26 Apr 2017

Police name deceased climbers

7:36 pm on 26 April 2017

An alpine climbing group says it is devastated two of its members have been found dead, after they fell from a cliff face in Fiordland.

Experienced climbers Conor Smith, left, and Sarwan Chand were killed by a fall from a cliff face in Fiordland.

Conor Smith, left, and Sarwan Chand were described as experienced and competent mountaineers. Photo: Supplied / NZ Alpine Team

The New Zealand Alpine Team named the pair earlier today, and police have now confirmed they were Conor Smith, 22, from Greymouth and Sarwan Chand, 27, from Wanaka.

The pair were reported missing on Monday afternoon and a helicopter found their bodies later that day at the bottom of a climbing face below Marian Peak in the Darran Mountains. They were found roped together.

In a statement, the alpine team said the details of the accident were not fully known, but it was likely one of the men fell before he was able to finish fixing himself to the rock face, resulting in the other being pulled down with him.

It said both men were experienced and competent mountaineers, and to lose two of its friends and teammates was devastating.

Darran Mountains, Fiordland

Darran Mountains, Fiordland (file) Photo: Flickr / druclimb / CC BY-NC 2.0

The New Zealand Alpine Team's website said Mr Smith grew up on the West Coast and became interested in climbing while studying at CPIT in Greymouth.

It said Mr Chand was originally from Canterbury and had studied at Lincoln University.

"They were both well-liked and respected members of our team ... Conor excelled as a rock climber while Sarwan had a long list of successful ice and alpine ascents."

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