Wellington man fell to death on mountain

Last updated 15:58 19/09/2012
Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor: A coroner has found he died while searching for a new mountain route.
Mt Aspiring
Wanaka SAR member Phil Melchior
SLIPPED: Mt Twilight in Mt Aspiring national park where Michael Taylor died while tramping. This image shows the north face of Mt Twilight.

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A Wellington man who fell to his death while tramping in Mt Aspiring National Park likely slipped while trying to find a new route up a mountain.

Michael Gillard Taylor, 60, was found dead in a steep, rugged area on the northern side of Mt Twilight near Wanaka during a police aerial search.

The alarm had been raised the day before by members of his tramping party after he had failed to return from a solo trek.

Mr Taylor was a former president and life member of the Tararua Tramping Club, based in Mt Victoria.

In a decision released today, Coroner David Crerar said Mr Taylor had been part of a 12 member party that had travelled into the area by jet boat on December 27.

Mr Taylor had discussed with his friend Hugh Barr the possibility of trying to find a new route up onto the west ridge of Mt Twilight and left early in the morning on December 31 to carry out a reconnaissance.

While the exact reason for the fall was impossible to determine, it was likely Mr Taylor may have stopped to take photographs of the route for later reference and lost his balance.

A post-mortem examination found multiple injuries including skull fractures, a cardiac rupture and liver lacerations.

While tramping alone was often risky, Mr Crerar said he was satisfied Mr Taylor's extensive tramping experience negated this.

''Some of those who venture into our mountains are inexperienced and sometimes, it would have to be said, are too inexperienced to actually recognise their inexperience.

''Michael Taylor was not in that category and I am satisfied from the evidence that Michael Taylor was entirely capable of completing the route he was proposing to do on the day he died. It was ambitious and serious but eminently achievable by him.''

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- The Dominion Post

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