Australian climber found alive on Mt Aspiring tonight

2 August 2018

A 29 year old Australian man has been found alive “with slight frostbite” on Mt Aspiring, despite terrible weather and temperatures that have plummeted well below zero for the past two nights.

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Roberts said “it’s extraordinary” that the man was standing up and waving at 5pm, when the Southern Lakes and Mt Aspiring helicopters arrived. The climber was located just north of the plateau at Quarterdeck Pass.

A Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team and paramedic were dropped by helicopter and are staying with the climber “who is good spirits”. He is being provided with much needed hot food and drinks. The group will be evacuated tomorrow dependent on the weather. His next of kin have been notified.

“The pilots did an amazing job to fly in and out, despite the low cloud tonight. It has just hung around the mountain for days and hampered our search efforts. The helicopter crews, Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team and Police all deserve the highest praise for the work they’ve done over the past two days - and particularly tonight,” said Mike Roberts.

RCCNZ said that the rescue should serve as a warning for trampers and climbers in winter that they need to be properly prepared and carry a beacon.

The man had parked his car on Friday, July 27, to climb the mountain and was expected back on Monday, July 30. A friend advised Police on Monday that he was missing and the climber triggered his beacon at 12.15pm that day. He has been on his own for nearly seven days in freezing conditions, 50-60 km an hour winds and at times heavy snow.

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