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High Alpine Skills Course

Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park

2017/2018 Spring/Summer Courses are now completed. Details on the 2018/2019 Season courses will be updated soon.

Who is this course for?

The High Alpine Skills Course (HASC) is a six-day course designed for those who already have some alpine climbing experience, and have familiarity with lead climbing on rock or indoors. Ideally they will have taken part in a Snowcraft Course with the NZAC or similar organisation, and have embedded their knowledge with further climbing.
The ability to carry a heavy pack for several days at a time is mandatory and all those who register for the course must have a suitable level of fitness.

At a minimum, those wishing to register for the HASC must be capable of:

• Fitting and adjusting crampons quickly
• Putting on a harness quickly
• Tying the rope into a harness with a recognised knot quickly
• Lead climbing on easy bolted climbs
• Belaying a lead climber safely
• Abseiling
• Knots: figure 8, bowline, prussik, clove hitch, Italian hitch, tape knot, alpine butterfly
• Coiling a rope quickly
• Basic use of an ice axe and crampons, including self-arresting and step cutting
• Carrying a heavy pack (15-20kg) for several days at a time.

On the HASC, participants will learn the following:

• Snow skills- use of crampons and ice-axe
• Glacier travel and crevasse extraction
• Pitched climbing on rock and snow
• Soft snow anchors
• Rock anchors
• Route assessment
• Avalanche evaluation
• Alpine bivvying/ camping
• Basic weather assessment
• Basic navigation


The course will be run with up to 8 students in a maximum 1:4 guide to student ratio, headed by a fully qualified IFMGA or NZMGA Climbing Guide. All participants must agree to follow the guide’s instructions and directions.
The course fee includes accommodation at Unwin lodge the night before the course start date and flights to and from the course location – most commonly in to Tasman Saddle – although your instructor may choose an alternative location if weather dictates.

Course Fees

The course fees are $1690. Payment of a $300 non-refundable deposit on acceptance secures you a place on the course.
Any refunds are at the discretion of the NZAC National Office and will depend on whether a replacement can be found.


Programme Coordinator: Ashlee Peeters <>

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