Canterbury Mountaineering Club Instruction Programme 2020

To pay for a course, please deposit funds into CMC Bank Account 03 1592 0103242 00 or pay by the associated link below the course descriptions below.

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

Courses are normally based at one of the Club’s base huts (Wyn Irwin at Mt Cook or Kennedy Lodge at Arthurs Pass), although some courses may be based at alpine huts or make use of tents or snow shelters. Generally, the intermediate course will involve spending Saturday night in an alpine shelter if the weather and conditions permit.

Payment is required to confirm your place on the course. Refunds are not available for non-attendance once booked and confirmed (unless someone else takes your place).

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.

If you have any questions, contact the Instruction Coordinator, Alastair McDowell (



Gideon Geerling & Jim Masson will be running the following courses during Summer 2021 to advance your rock skills.

Intro to Sport/Lead Climbing (1 day) $150 per person
An introduction into outdoor sport climbing for first timers.

Intro to Natural (Trad) Lead Climbing (2 days) $300 per person
An introduction to Natural (trad) lead climbing and placing rock protection to climb on non-bolted routes.

Climbing Self-Rescue Skills (2 days) $300 per person
Personal skills in rescue, ascending and descending ropes, escaping the system.

Vertical Rescue Skills (1 day) $150 per person
Review Self Rescue Skill and add complex hauling and problem solving.

Alpine Rock Ascents Course

DATES: 13- 18 Feb 2021. Date(s) flexible between participants.

INTRO: 4 day course run over 6 days (weather contingency) at Kelman Hut Mt Cook.

RATIO: 4 students to 1 guide /instructor. Course run by Murray Ball. Course cost is based on 4 students.

AIMS: The course will concentrate on multiple ascents using modern routes near Kelman hut.

  • Building self-sufficiency, efficiency, speed and safety.
  • Transitions from snow/ice to rock and vice versa.
  • Dealing with open bergschrunds ascent/descent.
  • Climbing in mountain boots, rock shoes and crampons.
  • Building climbing partnerships.

PRE-REQUISITES: Ideally leading 18 sport or trad at local area. Ideally been in high mountain environment previously (Mt Cook summer or Arthur’s Pass winter), with use of ice axe and crampons.

MEET UP: Friday night at Wyn Irwin Lodge (12th Feb).

COST: $750 p.p. course fee + $120 hut fees (3 nights Kelman) + flights (approx $400 round trip). Total estimated cost = $1320 per person.

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: $175 for members
Dates: August 22-23

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: $225 for members
Dates: July 25-26, August 1-2

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: Friday July 24th evening – Sunday July 26th evening

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: (Meet at Wyn Irwin the Sunday evening prior)

  • October 5-11th

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)

  • Tuesday 28th July – Friday evening 31st July
  • Friday 31st July – Monday 3rd August
  • Friday 14th August – Monday 17th August


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. You will be instructed by Gideon Geerling and Paul Aubrey IFMGA.

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.)

Glacier Travel Course October 24-27


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
HAS#21220 (30th Nov – 6th December)

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 DEC 18-21

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. You will be instructed by Gideon Geerling and Jim Masson.

• 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)

Intermediate Alpine Journey Nov 13-15