Hard Ice Guide Assessment (4 days)

Participants may be assessed on any topic of the Hard Ice Guide training syllabus at any stage of the assessment. They will be required to teach and supervise revision sessions and practical exercises.

It is expected that only minimal training will need to be given.

Participants will be assessed on their personal technical skills necessary for guiding and instructing on the lower, hard ice glacial areas.

Participants’ guiding and instructional skills will be assessed to see that they will be effective guides and instructors for:

Half or full day walking trips and helihikes on lower hard ice glacial areas
Ice climbing days on lower, hard ice glacial areas.

Click here for Application Information anf Procedure and to download the Application Form

To be allocated a place on a Hard Ice Guide Assessment Course, you must have met the following criteria:

  • New Zealand resident or have a current work permit.
  • 100 days guiding work (over at least two seasons) at time of Assesssment on lower hard ice glacial areas under the supervision of an NZMGA Hard Ice, Climb or IFMGA Guide (signed by supervisor/s). (15 of these days must be under the direct supervision of an NZMGA Hard Ice, Climb or IFMGA Mountain Guide).
  • A letter of verification from the employer or Chief Guide of the 100 days logged guiding work at time of assessment must be submitted with the application. The Association may also request that the written logbook retained by the applicant be presented for sighting and examination.
  • Current Pre Hospital Emergency Care Qualification.
  • Attendance on a Hard Ice Guide Training Course within the last two years.
  • Hard Ice Guide Training Course
    This course is run ’in house’ as part of a glacier guiding company’s staff training.
    The training is in the techniques necessary for safe and efficient guiding of walking parties on the lower hard ice areas of glaciers. It is recommended that all subjects in the Hard Ice Guide training syllabus are be covered and individual reports written certifying that this has been done.
    This course does not give right of membership to NZMGA but is the first step in training towards NZMGA Hard Ice Guide status and membership.


On successfully passing a Hard Ice Guide Assessment Course and ratification from the Technical Subcommittee, the participant attains the status of NZMGA Hard Ice Guide.

Location, timing, and length:
Usually, this will be run over four days in spring or autumn

Further information:
Please read the following sections before you attend this course:

Marking schedule
Technical Syllabus
Analysis of Topics

Syllabus and Marking Schedule Hard Ice Guide
Topics must be taught as per the Analysis of Topics.

Client Care

2    Communication with client           10
3    Route selection                              20
4    Terrain analysis                              20
5    Pace setting                                    10
8    Application of guiding technique   10
9    Group management                        10
11     Client control                               20
12    Client safety                                  20
Subtotal 120

Personal skills and knowledge

13    General mountain movement        10
14   Fitness and stamina 10
15    Professionalism and
    personal appearance      
16    Personal equipment                       10
17    Reaction under stress                     10
18    Leadership and decision making    10
19    Rope handling                                10
22    Ice climbing                                   10
23    Step cutting                                    20
24    Belays on ice including anchors    10
27    Mountain Weather                         10
28    Nature and environment                20
Subtotal 140


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

Search and rescue

37    Crevasse extraction                          10
38    Stretchers                                          10
40    Accident site management                10
Subtotal 30

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

Course total                                            340 
Final comments - Trainers/assessors will give a full summary with comments and recommendations.