Our Guiding Team
We are well qualified as well as passionate about our region.
We choose passionate staff from all walks of life, although most of our team have extensive outdoors experience or an adventure tourism background and bring a lot of skills with them.
Our rigorous guide training programme takes several weeks before our new guides begin an apprenticeship with senior staff. Training, reviews and assessment are ongoing for all staff, no matter how long they've been in their role. All of our guides complete first aid training before they are able to lead a group and carry a first aid kit with them on each trip.
All our guides hold their HIG (Hard Ice Guiding) certification or are working towards it. This certification is conducted through the internationally recognised New Zealand Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA). Our business along with other New Zealand glacier guiding companies were key drivers in developing the glacier guiding qualifications pathway, in collaboration with the NZMGA.
Each day prior to the first commercial tour, our guides inspect the glacier and cut large step-lines and walking tracks. As you pass through the unique terrain and impressive ice formations our experienced guides will be monitoring your movements carefully, ensuring that you are always safe on the ice.
Meet Our Guides
You will likely find Cale paddling down a West Coast river or skiing high up in the neve of the glaciers. His heart lies within the West Coast bush and will be the first to identify the unique flora and fauna of the local area. His favourite aspect of glacier guiding is meeting people from every corner of the world, whilst sharing common ground with them. If you are lucky enough to have him as your guide, you will learn about the history of the Franz Josef area and how the pioneering guides have led us to the path we follow today.
Hailing from North Carolina, Drew fostered a taste for the outdoors and moved West to Alaska where he developed a passion for glacier guiding. As a Lord of the Rings fan, he flew to New Zealand to explore the infamous peaks home to Mordor. On his roadie he came across Franz Josef Glacier and found his new home! Fun fact, he can play the violin! Some also say he looks like Brad Pitt…
Jimmy recently joined Franz Josef Glacier Guides after spending multiple seasons ski patrolling in Canterbury. Whilst attaining extensive knowledge in snowcraft, he brings an array of mountain savvy skills to the team and is ready to sharpen his new axe for a summer on the ice. He has already mastered the art of step cutting and is a natural when it comes to conversing with internationals and creating a warm family welcome on the glacier!
Originating from Florida, Jon deems the West Coast as the "mecca of adventure". He is the ultimate go-getter when opportunity presents. Although his original sport of choice is surfing, living in Franz Josef has allowed him to foster further passions such as diving, snowboarding, mountaineering and fishing. “Franz Josef is where it’s at" and we agree! He also has the best guide jokes.
Coming all the way from Canada, Kylan grew up camping and canoeing in the Great White North. Once in New Zealand, he found his way to the wild West Coast and fell in love with the rugged nature and unspoiled beauty of Franz Josef. When he is not guiding, you can usually find Kylan exploring some of the remote areas of NZ whilst trying to stay in every backcountry hut he can find. Kylan loves sharing passion for the outdoors and guiding guests on the glacier because he says, "There is nowhere else in the world you can immerse yourself in such a dynamic and exciting experience."
One of our senior guides, Phill finished his Outdoor Adventure studies before joining our team and has become one of our longest reigning glacier guides. Previously, he also worked on a sheep farm in Cardrona! His favourite trip to guide is ice climbing, where you can benefit exploring the ice in small groups at a relaxed pace whilst trying something new. Phill also loves hiking and skiing on his time off!
Rookie moved to the Coast from Motueka and started working as a guide in 2010, he was looking for a cool job for the season, fast forward a few years he is now one of our most experienced Guides. He instantly fell in love with the ruggedness of the West Coast and met his wife, Brooke, guiding on the glacier. Her dad started Franz Josef Glacier Guides in 1990. Michael is a passionate climber and loves nothing more than being amongst the peaks at the back of the glacier.
He's a self-proclaimed nerd, so when the climbing is no good, he spends his time doing art, watching Star Wars and playing video games.
Yorkshire lass, Sarina has been in Franz on and off for the last 7 years. With what was initially going to be a summer season...the pull of the glaciers and rugged West Coast country has kept her around. Her favorite pass time is step-cutting and providing bantz around the office (loves a good laugh). If you catch her on the glacier, be sure to say hi!