26 Apr 2017

Fiordland climbers found in 'unforgiving terrain'

8:39 am on 26 April 2017

A helicopter pilot who helped find the bodies of two climbers who fell to their death in Fiordland says they were attempting a very challenging climb.

The pair were reported missing on Monday afternoon and a helicopter spotted their bodies just below Marian Peak in the Darran Mountains that evening.

They were roped together.

The owner and chief pilot of Southern Lakes Helicopters Sir Richard Hayes, who recovered the bodies yesterday, told Morning Report the route is very challenging and would require a lot of experience.

"It's very unforgiving terrain. It's a very popular area for people to climb in because of the challenge.

"It's near-vertical where they were trying to climb, and if it's at all wet that makes it twice as difficult."

Sir Richard said it appeared the pair were well-equipped.

He said the tragedy was devastating for the climbing community.

The climbers, reported to be Otago-based, are yet to be named.