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New Zealand Snow Safety Institute

7-Day Multi-Skill Mountaineering Course

7-Day Multi-Skill Mountaineering Course

Course Objectives
For several years the Snow Safety Institute has run a variety of courses at various levels in skills for alpine recreation. These courses have usually taken place over a weekend. Often participants have chosen to do more than one course in a season to develop their skills. We believe that putting together Winter Survival and Snowcaving, Avalanche Awareness, Risk Management, Ropes Knots and Anchors, Introduction and a more Advanced level of Alpine Climbing; participants are offered the opportunity of a directed and sustained development of key skills.

The time scale also allows for more appropriate use of the prevailing conditions to best facilitate learning. For example there will be a far better chance for good cramponing conditions to develop good technique, and not be stuck with the impossible task on a given week end to learn about crampons in a foot of new snow.

The ability to develop an understanding of the vagaries of mountain weather living high in an alpine environment will be of real advantage, as will the opportunity to observe the development of the snow pack over a long period, something not possible in a weekend avalanche awareness course.

The development of climbing technique over different conditions and getting to know each other well is another great advantage. The course will as far as possible be tailored to the needs of participants beginning at their level and emphasising what they particularly want and need to learn.

This is a practical course aimed at developing skill it is not guided climbing. We will finish the week with a supervised personal climb where you are responsible for all the planning of the climb.

Course Content:

  • Equipment Selection and its use
  • Winter survival and shelters
  • Snow Camping skills
  • Review of Basic Alpine skills
  • Complex anchor systems
  • Alpine rescue techniques
  • Navigation
  • Avalanche & Weather Awareness
  • Route selection
  • Abseiling using natural protection
  • Ridge travel
  • Steep ice and snow climbing
  • Advanced rock, ice and snow anchors

You will need to bring:

  • Back pack with Pack liner (45-65L) with Alpine attachments
  • Ice Axe & Hammer*
  • Snow stake*
  • Crampons*
  • Rock Climbing Harness with the following*:
    - 4 S/G Carabiners,
    - 5 Snap links,
    - Belay device (Not Fig8 style),
    - 3 prussic cords (1m/2m/3m),
    - 1x6mx7mm Cordelette,
    - 1x5m Sling (Un-tied),
    - 2x120cm Sling,
    - 1-2x16-20cm Ice Screw.
  • Transceiver, Shovel & Probe*
  • Mountaineering Boots*
  • Gaiters
  • Compass (Map K33 optional)
  • Gloves for snow work & a spare pair of gloves
  • Polypro gloves
  • Helmet (Climbing specific only)
  • Waterproof breathable jacket and pants
  • Layers: Thermal clothing that can be varied depending on conditions
  • Sun hat & Beanie
  • Sun glasses
  • Spare change of clothes for the lodge including trainers / slippers
  • Sleeping bag (3+season)
  • Bivouac Bag
  • Insulated Sleeping Mat
  • Drink bottle (min 1-litre)
  • Torch & Spare Batteries
  • Personal Medication & First Aid kit & Toiletries inc. Sunscreen!
  • Note book & Pencil
  • Down Jacket or similar (optional)
  • Camera (optional)


*Most technical equipment can be hired from the NZSSI with prior notice
*If you are borrowing or buying crampons ensure that they fit your boots before the course
*Ropes are provided for this course

For more detailed information on equipment please refer to the detailed equipment notes which will be supplied to you upon your course enrolment.

Participants should be of reasonable fitness with some previous alpine tramping and / or skiing experience.
If you have any pre existing conditions of which the instructor / guide should be aware of in an emergency it is your personal responsibility to inform the instructor / guide. This information will be confidential.