Injured climber in good hands - Pike

RACHEL THOMAS
Last updated 05:00 19/07/2014

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A haunting deja vu struck a Kiwi adventurer and amputee during a climber's fall on Mt Ruapehu this week.

William Pike, who lost a leg in an eruption on Mt Ruapehu in 2007, was back on the mountain on Thursday when two people had to be rescued from the Pinnacle Ridge.

He said he and his partner, Rebecca Baird, were standing on the mountain's Delta Ridge, next to a New Zealand Alpine Club hut yesterday morning when disaster struck two climbers on a ridge directly opposite them, who were part of a separate party.

"I think the first thing you think of is poor climber and you feel for his friends and family."

Pike didn't see the 25-year-old man take a 300m fall down the mountain gully, but did witness the helicopter rescue of the 23-year-old female climber who became stuck atop the Pinnacles.

"We were walking back to the club hut and saw a helicopter. We could see the female climber stranded.

"It certainly brought back some memories of helicopters flying around."

When Pike was injured in 2007, he was also airlifted to Waikato Hospital, where his lower right leg had to be amputated, and he spent the next nine weeks under the care of the hospital's trauma team.

Yesterday's injured climber, who has only been identified as a 25-year-old Auckland man, remained in a serious but stable condition last night in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit.

Pike says the climber seriously injured on Mt Ruapehu yesterday is in good hands at Waikato Hospital.

"I went through the trauma team and they looked after me really well. [The climber's] definitely in good hands, I'll tell you that."

He said a strong southerly gale hit the mountain on Thursday, which prevented him taking Baird up higher up the mountain.

"We were looking at going up the mountain a bit higher . . . but we decided to be cautious with it being my partner's first time up there."

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