22 Oct 2014

Climbers rescued from Mt Tasman

8:30 pm on 22 October 2014

Two climbers stranded on Mt Tasman in the Aoraki-Mt Cook National Park have been successfully rescued.

The black dot, highlighted by the circle, shows three climbers stranded on Mt Tasman.

The black dot, highlighted by the circle, shows three climbers stranded on Mt Tasman. Photo: NZ Police

A police spokesperson said the Queenstown two men, aged 28 and 30, were experienced climbers and set off at 3am to climb the north shoulder of Mt Tasman, the second-highest peak in New Zealand.

They got to within 50m of the summit when the snow, warm weather conditions and risk of avalanche prevented them from climbing any further or descending safely with snow anchors, the spokesperson said.

Canterbury police led the rescue effort, with The Helicopter Line, members of the Aoraki Mt Cook Rescue Team and Alpine Guides long-lining the men one at a time from Mt Tasman to a safe staging area at Plateau Hut before flying them to Mt Cook village.

"The men used their cell phone call emergency services and activated their beacon as the weather started to deteriorate," the spokesperson said.

"Police urge anyone who is heading to the high country or southern alps over the long weekend to ensure that they check the weather forecast, tell someone of their intentions and carry appropriate equipment for all kinds of weather.

"In the remote areas of the Southern Alps, a personal locator beacon is invaluable if you need to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency."

Department of Conservation spokesperson Shirley Slatter told Checkpoint the men became unhappy with the conditions and decided to abort their climb but were unable to descend.

"There was a risk of avalanche, they said they were unable to put snow stakes in so they were unable to abseil down, so out of their comfort zone.

"They've contacted police via the 111 system and, after that, they set off their locator beacon."

The airlift went smoothly, Ms Slatter said.