27 Sep 2020

Woman dies climbing Mt Ruapehu

6:38 pm on 27 September 2020

A woman died yesterday after slipping and falling on Mt Ruapehu during a group climb.

Mount Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu. Photo: 123RF

Police said a party of nine was climbing the eastern side of the mountain and the woman slipped and fell around 12.30pm while they were traversing Cathedral Rocks.

One of her group managed to get down to her and call emergency services but helicopters were unable to reach her due to strong winds.

Ground search and rescue teams found the woman and the group at around 5.40pm and she was carried by stretcher to Tukino Lodge where she was pronounced dead.

"This is an absolutely tragic event for the woman who has died, her family and friends, and her climbing companions," Senior Constable Barry Shepherd said.

"Many in the group were relatively new climbers, but they were well-prepared and while the weather changed throughout the day, when they set off the conditions were suitable.

"While this was not the outcome anyone wanted, I want to acknowledge the bravery of those in the group who climbed down over a number of hours to assist her, as well as two other climbers who came across the scene and stopped to help.

"I also want to thank all the LandSAR men and women who worked tirelessly through the afternoon and well into the night in absolutely shocking weather to return the deceased to her family and rescue the rest of the group off the mountain."

This morning local hapū Ngāti Hikairo blessed the site.

Shepherd said now that the rescue itself is over those who knew the woman are coming to terms with what happened.

"They're feeling pretty washed out this morning.

"And naturally the women's parents who live in England will be more devastated; it's pretty tough when your daughter who's having a good time on the opposite side of the world dies. So that's so sad."