Alpine Cliff Rescue

Alpine Cliff Rescue (ACR) teams cover terrain ranging from snowgrass and scree, to snow and icy slopes, heavily glaciated snowfields and mountains blanketed in winter snow . Search and rescue operations can be conducted day or night, in all weather.

Our ACR teams are called upon not only for ACR search and rescue operations, but also to support Field Teams in searching technical terrain where their specific skillset is required to maintain safety and efficacy of the operation.

Land Search and Rescue ACR team members are competent year-round mountaineers who are comfortable and efficient moving in a variety of terrain on primarily crampons, as well as skis and snowshoes.

Land Search and Rescue ACR team members primarily have the following backgrounds:

  • Recreationalists, whose primary pursuits include mountaineering, ski touring, rock and ice climbing. These people are often active members of local mountain sports clubs and are well connected to the recreational climbing community.
  • Qualified outdoor professionals, such as ski patrollers, park rangers, mountain guides and instructors, who work year-round in the mountains. They would have those same connections to the broader recreational community.

Team members have a high level of fitness and are able to move confidently through a wide variety of mountain terrain, whilst carrying all technical and personal gear needed to look after themselves and complete the tasking. Self-reliance in the mountain environment is critical, as is the ability to work effectively in small teams.

Commitment, Training & Equipment

Alpine Cliff Rescue volunteers are called upon to conduct search and rescue operations at any time of the day or night. You, your whānau , and your employer should all be comfortable with this possibility.

The frequency and duration of training will depend on your local group, but most ACR teams train at least once a month, and a couple of weekends a year. There is also the opportunity to train with the Aoraki/Mount Cook Alpine Rescue team, and specific first aid, avalanche, and technical rope rescue training to a national standard is provided.

We would like to provide our volunteers with all the equipment they need to perform their role. However, equipping volunteers is expensive, and there are occasions where groups are unable to provide all the equipment necessary. Your local group will be able to explain what equipment, if any, you may need to possess.

ACR teams: Taranaki ACR, RARO (Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation), Christchurch ACR, South Westland ACR (Tasman Police District), Aoraki/Mount Cook Alpine Rescue Team (Full time Doc Rangers), Wanaka ACR (Wanaka Search and Rescue), Wakatipu ACR (Wakatipu Land Search and Rescue).

Land Search and Rescue

Role Description

Land Search and Rescue’s Alpine and Cliff Rescue (ACR) teams are involved in a variety of search and rescue operations.

Often the terrain will determine if an ACR team is deployed. If the terrain is such that it requires the use of technical equipment and appropriate skills to keep the search and rescue team safe, the job will normally be allocated to ACR.

Register your Interest


Make sure you discuss joining SAR with your employer before signing up. Some work places allow special leave for SAR operations, others may require you to use your own leave. Discuss the process for notifying your boss when you are called out on a search.

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Land Search and Rescue acknowledges the huge commitment made by the whānau of our volunteers. Without family support, many of our volunteers would be unable to dedicate their time. Please share this information with your whānau.

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Ready to play your part?

Get in touch with your local Land Search & Rescue group…

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