About Us

Internationally experienced, professional and qualified guides

In New Zealand and worldwide, our mountaineering achievements combine with a comprehensive knowledge of guiding and instruction. These are the fundamental ingredients in providing a safe and enlightening connection between our guests and the mountain environment. While our activities are centred from our base in the Mount Aspiring region, our permits and experience extend throughout the Southern Alps including Fiordland, Westland and Mt Cook National Parks. This is a vast area diverse in geography.

Your safety is our priority.

We have 'hand-picked' specialist guides from within the industry.  Nothing affects the enjoyment of a trip more that the people you are with and we pride ourselves in matching discerning clients with experienced and personable guides.   Our climbing team are qualified through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. The NZMGA are affiliated to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association who governs mountain guiding worldwide. Our high level of expertise, comprehensive logistics support and refreshing personalities are the basis of Aspiring Guides' internationally renowned reputation for providing a quality and personalised service.

Meet our team:

 

GUIDING WORK AVAILABLE
Please contact us if you are interested in any of the following positions: 
Tim Steward, Chief Guide 

MOUNTAIN GUIDES - October 2017 to April 2018  
Qualifications: IFMGA Guide or Aspirant GuideNZMGA Climbing Guide or Assistant Climbing Guide (or overseas equivalent)  

Work is available for qualified Mountain Guides for the summer season commencing October 2017. Work will involve a mixture of ascents and instruction courses. 

 

Climbing

Tim Steward

Tim Steward

Tim comes from the UK where, due to a limited amount of  snow and ice, spent his years time studying mechanical engineering to persist in going rock climbing all through the year, in all weathers through out the UK and Europe.  Summers were spent climbing around Europe and hanging out in the European Alps. After starting off designing floor joists and aircraft seats, Tim decided that there were more fun things to do and began leading expeditions and trekking trips.

After travelling, climbing and hiking around New Zealand on a long holiday, Tim and his (now) wife decided to stay and he decided to embark on new career guiding.  He has been guiding throughout the Southern Alps since 2010 and took over as Chief Guide in 2016.

Tim has led moutaineering, rock climbing and trekking trips to Nepal, Peru, Russia, Africa, China and South East Aisa.  As often as possible, Tim is out rock climbing or up in the hills skiing and climbing for work or play. Currently he is enjoying a bit more time at home helping look after his young son. Bryn and looking forward to introducing him into some mountain adventures soon. 

His favorite spot in NZ include is the Darrans for alpine rock or winter climbing and Castle Hill for a spot of bouldering. 

Chief Guide, IFMGA - New Zealand

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney Thurlow

Whitney, originally from Jackson Hole US, has and climbed and skied throughout New Zealand since 1979. After living and working in here for over 20 years, together with his partner, decided to create a high end backcountry travel experience and hence Wild Walks NZ was created.

Whitney is a former Chief Guide of Aspiring Guides and Training Officer of the NZ Mountain Guides Association. He has over 50 ascents of Mount Aspiring and countless Southern Alps adventures. In 1990 he won the  World Telemark Giant Slalom Championships and has also won four North American Telemark Championships. He takes pride in cooking fluffy rice in adverse conditions. Whitney has also skied, trekked and climbed throughout the world, more recently on a number of European ski tours.

When he is not in the mountains he is normally haning out on the wild south coast or Peru, surfing with and without his kite.

There will only ever be one Whit. If you have ever met him in a mountain hut, you will have experienced  his hospitality. If you’ve ever spent a bit longer in a mountain hut with him, you might even have gone round the loop on his extensive repertoire of stories, anecdotes and w[h]itticisms.

IFMGA - New Zealand

Andrea-Bruni

Andrea Bruni

Andrea is originally from the Dolomites, a beautiful place in the eastern Alps but has spent most of the last 4 years living and working in New Zealand.

He has always lived in close contact with the mountain, skiing as a child and then climbing in the Dolomites and around the Alps. Andrea Graduated in Forestry and Environmental Sciences and certified as an IFMGA Guide in 2009.

More recently he began traveling around the world, Australia, New Zealand Alaska, Patagonia Chile, Madagascar, Cuba, for rock climbing, skiing and mountaineering before finding his way back to NZ .

Andrea enjoys "beautiful places, people ... and the food (after all, I'm Italian)."

IFMGA - Italy/New Zealand

New Zealand Ski Tour

Roy Smith

Roy has been guiding for over 30 years with over 25 summer and winter season in NZ. He has extensive experieince as snow safety officer and guiding for heliski opperations and regularly assesses on mountain guides exams.

 

IFMGA - New Zealand

New Zealand Ski Tour

Nick Cradock
Nick is one of NZ's most prestigious alpine climbers and experienced mountain guides. He has been working as a qualified IFMGA guide for over 30 years,  pioneering ski guiding in India as well as in Russia and Greenland and more recently establishing many new rock routes around Wanaka and the Darrans. 

IFMGA - New Zealand

Ervin

Ervin Velic

Ervin is returning for his third season at Aspiring Guides in 2017.

Reading a list of Ervin's climbing accomplishments is like a dictionary of the world's mountains. Ervin is a native of Slovakia but now works primarily in Chamonix.  From the Eiger to Mount Everest, Ervin's 16 years as a professional guide have hit virtually every important mountain range.   Ervin guided in New Zealand from 2002-2006 and he returns this year with his wife to relax in the less pressured environment of New Zealand.

EXPEDITIONS
Mt. Everest 8848 m, Himalaya
Dhaulágiri 8167 m, Himalaya
1984, 1996, 2005 Denali/Mt. Mc. Kinley 6194 m, Alaska
Chan Tengri 6997 m

IFMGA - Slovakia/New Zealand

Gianni-Predan

Gianni Predan

Gianni has been guiding since 1995 when he left his career in the electronics industry to work in the mountains. In the northern summer, he works in the Western European Alps (Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso Valais, ...) and has spent the last 3 southern summers working in NZ.

Gianni is consistently described by our clients as and one of the nicest guys you could meet! Other adjectives include gentlemanly, patient, nurturing, soft spoken, attentive and observant. Shorter than average stature but get him on an ice or rock climb and it's something to behold!

He has also climbed in Yosemite and Patagonia. 

IFMGA - Italy/New Zealand

Mt Aspiring - West Face

Clement Naegelen

Clement joins us for 2017/18 summer season.

IFMGA - France

Chhirring-Sherpa-1

Chhiring Sherpa

Chhiring joins us for the 2017/18 summer season. He has an impressive guiding resume including many significant peaks in Nepal including Cholatse, Ama Dablam 4 times, Everest twice, K2 and Cho-oyu. He has instructed in the Khumbu Climbing Center has competed nationally in climbing competitions. 

IFMGA - Nepal

Mt Aspiring - South West Ridge

Nicolas Honegger

Nicolas joins us for the 2017/18 summer season

IFMGA - France

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Aritza Monasterio

Aritza has lived and guided in Peru's Cordillia Blanca for over 25 years and operates a lodge in Huarez. He spends the Peruvian off-season guiding for Aspiring Guides in New Zealand.  

Aritza pioneered some of the Cordilla Blanca's hardest climbs including the West Face of Chacraraju. More importantly he is known as a tireless guide (it must come from his years at altitude) who is meticulous in his planning and fun to be with in the mountains.

Aritza is trip leader for our Peru climbing and trekking operations

IFMGA - Peru/New Zealand

Andy Cole

Andy Cole

Andy has been an army mountaineering and survival instructor for many years. After leaving the Army, he took up a position as an Antarctic Field trainer, leadership and personal development facilitator. Before coming to guiding, Andy trained as an aircraft technician and trade instructor as well as being a Geo technician and rock blaster. There's not much that Andy can't turn his hand to! And in his spare time there's nothing he likes better than to go ski touring and sailing with his two sons.

IFMGA - New Zealand

DanPhillips

Dan Phillips

Growing up in Perth, West Australia, Dan worked Outdoor Instructor for a few years leading rock climbing, kayaking and bushwalking trips. He soon discovered snow and ice in New Zealand and was hooked on being in the mountains. He is a passionate skier and rock climber.

In 2008  Dan began work as a ski patroller on the ski hills and guiding on the west coast glaciers. He has spent the last 3 summers as a Team Leader for Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Search and Rescue and Snow Safety Officer for Mt Hutt Ski field during winters.

Dan has also spent time climbing in Europe as well as Ski Patrolling and Cat Ski guiding in Canada.

In his spare time Dan enjoys hunting, fishing and 4WD-ing in his big red  60 series Landcruiser called 'Helga', listening predominantly to Led Zeppelin on vinyl and watching a few modern classic movies. Sometimes even the odd round of golf.

NZMGA Aspirant Mountain and Ski Guide

cristina-pogacean_7

Cristina Pogacean

Cristina joins us for the 2017/18 summer season. She enjoy all aspects of mountaineering and has competed in bouldering, sport and ice climbing competition, coming away with 20 1st place positions between 2005 and 2016. She is also a qualified civil engineer.


Expeditions experieince include:
201: Khan Tengri (7010m) in by the by the North -East ridge, 
2013: Reaching 7200m on the South West face of Shishapangma (8013m) 
2013: First ascent of Gandharva Chuli (6248m) in Annapurna Himal, alpine style by the SW ridge and the W ridge.  
2014: Bhagirathi I (6856 m), SW face, attempt of a new line.
2016: Reaching 59000m on T13 (6436 m by the, NW Ridge and first ascent of T16 South Summit (6431m), S face, “Supercouloir”, both in Zanskar, India. 

EEMGA Aspirant Mountain and Ski Guide - Romania



Tai Naka

Tai grew up skiing in Hokkaido, the island of ‘Japow’ in Japan.

He moved to NZ in 2001 hoping to become an outdoor instructor or guide. Soon after he discovered unique club fields in Canterbury and the Craigieburn/Arthur’s Pass area - which became his backcountry playground.

While woking as a glacier guide on the South Island's West Coast, he explored the endless glaciers and peaks of the Southern Alps skiing and climbing as much as time would allow.

Tai never has a dull moment being a passionate skier, climber, whitewater kayaker, hunter, fisherman and mountain biker.

NZMGA Ski Guide and Aspirant Mountain Guide

Ski

BLACK-PEAK-EAST-FACE

Mark Evans
Mark has an extensive ski and winter background working as a Ski Patroller at the Remarkables and more recently on the avalanche programme for the Milford Road.

NZMGA Ski Guide

New Zealand Ski Tour

Dave Lundin
Dave has an extensive experieince ski patrolling in the Craigieburns and has spent the last 3 winters working as a tutor on Tai Poutini Ski Patrol training program in Wanaka. He spends his summers doing rope access work or ski guiding in Japan. In the past he has guided kayaking and Wild Walks. 

 

NZMGA Ski Guide

Black Peak Hut sunset

Paul Nicholson
Paul joins us for the 2017 winter season

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide

AnnaLoomes

Anna Loomes
Growing up in rural South Canterbury, Anna was introduced to the joys of bush bashing and back country huts at an early age. This soon developed into a passion for skiing and snowboarding and through this, a love for the alpine environment and the beauty and challenges to be found there. 

Following a year at Aoraki Polytech in her early twenties, Anna went to spend winters at the remote club ski fields and summers on the west coast glaciers. For the last few years she has been working as a ski patroller on Mt Ruapehu and the Remarkables in Queenstown and as a glacier and trekking guide in the Aoraki Mt Cook area. More recently she has qualified as an assistant ski guide and looking forward to applying her guiding skills and mountain knowledge in this new area.

In her spare time Anna likes to be biking, scrambling, carrying her skis through thick alpine scrub or hiding away with a coffee and a book.

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide and Alpine Trekking Guide, Hard Ice Guide

Tom-AG-Headshot

Tom Willmott

“Tom loves all things snowboarding and sharing his passion for surfing the mountain with all those around him.  He has been based in Wanaka for the past 17 winters and when not guiding works for Snowsports NZ as the Head Coach of New Zealand’s Freeski and Snowboard teams travelling the globe from one training camp or competition to the next.  A former World Cup competitor and 3-time Olympic coach, Tom juggles his time between coaching in the halfpipe, guiding in the backcountry and spending time with his young family.”

NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide

Hiking

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Jessica Marriott

Jessica ("Jess") is not only the Aspiring Guides Operations Manager, she also gets out into the field to spend time with our clients.  Jessica has NZOIA Senior Instructor Rockclimbing, Bush 2 & Alpine 1 qualifications.  When she's not organising everything that goes back at Base, or guiding on our Wild Walks treks, she escapes to climb some seriously high grade rock climbs. Quick with a giggle, Jess has a relaxed but caring manner that builds confidance with all her clients.

Trekking Guide & AG Operations Manager

Jo-Haines

Jo Haines

Jo has been wandering the hills since she was a teenager. As well as years exploring the NZ Southern Alps on transalpine trips and climbing NZ’s well known and less well know peaks, she has been fortunate to have spent time in the Himalaya, on the rock walls in Australia and the USA and hanging out with Emperor penguins in Antarctica.

Jobs past and present include instructing at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, working in Antarctica and the Himalaya, teaching high school physics and designing websites or working in the mountains around her local town of Wanaka. Back-country telemarking and skate skiing keeps the smile on her face in winter.

Trekking Guide



George Cummings

George is a bit secretive when it comes to writing a bio about himself (we suspect he is actually a secret agent)....so here's some of what our clients have been saying about him.  

"George was laid back but always ready to answer questions patiently. His manner definitely suited us"

"It was a very relaxing, stress free trip. Everything from food to accommodation was very well organised making it an enjoyable trip"

Trekking Guide

michael-hoare

Michael Hoare

...

Trekking Guide

Administration Team

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Dave Hardy

Dave Hardy

Dave has returned home to Otago after 25 years of travelling the world and latterly living in North Canterbury. My background in sales and management  is slightly different to our other team members but my passion for the outdoors and love of the mountains makes the transition to Aspiring Guides and the Adventure Tourism industry an easy fit. My interests include Skiing, Tramping and Running and after years of being confined to a desk I can't wait to experience some of our amazing products first hand. I look forward to continuing the amazing service offered by the previous owners and feel privileged to be part of such a professional team.

Director

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Jessica Marriott

Jess has come all the way from the tropics of Darwin and she has a passion for rock climbing and mountaineering. She’s got a degree in Music and a diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management. She loves to guide and instruct in the outdoors and holds NZOIA Rock 2, Alpine 1 & Bush 2 qualifications. When away from the office Jess is usually out climbing, biking or skiing.

General Manager



Henrick Forsberg

Henrick grew up in Northern Norway growing up being in the outdoors and lots of skiing.  When he was 16 he started competing in Biathlon (which includes cross counrty skiing and shooting) and soon after reached the national level and was part of the Swedish National Team for 2 years.  After this chapter he went on to travel and explore the world, eventually ending up in Wanaka.  He spent two seasons at Snowfarm and decided he would like to stick around.  Now based year round here in Wanaka and at Aspiring Guides.

Operations Manager

Robyn_Brighouse

Robyn Brighouse

After many years of dreaming about mountain climbing Robyn participated in a Mountain Skills Course with Aspiring Guides in 2003. She loved it so much she continued in the same year with a Black Peak Ice Climbing Trip and a summit of Mt Aspiring. In 2004 Robyn travelled to Peru to join an Aspiring Guides expedition in the Cordillera Blanca and summitted Ishinca and Alpamayo. As she was spending so much time in the office Aspiring Guides decided to employ her to help out in the office. 

Bookings & Administration

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Carla Strong

Carla was brought up in the South Island and after spending years adventuring around the world has landed in Wanaka and started calling it home.  She loves the outdoors and has instructed and lead trips in NZ, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Tanzania, Nicaragua,  Costa Rica and Ecuador.   Her time off is spent in the mountains, running and biking around the local tracks or dreaming up her next adventure!

Bookings & Adminstration

"Whatever the season -
summer or winter, the
New Zealand Southern
Alps provide a breathtaking
venue for adventure. Let us
share our passion for the
mountains with you."

Tim Steward
Chief Guide, IFMGA/ UIAGM
 

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