More caution needed on alpine crossing
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.