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About Us


Our Story

The New Zealand Alpine Team is an ongoing initiative of the Expedition Climbers Club Inc. born from a desire to support and encourage aspiring young Kiwi alpinists looking to improve their mountain skills. Young Kiwi alpinists are paired with some of New Zealand's best alpine climbers, who volunteer their time to provide guidance, encouragement, support, tuition, partners and community to those young climbers.


In doing so, we are hoping to help a group of young climbers to learn valuable skills and knowledge that might have otherwise taken them many more years to acquire. 

At its core, the New Zealand Alpine Team (NZAT) is simply a group of climbers from NZ (and a couple from Australia) who live for mountaineering.


New Zealand Alpine Team Mentoring Programme

The programme will take 3-4 applicants, aged between 18 and 25. These students are then given three years of intensive training, with trips and expeditions around the world to further their climbing skills. Our trips include ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies, big wall climbing in Yosemite, and an expeditions to somewhere like Alaska or South America at the end of the three year rotation.

Our first intake of students was in 2013, the second was in 2016, the third in 2019 and fourth in 2022. Trials for the fifth intake of students will be held in 2025, with those successful applicants starting the New Zealand Alpine Team training programme in the same year. To be considered for our trial you need to send in to us a CV of your rock, ice and alpine climbing, along with a brief description of yourself and what motivates you. We are looking for applicants who either have a wide range of general alpine climbing and rock climbing experience, or who have a high degree of skill in one particular climbing discipline.


For example we would expect that most applicants would have completed several climbs in both summer and winter of a MC grade 2-3 or higher. We would also expect that applicants would be able to lead a minimum of grade 18 using traditional protection and had some experience ice climbing. However if you are an exceptional rock climber, or have climbed harder alpine routes but your rock climbing skills need improving still apply as we are looking to build a group with a broad range of skills. We also expect all people applying to have good cardio fitness.

Our 2025 trial will cover hill running, trad/sport climbing, dry tooling, multi-pitch climbing, and scrambling.


New Zealand Alpine Team New Mentor Requirements (applications always open)

This list should be used as a rough guide to assess if someone has met the requirements for becoming a mentor of the New Zealand Alpine Team. While not all of our mentors will meet all requirements, we consider that the following set of skills would be indicative of a very high level of general climbing ability, such as would be appropriate to being a team mentor. In addition, 'soft skills' such as attitude, coaching ability, patience and the ability to be a team player are taken into account when new mentors are added to the team.

Alpine – 10 Mount Cook grade 6 (ED) routes or harder, five of which should be winter ascents.

Rock – Sport climbing: clean redpoints of a grade 25 or harder sport climbs.


Traditional climbing: onsight of grade 23 or harder on fully traditionally      protected routes. A minimum of 10 clean ascents of grade 22 traditional protected routes.

Ice – 6 routes WI6 or harder.

Mixed – 10 multipitch mixed routes (traditional protection) M6 or harder.

Big Wall – 3 Yosemite grade VI big wall routes.

Ski Touring – 10 MC grade 2 ski descents or several multi day ski tours, i.e more than two night-long ski touring trips on glaciated terrain.

General character – While this category is subjective, the general idea is that for people in positions as Team Mentors they should be at least 30 years old and have a good safety record in the mountains. We are looking for people who show a good understanding of the risks involved in teaching alpine climbing skills, demonstrate a good attitude and commitment to the Team and have made a significant volunteer contribution to both the club (Expedition Climbers Club) and the NZAT.

While the ideal candidate will have reached the required standard in all relevant disciplines above, we are still happy to receive applications from climbers who have reached the required standard in some but not all of the above categories. Climbers applying to be a mentor for the NZAT need not have been part of the group previously. When submitting your application you must include a date and partner for all ascents and a reference from an existing Team mentor.

A personal statement as to why you wish to be part of the Team and a brief write up on how you can volunteer for the group should be included in your application. Once the NZAT Captain is satisfied with the quality of the application an applicant will be voted on by the current selection of team members. A minimum of six votes in favour or a 70% majority is required from existing Team Mentors before a new Mentor is admitted to the group.


Applications should be sent to attn: Steve Fortune (NZAT Captain)

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