Analysis of Topics

Each topic is summarised under three headings:

Key skills - Those skills which are particularly applicable to that topic.
Demonstration - Ways in which the skills may be demonstrated for assessment on courses.
Evaluation - The required level of competence in the topic.

1. Preparation and planning
Key skills - Evaluating clients’ ambitions and ability; research; trip design; logistics management.
Demonstration Organising parties for day trips and multi-day trips. This is normally done as part of a guiding assignment.
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate ability to efficiently plan and organise a trip, having full regard for client requirements, weather and mountain conditions, time available, access logistics, accommodation, food and equipment, legal requirements, cost constraints, and contingencies.

2. Communication with clients
Key skills - Clear precise speech; ability to command attention and convey instructions; judging degree of comprehension.
Demonstration - During guiding assignments, instruction tasks, rescue exercises, and group discussions.
Evaluation - When co-ordinating tasks, the participant should give instructions clearly and precisely, project a pleasant approachable manner, and be sensitive to the clients’ needs at all times. S/he should maintain an adequate flow of communication with clients and pitch communication according to clients’ experience.

3. Route selection
Key skills - Terrain evaluation for overall route selection; client evaluation; judgment of mountain conditions, interpreting objective hazards; judging exposure; judging distance and time.
Demonstration - During guiding assignments, leading parties and making all route finding decisions in basic and technical climbing situations, and uphill and downhill skiing situations. Plotting routes for navigation plans. Evaluation of terrain from maps, photographs and view points. Avalanche awareness.
Evaluation - The participant is to select a satisfactory route with full regard for client fitness, stamina and aspirations, party safety, efficient comfortable travel, time and weather conditions, and degree of commitment.

4. Terrain analysis
Key skills - Reading terrain features while en route; identifying local hazards in relation to changing current conditions; continuous micro-adjustment to chosen route when travelling.
Demonstration - Throughout the course on all assignments on either foot or ski.
Evaluation - The participant must be able to demonstrate an acute awareness and understanding of terrain analysis, the interaction of terrain and prevailing conditions in the mountain environment, and how to use the available terrain to the best advantage for climbing or skiing.

5. Pace setting
Key skills - Judging clients’ condition; estimating time and distance; selecting and maintaining the appropriate pace; planning stops; maintaining client comfort and confidence.
Demonstration - On guiding assignments, leading parties with specific objectives within reasonable time constraints.
Evaluation - The participant is to set and maintain a pace appropriate for the whole party with full regard for safety, client enjoyment, and achieving the objective. Stops are to be planned, not forced, and should be used to the greatest advantage. Clients’ food intake and clothing is to be monitored, and unnecessary delays avoided.

6. Cooking and camp management
Key skills - Food planning; stove and lamp operation; meal preparation and presentation; group management; health care; resource management; public relations; radio use.
Demonstration - The participant is to plan and prepare meals for the party on a roster basis, prepare food rations for one day and multi-day trips, and teach the operation of all hut and camp equipment.
Evaluation - The participant must be clean and efficient in hut and camp situations, produce wholesome attractive meals, manage rations resourcefully, maintain a good rapport with other hut users, be sensitive to client personal needs and privacy, and use hut books and radio services responsibly.

7. Shelters and bivouacs
Key skills - Planning; equipment selection; site selection; evaluating and adapting natural shelter; building snow shelters; constructing emergency shelters; managing manpower and equipment resources.
Demonstration - Planned bivouacs will be assigned on the course, either as shelter building (snow caves), or as lightweight multi-day climbing bivouacs or emergency shelter construction demonstration with fly sheets, snow trenches, or crevasses.
Evaluation - Selection of site, appropriateness of shelter to situation, organisation of construction, equipment, and person power.

8. Application of guiding techniques
Key skills - Sound practical understanding of all guiding methods for mountaineering, rock climbing, ski mountaineering, ski and snow boarding; judging best methods to use; judging clients’ security and confidence.
Demonstration - During all guiding assignments for alpine and rock climbing, skiing and snow boarding, leading parties on full day climbs involving mixed technical ground, leading sections of trips, participating in rescue exercises.
Evaluation - The participant must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of all techniques, and be able to apply the most appropriate to any guiding situation. S/he must be competent at setting up complex rope systems, be aware of terrain restrictions and styles for guiding skiers, snow boarders, and parties on foot in the mountains; be able to inspire confidence and remain acutely aware of the party’s security.

9. Group management
Key skills - Safe terrain and site selection, spacing and pacing the group as appropriate for the task and conditions.
Demonstration - During specific guiding assignments and instructional tasks.
Evaluation - Suitability of the site to the task, placing of people so that they are in touch with the lesson. Safety of the group.

10. Heliski guiding
Key skills - Helicopter safety; run selection; group management; communication; terrain analysis; snow safety; ability to motivate; emergency procedures – the integration of winter guiding skills.
Demonstration - During a specific heliski assignment and quiz sessions by Level 2 Course participants as part of their final assessment (Ski Guides Course only).
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate competence in putting all the associated skills together for a safe and enjoyable day.

Note This topic is only to be done if it is economically feasible.

11. Client control

Key skills - Communication skills; planning; anticipation of problems.
Demonstration - On guiding assignments, during teaching tasks and rescue exercises.
Evaluation - The participant must develop effective strategies for ensuring maximum safety, comfort, and enjoyment for the client. Clearly communicate any advice or instructions, and where safety is involved, ensure that any instructions are correctly carried out. S/he must inspire confidence in their decisions.

12. Client safety
Key skills - Identifying and interpreting hazards; judgment of client security; all mountaineering and guiding skills.
Demonstration - Throughout the course, in all situations when the participant is responsible for safety.
Evaluation - The participant must not jeopardise the safety of clients or anyone else. Show keen alertness to all potential hazards and demonstrate the ability to effectively manage potential hazard situations.

13. General mountain movement
Key skills - Fitness; balance; rhythm; careful efficiency in walking and climbing.
Demonstration - Throughout the course, on all climbs and walks.
Evaluation - The participant must move with confidence and efficiency in all terrain.

14. Fitness and stamina
Key skills - Physical condition; efficient movement; pacing skills; maintaining resources.
Demonstration - During all activities throughout the course.
Evaluation - The participant must be able to sustain an efficient pace throughout a long climbing day while retaining sufficient energy to handle unforeseen physical and mental tasks.

15. Professionalism and personal appearance
Key skills - Developing professional self esteem; communication skills; inspiring confidence; care of equipment, clothing and self; tidiness; punctuality.
Demonstration - Throughout the course.
Evaluation - The participant should maintain a tidy, clean appearance, keep equipment in order, maintain good communication with the party, be punctual, display confidence and proficiency in all techniques, and maintain good public relations within and outside the group.

16. Personal equipment and equipment knowledge
Key skills - Equipment choice; care and maintenance; recognising wear and tear; familiarity with use; judging gear requirements; knowledge of the technical advantages and limitations of different items.
Demonstration - Inspection of all mountaineering equipment during the course; use of equipment on guiding assignments and exercises; participating in group discussions; demonstrate knowledge of function and all safety aspects of personal, client and group equipment.
Evaluation - The participant is to be equipped with gear appropriate to the guiding demands and in good working order. S/he must be thoroughly familiar with personal, client, and group equipment and its use and limitations; be able to accurately discuss the pros and cons of various equipment types currently in use; carry the necessary selection of gear for any given trip.

17. Reaction under stress
Key skills - Maintaining confidence; fitness and stamina; mental agility; ability to rationalise priorities in emergencies; self control; leadership skills.
Demonstration - During guiding assignments, rescue exercises, navigation exercises, instruction tasks, and special tasks.
Evaluation - The participant should show the ability to keep a level head in all situations, to interpret problems and devise efficient solutions, to evolve correct priorities for treatment of emergencies, and show sensitivity and ability to manage the reactions of others.

18. Leadership and decision making
Key skills - Coping with responsibility; formulating and communicating plans; decisions; inspiring confidence.
Demonstration - During guiding assignments, rescue exercises, and instruction tasks.
Evaluation - The participant is to be competent at taking care in group situations and making and communicating rational responses to circumstances. S/he must show a firm commitment to responsible leadership and be able to delegate tasks and adequately supervise them.

19. Rope handling
Key skills - Dexterity in knot tying and rope handling; understanding all mountaineering and rescue rope systems, including abseiling.
Demonstration - During guiding assignments, rescue exercises and instruction tasks.
Evaluation - The participant must tidily and efficiently demonstrate all knots in the technical syllabus, be competent and efficient in setting up all rope systems, and show resourcefulness in overcoming difficulties.

20. Rock climbing
Key skills - Confidently lead grade 15 rock with alpine boots and day pack and grade 20 in rock shoes using natural protection; safe resourceful placement of protection; judging client reactions and security.
Demonstration - During specific rock craft exercises, guiding assignments on alpine rock, instruction tasks.
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate personal rock climbing skill to the stated grades, make safe, efficient anchor placements, and communicate effectively with clients. S/he must analyse and teach rock climbing skills.

21. Belays on rock
Key skills - Understanding the mechanics of all rock anchor systems; skill at devising and placing anchors; rope handling and belaying techniques; judging client security; communication.
Demonstration - During specific rock craft exercises, guiding assignments on rock, rescue exercises on rock.
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate a sound practical knowledge of all aspects of rock anchor placement. Anchors are to be safe and strong enough for their purpose and to be placed efficiently. Protection for the party is to be adequate at all times. Belaying technique is to be smooth, efficient and safe, and communications are to be clear and precise.

22. Snow and ice climbing
Key skills - Cramponing; step kicking; safe, efficient use of ice axe and other ice tools; route selection and hazard interpretation; client supervision.
Demonstration - During specific ice craft exercises, guiding assignments on snow and ice routes, rescue exercises.
Evaluation - The participant is to climb confidently, efficiently and safely in all conditions and always show due regard for hazards, client security and confidence, and client comfort and enjoyment.

23. Step cutting
Key skills - Ability to cut steps (single or double) descending and ascending, and judgment of the appropriate circumstances of when to cut steps. Ability to cut appropriate stances on snow/ice belays.
Demonstration - Throughout the course when needed or when asked to demonstrate.
Evaluation - Ease of use, spacing between steps, speed and efficiency, judgment of the necessity of steps. Comfort and appropriateness of belay stances.

24. Belays on snow and ice
Key skills - Interpreting the strength and quality of snow and ice; understanding the mechanics of all snow and ice anchor systems; skill at devising and placing anchors and belay stances, rope handling and belaying skills.
Demonstration - During specific ice craft exercises, guiding assignments on snow and ice, rescue exercises.
Evaluation - The participant is to show a sound practical knowledge of snow and ice strength and conditions and be proficient at placing all currently accepted forms of snow and ice anchors. S/he must be efficient at rope handling and belaying, and show acute awareness of client security and confidence.

25. Navigation
Key skills - Map interpretation; preparing navigation plans; compass and barometer/altimeter operation; field navigation skills; GPS use.
Demonstration - During specific theory and practical navigation exercises, guiding assignments and instruction tasks.
Evaluation - The participant is to interpret terrain and route feasibility from maps as accurately as they allow. Plot precise navigation plans for extended journeys, with full regard for hazards, timing, and contingencies. Demonstrate adequate field navigation skills and be able to teach the principles of navigation.

26. Snow safety skills
Key skills -  Interpreting snow conditions and stability/hazard potential; understanding snow metamorphism and avalanche mechanics; forecasting snow stability; route finding and terrain analysis during periods of instability.
Demonstration - During specific avalanche exercises, guiding assignments on snow, instructional and quiz sessions.
Evaluation - The participant is to make and substantiate valid stability evaluations, demonstrate acute awareness of avalanche terrain and hazard potential in the field. S/he is to prepare accurate snow profiles. S/he must be able to teach the fundamentals of snow physics, avalanche mechanics, and practical snow safety.


27. Mountain weather
Key skills - Interpreting weather signs, understanding the fundamentals of global and local weather dynamics, and recording precise observations. Use of instruments for weather readings.
Demonstration - Practical weather observations and forecasts. Instructional and quiz sessions.
Evaluation - The participant is to record accurate weather observations, produce and substantiate valid forecasts, and be able to teach meteorological fundamentals.

28. Nature and environment
Key skills - A basic understanding of NZ mountain geography; geology, glaciology, fauna and flora; sensitivity to the environment and its protection.
Demonstration - Conduct throughout the course. Instructional and quiz sessions.
Evaluation - The participant is to show an understanding of the fundamentals of glaciology, rock types and alpine geology, and natural history. S/he must be able to name the majority of plants, insects, and animals commonly observed in the field. S/he must show a keen sense of responsibility for environmental preservation.

29. Aircraft safety
Key skills - Understanding the safety aspects necessary for working with helicopters and ski planes; able to identify safe landing and takeoff areas for helicopters and ski planes; check seat belts and door closures and communicate with the pilot.
Demonstration - During access and egress in and out of the mountains and during the course.
Evaluation - The participant is to give effective safety briefings, choose appropriate sights for take off & landing, and safety and efficiently manage the group around aircraft.

30. Radio use
Key skills - Having an understanding of the different types of radios in use in the mountains in New Zealand and their pros and cons; use professional radio procedure.
Demonstration - During the course and on designated radio schedules.
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate the professional and efficient use of radio communication systems.

31. Speech and contact with students
Key skills - Appropriate, clear, and precise instructions and speech. Engaging attention of those whom communication is with. Judging feedback as to effectiveness of contact/understanding.
Demonstration - During specific instructional tasks, guiding assignments, and lecture presentations.
Evaluation - The participant is to effectively deliver instructions; give an instructional session or present a lecture topic during a course.

32. Structure of the lesson
Key skills - Apply useful and logical structure to a lesson; instructions or lecture.
Demonstration - During specific instructional tasks, guiding assignments, and lecture presentations.
Evaluation - The participant is to apply useful and logical structure to a lesson; instructional task or a lecture during a course.

33. Site selection
Key skills - Choose safe, appropriate and effective instructional or presentation site.
Demonstration - During specific instructional tasks, guiding assignments, and lecture presentations.
Evaluation - The participant is to locate and evaluate appropriate sites for instructional sessions or presentations.

34. Support Material and Demonstration

Key skills - Knowledge of subject; use of props and delivery aids; inventiveness; research.
Demonstration - During specific instructional tasks, guiding assignments, and lecture presentations.
Evaluation - The participant is to deliver accurate, well researched and professional instructional sessions or presentations.

35. Ability to Motivate

Key skills - Engage attention of others; stimulate; encourage and develop confidence and enthusiasm; inspire.
Demonstration - During specific instructional tasks, guiding assignments, and lecture presentations.
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate the ability to engage the attention of others they wish to communicate instructions or present information to. In doing this they should also show the ability to encourage and develop confidence and enthusiasm. They should inspire individuals and groups.

36. Improvised cliff rescue (raises and lowers)
Key skills - Proficiency in applying all designated rope systems; evaluation of rescue tasks; application of appropriate methods; manpower and resource management.
Demonstration - During specific exercises, instructional sessions and on guiding assignments.
Evaluation - The participant is to competently apply designated rope systems and show resourcefulness in improvising methods to overcome problems. S/he must be able to adequately control a team rescue effort.

37. Crevasse extraction
Key skills - Practise specific crevasse rescue systems and variations; ability to foresee and avoid difficulties and hazards.
Demonstration - During crevasse rescue exercises in an actual crevasse, guiding assignments on glaciers, and instructional tasks.
Evaluation - The participant is to perform:

Unassisted anchoring and rescue of a client from a crevasse (Climbing Guides Course)
Anchoring and rescue of unroped client from a crevasse, including abseiling in and use of an improvised harness (Ski Guides Course)
Self-rescue (prusiking) out of a crevasse (all courses).
All of these exercises are to be done in complete safety and within reasonable time constraints when compared to the rest of the group on the same exercise and with the same conditions. The participant must show good glacier travel sense and the ability to adequately control a group in glaciated areas (all courses).

38. Stretchers
Key skills - Improvisation of carrying systems using basic mountaineering equipment, managing equipment and manpower resources.
Demonstration - During specific exercises and simulated emergencies; in climbing and ski guiding situations.
Evaluation - The participant is to construct and demonstrate the use of one carrying and one sliding improvised stretcher, using only the guide’s and the clients’ equipment. S/he must be capable of organising the safe evacuation of an injured person and of the whole party.

39. Avalanche rescue and transceiver use
Key skills - Expertise in the use of avalanche transceivers and probes; strong organisational skills; practical knowledge of all avalanche rescue site management techniques. Logical progression of search techniques at a rescue site, including initial search phase.
Demonstration - During specific exercises, instructional and quiz sessions.
Evaluation (all courses) - The participant is to demonstrate the capability to plan rescue strategies and co-ordinate rescue efforts on avalanche rescue sites, with full regard for speed and safety. Participants will be tested in the use of avalanche transceivers and show a thorough knowledge of the use of probes.

For Ski Guide Courses the participant will be tested in the use of
avalanche transceivers to the following standard.
• area 50mx50m
• slight slope (check for probing perpendicular to slope)
• 4 - 5 buried transceivers
• 2 transceivers buried within 2m of each other
• 2 transceivers buried deep, >1.5m
• transceivers to be under wooden board or pack
• Must hit board/pack with probe, leave transceiver transmitting
• Must use the transceiver you come with
• Standard at 15min.
• >20 minutes fail


40. Practical first aid
Key skills - Evaluation of an accident scene; evolving correct priorities, diagnoses and stabilisation of injuries; patient treatment and care; leadership; inspiring confidence.
Demonstration - During simulated accident exercises, instruction tasks and quiz sessions.
Evaluation - The participant is to diagnose and correctly treat simulated injuries, take charge effectively at an accident site, and be able to perform CPR and the basics of mountain first aid.

41. Downhill skiing (alpine)
Key skills - Off-piste skiing; skiing with a pack; roped skiing; ski teaching skills.
Demonstration - In the field throughout the course on guiding assignments and during specific exercises.
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate controlled skiing with a pack in any snow conditions, and a strong efficient style.

42. Laying of a skinning track
Key skills - Skinning; kick turns; fluency of movement in uphill ski mode.
Demonstration - In the field throughout the Ski Guide Course on guiding assignments and during specific exercises.
Evaluation - The participant is to demonstrate a high level of competence in techniques associated with the use of skis in uphill mode. S/he must show good judgment of route, grade, and pace when leading a skinning party.