Aussie climber trapped on New Zealand mountain

Posted by On 12:36 AM

Aussie climber trapped on New Zealand mountain

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A veteran Sherpa guide has scaled the world's highest mountain 22 times, marking a new record. The 48-year-old mountaineer began climbing Mount Everest when he was 24, and he has continues making the climb almost annually.

The view across Lake Wanaka on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, one of New Zealand's largest wilderness regions on South Island. Picture: Rob SuistedSource:Supplied

WEATHER has again halted the rescue of an Australian man trapped on a New Zealand mountain.

Authorities have grave concerns for the 29-year-old reported missing on Monday after setting out for a solo climb of Mount Aspiring in the South Island last week.

According to Channel Seven the man is an Australian Army officer. His name has not been released.

Strong winds, freezing temperatures, and heavy rain have for days now halted attempts to drop a search team at the man’s last known location.

The man triggered his Spot device around lunchtime on Tuesday and the beacon was still moving on Wednesday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Maritime New Zealand said the man had some climbing experience.

“We do not know the full extent of his alpine experience but we do know he has some, including climbing in New Zealand and building snow caves. A snow cave is used as an emergency shelter,” he said.

A helicopter was sent into the area on Wednesday night but had to turn back due to low cloud, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre said.

“As well as the poor weather conditions, t here is a high risk of avalanches that is hampering the search assets from reaching the climber’s position,” search and rescue officer Geoff Lunt said.

Two Alpine Rescue Crew are maintaining a weather watch from the French Ridge hut and will call for a helicopter through the Wanaka SAR base if the cloud lifts.

The weather forecast for today is heavy rain, some thunderstorms, northerly winds of 50-60 km an hour and the temperature at 1800m is between -2C and 0C

Search teams on the ground have this week found the climber’s car at a car park, and his heavier equipment at a hut.

“He’s gone quite lightly equipped for climbing, it’s quite standard practice: climbers will be lightly equipped, and just take some food and water so they move quickly, climb fast, get to the top and come back to the hut,” a rescue centre spokesman earlier said.

“Unfortunately he seems to have been caught by the weather.”

A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was “providing consular assistance” to the man’s family.

“Owing to privacy considerations we will not provide further comment,” the DFAT spokesperson said.

Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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