Climber dies on mountain
An experienced climber has died after falling 600 metres while skiing on Aoraki-Mt Cook.
A Department of Conservation Aoraki-Mt Cook Alpine Rescue Team responded to a call at 8.30 this morning from a climber whose climbing partner had fallen.
They were climbing and skiing near the Summit Ridge Porter Col of Mt Cook.
Rescuers believed he may have fallen 600 vertical metres.
Lake Tekapo senior constable Brent Swanson said the men were skiing when the accident happened.
''It's not a ski area. What they were doing was pretty extreme ... at the extreme end of skiing.''
The rescue party took a helicopter to the scene where they established the fallen man had died.
Swanson said conditions were perfect at the time but the height the climbers were at put the helicopter mission, about 10am, at the extreme end of flying.
The rescue team returned the uninjured partner at 11.50am and then retrieved the dead climber at 12.20pm.
The climbing pair, who are from overseas, went into the park yesterday with the intention to climb Aoraki-Mt Cook.
The men were skiing/traversing at 3700m towards the lower summit of Mt Cook.
They were described as very experienced and had successfully ski/climbed the East Face of Mt Cook and The Footstool the previous week.
At the time the call came in members of the DOC Alpine Rescue Team were in the park carrying out alpine rescue training with members of LandSAR NZ.
The names of the deceased and their country of origin involved will be released later.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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