in avalanche terrain.


Back to Top