Shortly before midday on Tuesday 26 July Police were notified of two people requesting rescue on Double Cone in the Remarkables Range.
The two climbers had earlier been caught in an avalanche but fortunately avoided burial and extricated themselves uninjured. They moved a short distance to a relatively safe area nearby however because of the avalanche danger they were unable to safely move from there.
Weather conditions were poor, with high winds and blowing snow affecting visibility. On Tuesday two attempts to insert an Alpine Rescue Team by helicopter were made but conditions prevented this.
The climbers were advised to dig a snow cave and shelter overnight, ahead of a further rescue attempt on Wednesday 27 July. The two climbers were experienced in the mountains and well-equipped for a night in a snow cave.
On Wednesday morning the helicopter with Alpine Rescue Team aboard tried again to reach the pair, but weather conditions made this impossible. The helicopter was able to land the Alpine Rescue Team 1.2km away and 300 m below the climbers’ position.
The Alpine Rescue Team made their way through difficult conditions to the climbers’ location and made contact with them shortly after 10.45am. Shortly after this the weather conditions had cleared sufficiently for a helicopter to reach the party and extract all back to Queenstown.
The climbers were shaken by the event and felt that there was no way they could have made it off the mountain unassisted, due to the dangerous avalanche conditions.
Note to Media: The two climbers are not available for interview.The team leader of the Alpine Rescue Team is happy to consider interview requests and could make photographs available. Please contact Police Media Team with interview requests.
Issued by Police Media Centre