More cau­tion needed on alpine cross­ing

Taupo Times - - FRONT PAGE - SUP­PLIED

Po­lice and Search and Res­cue are plead­ing with in­ex­pe­ri­enced tram­pers to stay away from the Ton­gariro Alpine Cross­ing dur­ing bad weather.

Res­cuers have been busy as­sist­ing peo­ple off the cross­ing in re­cent weeks, some suf­fer­ing from hy­pother­mia.

Last week­end two peo­ple were res­cued and the pre­vi­ous week­end nine peo­ple were res­cued from within the Ton­gariro Na­tional Park.

One of the res­cues in­volved a group of six adults and a two-yearold child.

Some of them were suf­fer­ing from hy­pother­mia and res­cuers thought they would have died if they did not get to them in time.

Po­lice are wor­ried more peo­ple will un­der­es­ti­mate the freez­ing con­di­tions that ex­ist, at present, on the moun­tain.

Storms and snow has been ham­mer­ing the cross­ing this week and po­lice are warn­ing of a high risk of hy­pother­mia if peo­ple are not pre­pared for the con­di­tions.

‘‘You need to plan and pre­pare for alpine hikes’’, said Se­nior Con­sta­bles Barry Shep­herd of Taupo¯ Po­lice and Con­rad Smith of Na­tional Park Po­lice, in a joint state­ment.

‘‘If the weather is not favourable, do an­other ac­tiv­ity, don’t risk your life.

‘‘If it’s rain­ing and cloudy down low, it is likely that the scenic views will be ob­structed, and it will be wet­ter and even colder at al­ti­tude – it’s not fun hik­ing in cold wet con­di­tions and there are of­ten much safer and still en­joy­able al­ter­na­tives, which can be rec­om­mended by i-site or DOC vis­i­tor cen­tres.’’

The Ton­gariro Alpine Cross­ing re­quires a high level of fit­ness and un­der­stand­ing of weather con­di­tions.

The De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion will be rec­om­mend­ing vis­i­tors go with a guide in the win­ter sea­son.

Lo­cal po­lice ask for peo­ple to be more pre­pared when tak­ing on the Ton­gariro Cross­ing in the com­ing win­ter months.

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