01 - 14 Mar 2025 14 days open

This course combines teaching and assessment. It assesses your potential to be a Climbing Guide.

A Climbing Guides Course may include participants at Level 1 and Level 2. Trainers/assessors and Level 2 participants will coach specific guiding methods and techniques. You should use every opportunity to improve your personal mountaineering and learn and practise the guiding skills.

During the second part of the course (usually after the mid-course debrief) you will be expected to show that you have started to develop an understanding of guiding techniques and have sufficient amateur climbing skills to integrate these techniques into simulated guiding assignments.

Weather or delays in the programme may alter the teaching / assessment balance. Allowances will be made for improvement before the final marking and not all topics may be assessed.

Participants may be assessed on any topic of the Climbing Guides’ syllabus at any stage of the course, and will be required to teach and supervise revision sessions and practical exercises. 



As an Assistant Climbing Guide, you should be competent to safely guide a client on straightforward ascents.
Teaching and group management skills should be adequate for you to work on climbing instruction courses under indirect supervision.
Your technical climbing and rope skills should be at a very good standard. 



On passing a Climbing Guide Level 1 Course and receiving ratification from the Technical Subcommittee, the participant attains the status of NZMGA Assistant Climbing Guide.

  • The course will take place in one of the high alpine areas of the Southern Alps. Typical venues are Aoraki/Mt Cook, Westland, Mount Aspiring, and the Darrans.
  • Climbing Guides Courses are usually run over 14 days in early December.



Client care
Subtotal 160
1 Trip preparation and planning 10
2 Communication with client 10
3 Route selection 20
4 Terrain analysis 20
5 Pace setting 10
6 Cooking and camp management 10
7 Shelters and bivouacs 10
8 Application of guiding technique 20
9 Group management 10
11 Client control 20
12 Client safety 20


 Subtotal 180
Personal skills and knowledge
13 General mountain movement 10
14 Fitness and stamina 10
15 Professionalism and personal appearance 10
16 Personal equipment 5
17 Reaction under stress 10
18 Leadership and decision making 10
19 Rope handling 10
20 Rock climbing 20
21 Belays on rock 10
22 Snow and ice climbing 20
23 Step cutting 5
24 Belays on snow and ice 10
25 Navigation 10
26 Snow safety skills 20
27 Mountain weather 10
28 Nature and environment 10


Subtotal 50
31 Speech and contact with students 10
32 Structure of the lesson 10
33 Site selection 10
34 Support material and demonstration 10
35 Ability to motivate 10


Search and Rescue
36 Improvised cliff rescue 10
37 Crevasse extraction 10
38 Stretchers 10
39 Avalanche rescue and transceivers 10
Subtotal 40


Mandatory non-assessment topics
These topics must be covered in a discussion format
- Radio use
- Aircraft safety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- NZMGA Harassment Policy
- NZMGA Accident Investigation Policy
- NZMGA Terrain, Supervision and Professional Guidelines


Trainers/assessors will give a written summary with comments and recommendations.

Important information before you attend this course:

Technical Syllabus Analysis of Topics Assessment Advice Assessment and Certification Supervised Work Experience