Each day of the tour will be a mix of actually climbing, learning new skills and then getting to test them out! Although only 5 days you'll be amazed at what you'll learn and what you'll get to climb during the tour. By basing ourselves right at ice we reckon that you will get in around an extra 3 hours of climbing each day then if you were having to travel in each day!
We spend as much time in the mountains as possible actually climbing routes whilst developing skills. Initially we concentrate on developing and reinforcing skills in a contained environment and then we move on to more challenging routes during the course. The emphasis of the course will be on the longer and steeper ice routes involving fairly long days where your guides will progressively introduce a wide range of skills and techniques.
Weather plays a major factor in any mountain experience and the New Zealand's Southern Alps get their share. We intend to run the course according to schedule however as we at the whim of the weather we often have to adjust our program accordingly. This in itself is an important lesson for the group in versatility and objective selection based on the present and forecast conditions. So the following itinerary is just to give you a rough idea of what to expect - but basically, it will be as much ice climbing as we can fit into 5 days!
The course begins at 9.00 am on day one at the Heliworks Hanger, Queenstown Airport, Tex Smith Lane, Queenstown. Following introductions, your guide will present the course syllabus outlining how the week will operate. We discuss, then organise, our personal and group equipment (bring all your gear with you, including those items you are not sure whether to include or not). Equipment pertinent to the course will be discussed and you can get all the advice you need concerning equipment from the guides. Rental equipment will be fitted at this time and final purchases can be made. We then load up the helicopter for our flight into the Remarkables Range, directly to the ice climbing area. Leaving our gear in the base camp tent, we're off climbing!
Each morning - get up, get dressed, have coffee, have breakfast, find ice axe, crampons, boots. Walk to bottom of the ice, realise you have left something behind (eg. rope; helmet; climbing partner)! Walk back to tent, get the missing item or wake up your rope mate, back at the ice, try to remember how the tie-on works (rabbit comes out the hole, around the back of the tree and ..). Rest of each day, spent climbing!
Get up, get dressed, have coffee, have breakfast, find ice axe, crampons, boots. Walk to bottom of the ice, realise that today you are actually departing for down valley! The route out generally will be up! Wade or ski up the steep slopes to the upper basin above the ice weeps and then onto Alta saddle, where below you hundreds of skiers are enjoying a great season. If skiing with a pack on is your thing, the rest is a breeze. If not you can always carry your skis! Of course the other way out is a second flight, so talk with your guide!