Unforseen weather and a high avalanche risk prompted two
experienced climbers to request an emergency rescue from a
glacier in Mt Aspiring National Park yesterday.
Wanaka police and LandSAR Wanaka launched a search and rescue
operation yesterday morning after the two men found
themselves in a potentially dangerous situation and raised
the alarm, police search and rescue incident controller
Senior Constable Mike Johnston said.
The pair were experienced alpinists from the Wanaka area who
had undertaken a ''fairly serious climbing mission'' on the
Hood Glacier, near Avalanche Peak, and encountered different
weather conditions to those forecast.
Snr Const Johnston said the men had expected some snow
flurries, but instead were in snow drifts up to their chests
at times, with poor visibility also an issue.
''They've called [for rescue] because they are very
uncomfortable because of the avalanche risk.''
After raising the alarm from their satellite phone about
10.30am, the men were collected by Aspiring Helicopters, with
two alpine cliff rescue team members on board, and returned
safely to Wanaka by mid-afternoon.
''They have made the right decision and they wouldn't have
made this decision lightly at all.''