Reminder: this is where Sir Edmund Hillary learned to climb. And he's not the only one. New Zealand's mountains make for ideal training peaks because they require skill—glacier travel, crevasse rescue, and weather prediction—but no bottled oxygen. The South Island's Mount Cook, at 12,316 feet, is the country's tallest. But the best learning experiences for climbers with big ambitions are had on 9,951-foot Mount Aspiring, a highly technical peak in the Southern Alps with gorgeous views of the Tasman Sea. Aspiring Guides (aspiringguides.com) offers a five-day (heli-assisted) trip or seven-day (walk-in, walk-out) climbs, with a guide-to-client ratio of 1:1. From $2,830 per person.
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