Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Tragic accident highlights avalanche risk

30 November 2018

The Department of Conservation (DOC) says yesterday’s tragic accident where a climber was killed by an avalanche and another was rescued highlights the risks involved in exploring New Zealand’s mountains.

Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park is an unforgiving alpine environment and conditions can change rapidly with little warning.

Yesterday’s avalanche occurred on Eugenie Glacier below Mount Footstool.

Aoraki / Mt Cook Operations Manager Brent Swanson says more rain fell in the area yesterday than forecast, which increased the chances of an avalanche.

“The snow at Eugenie Glacier was loose and slushy as warmer temperatures meant the snow hadn’t frozen for several nights,” says Brent Swanson.

The 20-metre wide avalanche travelled for 300 metres, pushing the two climbers into a crevasse which made the rescue more challenging.

A Department of Conservation Mountain Rescue team picked up the surviving climber and recovered the deceased. The hazardous conditions meant the rescue helicopter could not land.

“Our crew had to use a rescue line attached to the helicopter because of the high risk of further avalanches in the area and weak crevasse bridges.

“Soon after, the crew flew to Freds Stream to rescue a hunter who had dislocated his shoulder after a fall.

“The team of four involved in yesterday’s two rescues often work in hazardous conditions to help people in trouble. Sadly, they’re not able to save everyone,” says Brent Swanson.

DOC praised both the climbers and the hunter for carrying a personal locator beacon.

“This meant we knew exactly where they were in trouble and could quickly assemble a crew to rescue them.”

DOC encourages all climbers to seek advice from the DOC visitor centre and the avalanche advisory website before climbing in Aoraki / Mt Cook, but conditions can change rapidly at any time.

“DOC Rangers from the rescue team are available to give advice and discuss the latest conditions. Climbers unsure about the conditions should contact the Visitor Centre as the staff there will have an up-to-date forecast,” says Brent Swanson.

As snow falls year-round in the park high altitude avalanches can occur at any time with increased risk for climbers during summer when temperatures are warmer.

For more information visit:





© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Why We’re Not Getting An Inquiry Into The White Island Disaster

The Ardern government has made an art form out of reviews and inquiries- when to hold them, when to fold them, and when to shelve the findings, virtually untouched. Among other things, the WorkSafe criminal proceedings into the Whakaari /White Island disaster look like the outcome of a conscious political strategy. The government is choosing this route instead holding a proper inquiry, because it can conveniently narrow the focus only to (a) the events prior to the eruption and (b) solely to possible violations of our labour laws... More>>


UN SDG: A Greener, Cleaner, Brighter Future

'The world has a high fever and is burning up. Climate disruption is daily news – from devastating wildfires to record floods. The damage to people and the environment is immense and growing.' - UN Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>


Carbon Neutral Policy: Gov Declares Climate Emergency

The Government has launched a major new initiative to combat climate change that will require the public sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. More>>


Pill Testing: Govt Moves On Drug Checking To Keep Young New Zealanders Safer This Summer

The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little ... More>>


Tax: Government Fulfils Election Undertaking On New Top Tax Rate

The Government will today keep its election promise to put in place a new top tax rate of 39 per cent on income earned over $180,000. More>>


Media: Stuff Holds Itself Accountable For Wrongs To Māori

Stuff has today published the results of an investigation into itself, and issued a public apology, for the way the media organisation has portrayed Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, from its first editions to now. Tā Mātou Pono | More>>


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels