Friday, 12 December 2008

Australian climber presumed dead on Mount Cook Aoraki

LATEST: An Australian climber missing and presumed dead in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park is thought to have fallen around 500 metres.

The two brothers were reported overdue by fellow climbers yesterday, but weather conditions meant the DOC Alpine Search team was unable to be flown to the Zurbriggens Ridge of Aoraki Mt Cook until shortly after 5am today.

Department of Conservation spokesperson Shirley Slatter said the team quickly located Miles Vinar aged 42, from Perth.

Mr Vinar told rescuers his brother, Dr Mark Vinar, 43, also from Perth, had fallen on Thursday morning, and he lost sight of him.

He is presumed dead after falling an estimated 500 metres to the base of Zurbriggens Ridge.

Police say the area is crevassed and there is a considerable avalanche danger. The area can only be searched by air due to the dangers the site poses.

As snow has fallen in the area in recent days, the search has been called off for Dr Vinar, but DOC staff will check the area in the coming months.

Mrs Slatter said the surviving climber had been found quickly as climbing guides had reported seeing a light on Zurbriggens Ridge at 4.30am and it turned out to be Mr Vinar's torch.

Mr Vinar was unhurt and he was stropped out from the site by helicopter.

Dr Vinar is the ninth person to die on Zurbriggens Ridge, and the 70th on Aoraki Mt Cook since 1907.

Thirty four Australian climbers have died in the National Park, with 18 on Aoraki Mt Cook.

It is the second death on the mountain in seven days.

Japanese climbing guide Kiyoshi Ikenouchi died, while his friend and climbing companion Hideaki Nara was rescued after being stranded on the mountain for a week.

It appears another tragedy is unfolding on Mt. Cook as only one of the two missing climbers have come out alive.
LATEST from NZPA: One of two Australian climbers missing on Aoraki/Mt Cook has been found uninjured and rescued.
The man was seen coming down the mountain about 6am, Constable Les Andrew said.
He was picked up by a helicopter and flown to Plateau Hut.
Police were this morning interviewing him to find out where his partner was, Mr Andrew said.
The rescued climber has reported to police that the two had bivvied high on Zurbriggens Ridge on Wednesday night, and on Thursday they decided that due to conditions they would descend back to Plateau Hut via the ridge.
Soon after setting off, one climber fell and disappeared from view, police say.
The two middle-aged men were flown to Plateau Hut last Saturday with plans to climb the mountain via Zurbriggens route at 1am on Wednesday.
Other climbers saw their lights at 11.30pm on Wednesday night, high up on the ridge, but they had not been seen since and the weather had been unsettled.
Earlier this month two Japanese climbers were stranded on the mountain for a week.
Climbing guide Kiyoshi Ikenouchi died, while his friend and climbing companion Hideaki Nara was rescued.


Unknown said...

Hey Bob,

yeah it looks bad.

Lots of people up in the mountains at the moment which is fantastic. Was going to climb Rolleston this morning to meet some friends at the top who are going up the Otira face at the moment, but wandered down to DOC and there are close to twenty people on that big rotten mountain and I have a bbq to get to.

Enjoyed your post on the Winter Olympics and am likewise devastated by the news of the murder of Abdulrahman Ikhtiari, to come through so much...I have been given hope this week by the response of the family and on another topic by the naming of the Principal of the school involved with the OPC disaster as North and South's New Zealander of the Year.

I plan to blog about both when its not so sunny outside.


Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

I can imagine the mountains are crawling this morning with people. I hope no one gets hurt !

Yes its good new about the winter games.

Went to the airport this morning to pick up Robb and Tara. They will come to the BBQ tonite. Will you make it ?


Paterika Hengreaves said...

Hi Bob

This is so sad. Mountain climbing is not for the faint-hearted. I do believe that these climbing tragedies will never take the spark out of the eyes of mountaineers. Without mountaineers, how would folks like me ever get to share in the glorious mystery of mountains for their benefits far outweigh these unfortunate accidents. So in our daily prayers we must not forget to offer up prayers for the safe ascent and descent of all those who climb mountains. Mountaineers do inspire people in so many ways.


Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Dear Paterika

Few people have your ability to see beyond the death of a mountaineer, and see the horizons mountaineers bring to the non- climbing populations.

Keep praying for the safereturn of all mountaineers and may theu continue to inspire us with their discoveries and sagas.

Happy New Year


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