Climbers safe after losing way
Cloud stymies pair
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.