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Climbing is dangerous.

There are no two ways about it. Without risk there would be no adventure.


The NZAC has a comprehensive and ever-evolving safety management system for it’s instruction courses and events. The aim of this is to support our leaders and instructors to follow the steps an experienced and capable climber would take to minimise these risks.

Foremost is the philosophy of responsibility, not just that of the leaders but of all participants. When we climb we all take responsibility for looking after each other. Safety planning and risk assessment is something that everyone is expected to take part in.

This page gives an overview of how we run NZAC instruction courses, trips and meets safely. For trip guidelines and instruction policy & procedures documentation, visit the section resources page by clicking here.




NZAC instruction courses fall into two categories: volunteer-led and professional-led.


Volunteer-led instruction

Courses run by the NZAC regional sections are a great way to gain the core climbing skills you need to get started. Volunteer-led courses need to be submitted to the climbing and instruction committee for approval and the plan reviewed by an experienced technical advisor. All such courses are run in accordance with the NZAC volunteer instruction policy & procedures documentation.


Professional-led instruction

Intermediate and advanced instruction is carried out by qualified guides and instructors. Most such courses are run through NZAC head office, although on occasion sections will engage professionals to deliver courses on their behalf. The courses need to be run in accordance with the NZAC Professional Instruction Policy & Procedures, unless the professional has an audited Safety Management System in place in which they can operate under. Concession from the Department of Conservation may be required. The NZAC currently holds a wide-ranging concession to deliver courses in national parks. Sections running professionally-led courses should contact the  NZAC Programme Coordinator for details.



Section Trips

Section trips are co-ordinated by one of the regional NZAC sections and led by an experienced climber or climbers. They are not technical instruction courses, although they are a great way to learn how to approach climbing objectives safely and effectively. Also, importantly, they are not guided. The trip leaders are not professional guides; they are volunteering to help you learn how to take responsibility for your own safety. Most section trips involve moderate to intermediate mountaineering objectives, but can also be focused on rock climbing or more serious summits if the skill level of the participants is appropriate.



Camps and Meets

The club and it’s sections often organise camps or meets where climbers get together and organise their own objectives. It is important that the organisers clearly differentiate between a meet and a club trip, and take steps to ensure the safety of the participants while at the meet. This safety management is organised on a case-by-case basis, sections organising a camp or meet should contact the NZAC Programme Coordinator.

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