Canterbury Mountaineering Club Instruction Program 2021

Welcome to the CMC Instruction page! The club runs many instruction courses covering rock, snow, ice & mixed, avalanche awareness, and ski-mountaineering. These courses are subsidised by the Fenwick Trust so we can provide affordable, quality & safe courses to all members.

Instructors: All courses are run by professional instructors at an instructor to student ratio of 1:4 (except for avalanche awareness which is 1:6).

Accommodation: Courses are normally based at one of the Club’s base huts (Wyn Irwin at Mt Cook or Kennedy Lodge at Arthur’s Pass), although some courses may be based at alpine huts or make use of tents or snow shelters.

Equipment: Participants are expected to have their own climbing gear (including ropes, protection, skis, depending on the course). Some equipment can be hired from outdoor shops (e.g. Bivouac) if necessary. A general gear list is available, but your instructor may provide you with further advice on the gear you should bring. Your instructors are happy to answer any questions in advance of the course.

Payment: To pay for a course, once you have been confirmed by the Instruction Officer, please deposit funds into CMC Bank Account 03 1592 0103242 00 or pay by the associated link below the course descriptions below. Payment is required to confirm your place on the course.

Refunds: We have a refund policy to protect the club from financial loss, regardless of injury or any other reason: more than 4 weeks = 100% refund, 2-4 weeks = 80% refund, 5 days – 2 weeks = 50% refund, Less than 5 days = 0% refund.

Contact: If you have any questions, contact the Instruction Coordinator, Alastair McDowell ( Once you are confirmed on the course, you will be put in a chat group with other participants to discuss car-pooling, food and gear and ask questions about the course.


We will be running the following courses during Summer 2021 to advance your rock skills.

Climbing Self-Rescue Skills (2 days)
Venue: Port Hills
Date: TBC
Cost: $300 per person
Personal skills in rescue, ascending and descending ropes, escaping the system.

Vertical Rescue Skills (1 day)
Venue: Port Hills
Date: TBC
Cost: $150 per person
Review Self Rescue Skill and add complex hauling and problem solving.

Intro to Sport/Lead Climbing (1 day)
Venue: Port Hills
Date: March 6th or March 7th
Cost: $150 per person
An introduction into outdoor sport climbing for first timers.

Intro to Trad Climbing (2 days)
Venue: Banks Peninsula
Date: March 13-14th
Cost: $300 per person
Instructor: Dave Alderson IFMGA
An introduction to trad climbing, placing rock protection, trad anchors at crags in the Banks Peninsula. Camping on the Saturday night out on the Banks Peninsula.

Hard Ice Climbing Course

Getting access to the mountains in NZ normally involves moraine and hard ice travel. Knowing how to navigate in open crevassed areas in hard ice glaciated terrain safely and how to do a peer and self-rescue are important skills to have in mountaineering. Sometimes later in the summer season, climbing glacial ice might be part of the journey. Most of these skills are transferrable to technical routes in the higher mountains. During your mountaineering trip, you might have to camp on hard ice or moraine, so learning how to set up tents in these areas are another valuable skill to have.

Guides: Ratio 1:4. You will be instructed by Bia Boucinhas (NZMGA Hard Ice Guide)

Purpose: To provide a short course in safe practice for traveling on hard ice glaciated terrain and managing the hazards associated with it. To learn how to lead on hard ice terrain, ice anchors and to learn crevasse rescue practices. To learn how to camp on hard ice terrain.

Snow craft 1 or equivalent experience
Experienced with crampons on moderate terrain
Basic belay and abseiling techniques
Knots: A pre-meet session will be included where you will review important knots.

You must have all the necessary gear as listed in course document below.
Rigid boots (at least 3/4 shank) and crampons. They MUST fit. For ice climbing G12s (or equivalent) would be ok, but G14 (or equivalent) preferred.

Costs: Approx $800 total = $400 per person guide fees, $350-$500 return flights to lower Tasman Glacier (Approx., paid at airport). $20 (Doc concession fees).

Snow Craft

This course is held over a weekend, often based out of Kennedy’s Lodge in Arthurs Pass. An information evening session is held on Friday night in Christchurch to give everyone a chance to meet each other and for the instructor to give a plan for the weekend, arrange transport.


  • Using an ice axe
  • Walking in snow without crampons
  • Walking in snow with ice axe and crampons
  • Self-arrest
  • Mountain weather
  • Rope skills are not taught on this course

Ratio: One instructor to four students
Cost: $200 for members
Dates: TBC

Intermediate Mountaineering

This course is held over a weekend, and participants do an overnight trip based out of a hut. You are expected to have undertaken a Snowcraft course or have equivalent experience in using ice axe and crampons, and knowledge of self-arrest. No previous experience with rope skills is required – however, please ensure you can tie the knots listed below.

An information evening session is held on Friday night in Christchurch to give everyone a chance to meet each other and for the instructor to give a plan for the weekend, arrange transport etc.


  • Snow anchors (in particular, snow stakes, though your instructor may incorporate ice screws and rock anchors to some degree)
  • Belaying
  • Pitching
  • Prussiking
  • Moving Safely on exposed terrain
  • Knots

You need to be able to tie the following knots: figure of eight, alpine butterfly, clove hitch, Italian hitch, double fisherman.

Ratio: One instructor to four students
Cost: $250 for members
Dates: TBC

Avalanche awareness course

The course is aimed at those with little avalanche knowledge. This course will suit those who intend to travel on alpine terrain and are looking for entry-level instruction. It is a 2 day course. There is no assessment, but participants will receive a certificate of attendance.


  • Prerequisites: · Snowcraft course or equivalent experience and Completion of the free online avalanche education modules at
  • Identify Avalanche Terrain
  • Introduction to snowpack
  • Travel planning
  • Information gathering
  • Introduction to rescue

Ratio: One instructor to 6 students
Cost: (split between participants)

$1870  – Based on 1:6 Ratio (only 1 guide needed)
$3250  – Based on 2:12 ratio (2 guides needed)

Dates: TBC

Glacier Ski mountaineering course

5 days of ski touring and ski mountaineering based at one of the high alpine huts in the Mount Cook region. Either Tasman Saddle, Barron Saddle or Grand Plateau. We will use the best weather and snow to select our venue.


  • 5 days (+2 days weather contingency) guided ski mountaineering


  • Avalanche Education to AVO Awareness as a minimum
  • Previous Mountaineering experience (ie roping up / knots / climbing)
  • This is not aimed at first time climbers or skiers
  • Strong intermediate skiers with previous experience ski touring in small groups

Ratio: One instructor to 4 students
Cost: $1010 per person + flight costs (approx $350-$500 round trip) + hut fees ($20 per night at Plateau Hut for NZAC members, $45 per night for non-NZAC members)
Dates: TBC

back country avalanche (MSC 4 day Course)

  • Refine your back country travel skills
  • Learn to identify and travel confidently through avalanche terrain
  • Learn the basics on forecasting and identifying primary hazard
  • Learn how to identify the correct snowpack test to apply
  • Group Rescue Scenario

Option for Heli Accessed Ski Touring
Whale Stream, Twin Streams, Mt Mary

Ratio     1:4 MAX

2 x evening Lectures
4 days Touring / Terrain / Snowpack + Lectures

Total Course Costs (split between participants)

$3290 = 1 guide (max 4 clients)
$5995  = 2 guides (Max 8 Clients)


Education Tools (From MSC) – Need to be pre-ordered

$50 / Person
Avo Evaluator Card
Avo Rescue Card
Back Country Avalanche Awareness Text Book
MSC Certificate

Heli Access (Based on 0:15 flying time and a load of 4 + Guide)
$185 / Each

Strong intermediate skiers with powder skiing experience
Some previous Ski Touring Experience
Previous avalanche awareness program or equivalent
Own Ski touring equipment
Own Avalanche rescue Equipment

Dates: (meet at Wyn Irwin the previous evening) TBC


Intro. Glacier Travel is a paramount skill for traveling in the alpine
and accessing areas of the higher mountains in NZ. Knowing
the fundamentals of Glacier travel and personal and peer
rescue increases the safety margins for a successful trip.

Guides. TBC

Purpose. To provide a short course in safe practice for traveling on
glaciated terrain and managing the hazards associated.

• Snow craft 1 or equivalent experience
• Experienced with crampons on moderate terrain.

A pre-meet session will be included where you will learn:
• Knots
o Double fisherman’s, figure of 8
▪ Re-Thread/Tie In
▪ On a Bight
o Alpine Butterfly
o Clove hitch
o classic, klemheist, French prussik,
o Italian hitch
o Over Hand Knot
• Basic belay and abseiling techniques.
• You must have all the necessary gear as listed next page
o *4 Season Mtn. Boots and crampons MUST Fit

Course Document & Gear List: download here.

Day 0 – 20:00 Pre-Meet at Wyn Irwin (CMC lodge in Hooker Valley carpark) and confirmation
Day 1 – 07:30 Airport and Fly in WX depending
Local practical skill practice & Review
Day 2&3 – Glacier Travel & Rescue Clinics
Day – 4 – Travel and Backup Day + Drive back CHCH


$350 per person guide fees

+ $350-$500 return flights to Plateau Hut (Approx., paid at airport)

+ $20/45 per night Plateau Hut (pay at DOC visitor centre in Mt Cook village, $20 per night discounted rate for NZAC members if paid at DOC, otherwise $45 per night.)


Course Objectives
The aim of this program is to develop intermediate mountaineers skills towards more independent mountaineering trips and ascents.

We will also be completing a MSC Avalanche Awareness program for Mountaineers (as opposed to skiers).

If you have Mt Aspiring as an objective then this course will help you refine or develop the skills and experience you need to complete climbs similar to Mt Aspiring.

Depending on group ability, weather and Conditions an ascent of Mt Aspiring may be possible. Otherwise we will focus on other mountain objectives.

Prior Experience
You are expected to be a solid intermediate climber on both rock and snow. You will have completed a number of either personal or club trips to peaks that may not involve glaciation or limited amounts of glaciation. Multi-pitch rock climbing is not a prerequisite but is a bonus. Climbing wise (both rock and snow) you will already be able to use a belay device, abseil and understand the concepts of anchor construction (Snow, Natural Pro, Bolts). Avalanche wise – no prior formal avalanche education is needed – if you do already have some avalanche education then this program will help you consolidate what you already know and expand your experience.

Ratio 1:4
Course Dates

Heli Access – $1050 for load (to be paid on day of access)
Course Costs – $5320 (to be split between participants – $1330 pp based on 1:4 ratio)
Hut Fees – approx $20 per night

Based from Wanaka with Mt Aspiring National Park as objective. Potential to change location depending on conditions and weather


Course Document and Gear List


Intermediate Alpine Journey

Intro. A 3-4 day intermediate alpine trip based out of the privately owned Caroline Hut (Alpine Recreation hut), this is a unique chance to climb peaks and traverse glaciers in the shadow of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Arthurs Pass will be used as a back-up option.

Guides. TBC

• Snow craft or equivalent experience
• Experienced with crampons on moderate terrain and be experienced and able to walk and self-manage yourself in the alpine environment.
• Knots: double fisherman’s, figure of 8, alpine butterfly, clove/Italian hitch, prussick (classic, klemheist, french)
• Basic belay and abseiling techniques.
o Must be able to Lead Belay with an ATC device NOT Gri-gri
• You must have all the necessary gear as listed
o 4 Season Mtn. Boots and crampons MUST Fit

Course Document & Gear List: download here.



$350 per person guide fees

+ $55 per night Caroline Hut (pay online after course to Alpine Recreation)