Intermediate Mountaineering

Intermediate Mountaineering Skills

5 days, $1500 incl gst, 3 cooked meals/day & 5 nights accommodation

See Calendar for Occurrences

This course is ideal for you if

You have previous basic mountaineering experience and want to improve upon this knowledge. This is designed to build upon the 2-day intro to mountaineering course with similar learning outcomes to the 7-day mountaineering course.

You should have previous experience using an ice axe and crampons, as well as basic summertime rope and climbing skills. You should also have a reasonably high level of personal fitness and a good understanding of the gear required to keep yourself warm in the mountains.



All courses are hosted at Ferrier Lodge at Temple Basin Ski Field, located above snow line, approximately 500m above Arthur’s Pass proper. Access to the lodge is via a foot track, with a goods lift available to bring your gear up making the walk very pleasant! The lodge boasts a full time chef, a bar with craft beer on tap, and bunkroom accommodation based on four people to each room. The Lodge is very comfortable with drying rooms and hot showers. Theory and rope skills are hosted inside a specifically designed lecture theatre.

Course content/ instruction topics

All aspects of alpine climbing are covered, culminating in the planning and execution of a personal climb on the main divide of the Southern Alps. By incorporating the 2-day intro to mountaineering, this course allows participants to track change throughout the mountains over an extended period of time. The extended time spent in the alpine environment allows for more opportunities for weather dependent learning; for example, there will be a far better chance for good crampon conditions to develop good technique.

Living in the alpine environment is unique to NZSSI courses and provides an opportunity to develop an understanding of the vagaries of mountain weather as will the opportunity to observe the development of the snow pack. It’s also a great excuse to immerse yourself with like minded individuals who may very well become climbing partners in future.

Specific topics will include:

  • Advanced ice axe use and double tooling techniques
  • Rope use including abseiling and anchor construction
  • Hauling systems
  • Winter survival and snow caves
  • Glacial travel and crevasse rescue
  • Risk awareness and avalanche awareness


Arrive to the hill the evening before your class begins. This allows you to settle in and acquaint yourself with the lodge. Spend the next morning refreshing your knowledge and focusing on theory inside. Practical hands-on learning will be the main focus with the aim to spend as much time outside as possible. One of the nights may be spent in a snow cave depending on weather and snow. Time outside will be segmented depending on the desired learning outcome. The course culminates in planning and executing a personal climb on a local peak on the main divide of the Southern Alps.

Gear required

  • 50L Backpack* with pack liner
  • Waterproof trousers and jacket
  • Gaiters
  • Layers of thermal clothing
  • Hat, gloves – more than one pair
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Sleeping bag, sleeping mat
  • Bivvy bag
  • Compass
  • Snow stake*
  • Head torch with spare batteries
  • Drink bottle – at least 1 litre
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Camera
  • First aid kit including personal medication and treatments for cuts, blisters and pain
  • Personal toiletries, towel, and clothes
  • Transceiver, snow shovel and probe*

Personal climbing equipment including:

  • Ice axe and crampons*
  • Hammer*
  • Climbing* or skiing helmet
  • Climbing harness*

The following tools are suggested however, not required.

  • 4 x screw-gate carabiners
  • 4 x snap-link carabiners
  • 1 x belay device – not figure 8 style – 3 x prussic cords – 1m, 2m, 3m
  • 1 x 6m cordelette
  • 1 x 5m sling untied
  • 1 x +/- 20cm ice screw

* Can be hired from NZSSI subject to availability