Ton­gariro gets taken too lightly

Ruapehu Press - - Farming - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Res­cuers say many tram­pers are un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the chal­lenge that the Ton­gariro Cross­ing presents.

In the lat­est of many res­cues on the moun­tain, tram­pers be­came sep­a­rated from each other be­fore a bliz­zard set in. Res­cuers did not reach the group un­til 2.45am on Sun­day morn­ing.

Ear­lier in the day two tram­pers in the four-strong group went ahead to Oturere Hut, leav­ing an­other cou­ple be­hind be­cause one of them was hav­ing trou­ble with their cram­pons.

The slower cou­ple then lost their way to the hut af­ter walk­ing for three hours. They phoned po­lice at 8.40pm.

Se­nior con­sta­ble Barry Shep­herd said the tram­pers from Auck­land made a late start on the cross­ing and were gen­er­ally well pre­pared.

‘‘It’s easy to speed ahead if you’re ex­pe­ri­enced but tramp­ing groups should al­ways ac­com­mo­date the abil­i­ties of the slow­est mem­ber of the group, not their own.

‘‘If you start to­gether, fin­ish to­gether.’’

Po­lice were also con­tacted by the pair who went ahead, af­ter be­com­ing con­cerned for their friends’ safety.

They then went back and found them, car­ry­ing one woman back to the hut be­cause she was suf­fer­ing from hy­pother­mia.

Shep­herd said their main con­cern with the plan­ning of the group’s trip was the tim­ing.

‘‘They didn’t get to the top of Ton­gariro un­til 5pm when it was al­most dark due to their late start.

‘‘Then when they got in trou­ble they didn’t call for help un­til it was dark and one tram­per was un­able to walk.

‘‘We’d hope peo­ple would call for help sooner.’’

LANDSAR vol­un­teers reached the group, who were now at the hut, at 2.45am.

The group had ad­e­quate food, drink and cloth­ing but it got wet be­cause it was not packed in wa­ter­proof pack­ag­ing.

Se­nior con­sta­ble Barry Shep­herd said peo­ple seem to un­der­es­ti­mate the chal­lenge of the Ton­gariro Alpine Cross­ing.

‘‘New Zealand’s outdoor life is beau­ti­ful and ex­cit­ing but un­for­tu­nately it can be ex­tremely un­for­giv­ing.

‘‘Tram­pers should give them­selves more than enough time to make it to their des­ti­na­tion and to turn back to the start­ing point if nec­es­sary.’’

Po­lice urge tram­pers to plan their trip care­fully.

JULY 18: State High­way 4 was blocked by a fallen tree. Four cat­tle on State High­way 4 were put back in their pad­dock. A do­mes­tic in­ci­dent was at­tended.

JULY 19: Po­lice as­sisted am­bu­lance with a male who put his hand through a win­dow. A drunk male act­ing sus­pi­ciously was taken home. A do­mes­tic in­ci­dent was at­tended.

JULY 20: A male driv­ing him­self to hospi­tal passed out and hit a power pole. Four peo­ple were treated for in­juries in Na­tional Park when a car turn­ing on State High­way 48 was hit by an over­tak­ing car.

JULY 21: The driver of a ve­hi­cle that crashed on Bell Rd was taken to Waikato Hospi­tal. A fe­male was pro­cessed for drink driv­ing and found to be al­most four times over the le­gal limit. A wan­der­ing cow died af­ter be­ing hit by a ve­hi­cle and the weather caused nu­mer­ous small slips on roads around the re­gion.

JULY 23: A drunk male caus­ing prob­lems was brought back to the sta­tion to sober up.

Tau­marunui Po­lice can be con­tacted on 07 8958119 or anony­mously via Crimestop­pers 0800 555 111.


Res­cuers find four tram­pers at Oturere Hu on the Ton­gariro Alpine Cross­ing.

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