Want to follow in the footsteps of the conqueror of Mt Everest?
The Southern Alps of New Zealand are the ideal training ground for aspiring mountaineers. The Alps extend along the spine of the South Island from the Inland Kaikouras and Nelson Lakes down to Fiordland and are studded with many impressive peaks. In the Mt Cook region there are over 20 peaks higher than 3000 metres, therefore the physical challenges are limitless. This is where Sir Edmund Hillary honed his technical climbing skills and mountaineers still flock to the Alps each year to train.
Commercial mountain guiding companies in places like Mt Cook, Queenstown, Wanaka, Twizel, Tekapo, Fox and Franz Josef, offer a range of specialised training courses and lead summit climbs on major peaks. As well as Mt Cook (the highest peak at 3754m) popular climbs are Mt Aspiring (the ‘Matterhorn of the South’), Mt Tutoko in Fiordland’s Darren Range, Mt Ruapehu on the North Island’s volcanic plateau. Guides can tailor a trip to suit your experience and fitness levels, from a strenuous classic peak climb to a helicopter landing on the main divide, or a beautiful trek across the world-renowned Ball or Copland Passes.
Tackling New Zealand mountain terrain can be pretty serious stuff given the fickle weather, strong winds and extreme cold, even in the November to March climbing season.
If you’re up for a challenge this could prove to be the ultimate New Zealand adventure sport experience for you.