Thursday, 4 December 2008

Latest Update. Climbers did not know about survival pack !!

The Japanese climbers stranded for days in horrific conditions on Mt Cook, with one perishing overnight, did not know a survival pack had been dropped by their tent yesterday.
Japanese mountain guide Kiyoshi Ikenouchi, 49, died just hours before rescuers reached him on Aoraki/Mt Cook this morning, while his companion Hideaka Nara, 51, was airlifted alive to Christchurch.
Police Inspector Dave Gaskin said rescuers confirmed this morning the pair were unaware of the supplies that had been dropped to them.
But it may not have made much of a difference in the end, as the pair were already very well equipped, he said.
"Indications are that, if anything, they were over-equipped and that may have been one of the reasons why they were very slow in the first two days of their trip."
DOC area manager Richard MacNamara said the week of waiting had been very stressful for the waiting search team.
It was "extremely hard" to know that Mr Ikenouchi died within hours of rescuers reaching him, he said.
"The only good thing to come out of it is that at least there is some closure for the family."
The pair endured seven days at 3700m on the country's highest peak in ferocious weather conditions which prevented earlier rescue attempts.
Good weather this morning allowed the rescue to go ahead but rescuers found Ikenouchi, the guide on the expedition, dead on the mountain.
Nara was airlifted from the mountain and suffered frostbite to his hands and face. He was able to walk to the helicopter.
Constable Paul Swanson said Nara was talking to an interpreter but was very unwell.
Mr Ikenouchi - who helped in a rescue on the mountain five years ago - is the 69th climber known to have died on New Zealand's highest peak, and the seventh Japanese.
Ikenouchi and Nara are understood to have lost their tent on Wednesday and may have lost a sleeping bag as well, leaving only one between them.
The pair were in contact during the night but lost verbal communication about 1am.
But when daylight and a rescue helicopter arrived this morning, Ikenouchi was discovered dead.
The men spent last night in the open as their tent either became buried in snow or blew away, said Gaskin.
The pair were attempting Mt Cook's Grand Traverse, climbing from the Hooker Valley to the South Peak, summiting from there, before heading down to Plateau Hut.
The slow progress meant they were caught out by a mountain storm and forced to bivouac at high altitude.
The conditions finally cleared this morning and the rescue team flew in by helicopter at 5.30am.
The position where the climbers were holed up meant a rescuer had to hang from a long rope beneath the helicopter and scoop up the climbers in separate trips.
"It's pretty perilous sort of stuff," said Gaskin.

Thanks to Stuff for latest information.


Paterika Hengreaves said...

Hi Bob

It is great to know that you are recuperating after a success surgery. My continued prayers are for your full recovery so you can ride again with your boys and all the good things you do for others.

I'm so very sorry to hear the sad news about those two Japanese who failed in their attempts to scale the New Zealand Alps (Mt. Cook). It brought tears to my eyes and the thought that they had to endure such agony having been forced to sojourn in the bivouoc. The storm was pretty nasty on the mountain and I guess and they were not expecting such lousy weather. How good is the lone survivor's prognosis coming from the latest news update? I'm praying that he makes it through this gruelling ordeal.

Mountaineers are very brave people and I guess they also know the perils of the sport. Anyways, when tragedy occurs it always leave a void and I hope the deceased mountaineer's family finds the strength to go on in such a trying time when death pays an unexpected call. May he rest in peace.

I'm going now to read some of your other blogs before I go to bed.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
I won't add to many words to Paterika's fine summation and writing, except to again write thank you for your fine place here, and your diligent reporting of this tragic incident. See you soon! Have a great week end.

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Kia Ora Robb

I don't know why I became a mountaineering analysis for a few days. Perhaps I had the time and having spent a lot of time along the summit ridge of Mt. Cook. I could visulise and feel what was happening. Last night I had the forboding feeling only one was alive. I will visit him over the weekend as he is recovering in Ch Ch hospital.

Have a good weekend.


Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

My dear Paterika

The West Indians are taking over our country. Gayle and the lads arrived the other day and we have a game tomorrow.

Thanks for your encouraging words about the recuperation. It is a slow, long road, where tenacity and moderation are required to get everything working properly again.

One Japanese climber is in Ch Ch recovering and the other passed away last night. Had the weather eased a day earlier, he would have been alive. But mountaineering is unfogiving.

Edwards Whymper, the first man to clim the Matterhornsaid:

" Remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence
And that a moment's negligence may destro the happiness of a lifetime, So look forward to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end. "

Good to be communicating again.

I note you have a Kiw poem under construction. When will the epic be finished ?

I feel a poem about the west Indies cricketers coming on. How I have loved Weekes, Sobers, Worrell, Garner, Croft, Richardson, Lara and the list just goes on.

Take care.


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