31 Jul 2012

Fatal alpine course 'too ambitious'

11:07 pm on 31 July 2012

A Coroner's report has criticised a mountaineering instructors' course at which a young Wellington man died.

Paul McLauchlan was part of a group of four climbers taking part in a basic alpine instruction course at Mt Ruapehu when he fell 250 metres to his death in August 2010.

The 34-year-old architect had no climbing or mountaineering experience and had taken part in the course to enable him to travel above the snow line safely.

In his report, Coroner Tim Scott highlights several factors which contributed to Mr McLauchlan's death.

He says the course was too ambitious and instructors failed to identify the sliding hazard as a major problem. There were also elements of risk and luck.

New Zealand Alpine club's spokesperson Sam Newtown says at the time of the accident the club was working on improving its National Instruction Framework, which it has now implemented.