Climbers killed in Remarkables named

Police have released the names of the two men who died in a climbing accident in The Remarkables near Queenstown yesterday.

They were James Harry Spaile (44), of Australia, and Brett Alexander Lentfer (62), who lived in Australia.

The two men died after falling while on an Aspiring Guides trip over a route called the Grand Traverse.  

The pair had been roped together when they fell about 11.45am, Sergeant Steve Watt, of Queenstown, said yesterday.

In a statement, police said the pair ''fell from the side of a cliff face''.

Otago-Lakes area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen today said the two men, who were experienced climbers, and a guide from Aspiring Guides were the only members of the party.

The guide was not involved in the fall, which occurred at a "significant altitude".

When asked about media reports the rope the men were attached to was cut by a rock, Insp Jensen said he could not speculate while the investigation was still under way.

Although the bodies of the men were located close to each other, and Mr Spaile's body recovered yesterday, dangerous conditions meant Mr Lentfer's body could not be recovered until this morning.

"Large hunks of snow were coming from the tops down on to the rescue site."

Police were investigating on behalf of the coroner, and WorkSafe had been advised.

Insp Jensen thanked search and rescue volunteers, including the Queenstown Alpine Rescue Team, for their expertise in the recovery operation.

"These missions are not without their own risk."

Alpine Rescue team member Chris Prudden said the area of the incident was ''a very steep mountainside''.

Mr Prudden said he was guiding clients at Lake Alta, just below the traverse, when the incident happened.

Aspiring Guides was founded in 1990 and bought about six months ago by Vickie Moses and Lukas Kirchner.

The company's website describes the Grand Traverse as ''one of the best alpine outings in New Zealand''.

It says the route required ''scrambling'' along an exposed rocky ridge up and over the twin summits of Single Cone and Double Cone and was suitable for ''anyone with some hiking experience and a good head for heights''.

The website recommends, for that particular climb, the ability to complete a 500m-1000m ascent and descent, and six to eight hours' physical activity in a day, carrying packs weighing less than 10kg.




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