A seriously injured woman will spend the night trapped in a crevasse near Fox Glacier, 3000 metres above sea level, in freezing conditions.
The German woman suffered serious limb injuries when she fell between 10 and 20 metres into the crevasse, understood to be on Glacier Peak, about midday today.
Her partner was forced to leave her, alone and injured, to walk several kilometres to raise the alarm.
West Coast search and rescue co-ordinator Sean Judd said three members of the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Alpine Cliff Rescue Team (ACR) are in the crevasse and will spend the night with the woman.
"They are very capable and highly qualified climbers and have first aid skills to a high degree,"’ Judd said.
However, he said the situation "was not ideal".
"The temperature will fall to freezing or below."
The woman is coherent, able to talk and in good spirits, Judd said.
Another specialist ACR team from Aoraki Mt Cook will spend the night at nearby Pioneer Hut, along with a helicopter.
As soon as the weather allows tomorrow they will winch her out of the crevasse and take her to receive medical treatment.
Fox Glacier and Franz Josef ACR teams were initially deployed but had difficulty finding the woman due to cloudy conditions and called for assistance from the Mt Cook team.
Judd said the woman’s climbing partner made the right decision to leave her and get help.
"He’s done that by walking several kilometres up at 3000 metres. It’s not easy."
He used the Department of Conservation radio at Pioneer Hut to raise the alarm about 3pm. She had been alone for some time when rescuers found her.
Cloud cover prevented helicopter rescue attempts.
Search and rescue teams are taking care of her partner tonight.
"He won’t be left out in the cold," Judd said.
- Fairfax Media