Climbers safe after los­ing way

Cloud stymies pair

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS -

Two climbers were res­cued from Mt Bon­pland, near Queen­stown, on Mon­day af­ter­noon after get­ting lost.

Se­nior con­sta­ble Ju­lian Cahill, of Queen­stown, said the men, a 23-year-old Aus­tralian and a 32-year-old Chilean, were air­lifted from the moun­tain about 3pm after ac­ti­vat­ing a per­sonal lo­ca­tor bea­con about 10am.

An ini­tial search in the morn­ing failed to find the men be­cause of low cloud and an alpine cliff res­cue team was de­ployed.

Cahill said the men had set off on Satur­day to camp on the Bryant glacier be­fore plan­ning to climb Mt Bon­pland on Sun­day and re­turn home.

How­ever, ‘‘they got dis­ori­en­tated in the cloud on the as­cent’’.

The men tried var­i­ous routes to get down the moun­tain but in the end gave up and found some­where to camp.

When they were un­able to find their way out yes­ter­day they raised the alarm.

A strop res­cue from a he­li­copter was con­ducted after the men were found in a bivvy spot on a ledge.

Cahill said the two men were well equipped for the climb but in­ex­pe­ri­ence in the area and the lack of vis­i­bil­ity had con­trib­uted to the pair get­ting lost. ‘‘It’s re­ally steep ter­rain in there,’’ he said. The area was a popular hunt­ing and climb­ing spot.

The Aus­tralian man was work­ing as a hut war­den for the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion at the Mid Caples Hut.

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