Forums: Archive: World Climbing News:
Luck saves climber's life
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for World Climbing News

Premier Sponsor:

 


socialclimber


Jan 21, 2006, 2:50 AM
Post #1 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 18, 2001
Posts: 1163

Luck saves climber's life
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

http://www.stuff.co.nz/...0,1445,220524,00.jpg
LUCKY BREAK: the injured climber who fell off Aoraki-Mount Cook is wheeled from a helicopter to an ambulance on arrival in Christchurch. STACY SQUIRES/The Press

21 January 2006
By JOHN KEAST and JOHN HENZELL

A climber's "bloody lucky" break and the highest rescue ever seen on Aoraki-Mount Cook have prevented the mountain taking another life.

The mountaineer, a 24-year-old Australian, fell from less than 50m below the summit and slid uncontrolled down the summit icecap towards cliffs, when he was stopped by hitting a bank of hard snow.

Police spokeswoman Maggie Leask said the man was in a serious condition in Christchurch Hospital last night and police were in the process of contacting his family.

Veteran Department of Conservation ranger Ray Bellringer said the climber was saved by sheer fortune.

"We still don't know how he stopped," Bellringer said. "He certainly didn't stop himself, definitely not. There is no way," he said.

"He's bloody lucky. He's gone right over the schrund (a crevasse spanning the icecap) and landed on a wee ledge of snow just over the schrund.

"It was probably five or six metres long and two or three metres wide. It's the only spot for bloody miles. He's a very lucky boy," Bellringer said.

"If he hadn't stopped there he would have gone over the Gunbarrels (a set of ice cliffs)."

Bellringer said the climber and his climbing partner were not roped together, which was "probably wise" because otherwise both could have fallen and probably would not have been stopped at the snow ledge.

A mountain guide saw the fall, which occurred about 10.30am, and raised the alarm, while the man's climbing partner and two other climbers went down to where he lay unconscious on the snow ledge.

The group had to abseil over the crevasse to reach him.

Bellringer said the helicopter rescue was thought to be the highest on the 3754m Mount Cook, which has claimed more than 200 lives since 1914.

The snow ledge was about 3560m higher than the summit of New Zealand's second highest peak, Mount Tasman and a helicopter with mountain guide and rescue team leader Aaron Halstead was able to briefly land just long enough to grab the unconscious climber.

"We managed to get a skid down for Aaron to get out and grab him and pull him in," Bellringer said.

"Aaron had a leash on, put his crampons on in the helicopter, then walked over to him and it was just a matter of dragging him in." The daring rescue allowed the injured man to be brought down to Mount Cook Village where Bellringer and DOC area manager Shirley Slatter both trained paramedics stabilised him and prepared him for the flight to Christchurch Hospital.

Throughout the time they dealt with him, the climber remained unconscious, had a serious ankle injury thought to be caused by a crampon catching on ice during his fall, and possibly a punctured lung.

DOC had been preparing contingency plans for the man's rescue if Halstead's rescue had not been possible, including using the WestpacTrust rescue helicopter to winch him off the mountain and landing a team of guides at the summit rocks.

The WestpacTrust rescue helicopter arrived at Mount Cook Village more than 45 minutes after the man was brought off the mountain.

Halstead added to his impressions of the climber's good fortune.

"He was very lucky to land where he did," he said.

Halstead said there were about six climbers in the immediate area and nine on the summit icecap but it was not immediately clear with whom the man was climbing.

He said the man had signed the DOC intentions book as climbing with one other person, but there was some confusion about whether he was with more people.

Halstead said two climbers who helped the fallen man declined an offer of a flight off the mountain and decided to make it back to Plateau Hut at 2200m.

They were expected to make radio contact with police as soon as possible.

He said conditions near the summit were gusty.

"Conditions were very firm, very good climbing conditions, but with firm conditions very good footwork is required," Halstead said.

Halstead said conditions on the lower Linda Glacier were quite broken, which required complex route-finding, but the upper route was firm and in good condition. However care was needed on the whole route.


Halstead said several days of clear weather had brought a lot of people to the park, and more than 22 were at Plateau Hut.

Twizel police officer Brent Swanson said the rescue was difficult, given the height and strong wind.

Swanson said death would have been certain if the climber had slid on to the glacier.

Earlier this year, guides warned that access to New Zealand's highest peak was becoming increasingly unsafe because of unseasonably warm weather.

Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, of Alpine Recreation, said his company had stopped guiding the mountain for the summer because conditions were so marginal.

Yesterday, Alpine Guides Aoraki guide Jamie Robertson said it had been a lean year for snow, with many crevasses.

However, there were a lot of people in the park at present.

He said the glacier route had cut up this season, but he had not been on the mountain for several weeks.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/...3546783a6009,00.html


Partner philbox
Moderator

Jan 21, 2006, 3:50 PM
Post #2 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 26, 2002
Posts: 13104

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

http://www.thesundaymail.news.com.au/...070%255E2765,00.html

The Sunday Mail in Brisbane has released the name of the injured climber. He is Mark Hately from Brisbane. Mark is a member of the Queensland Universities UQRC rock climbing club.


blondgecko
Moderator

Jan 21, 2006, 3:57 PM
Post #3 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 2, 2004
Posts: 7666

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:shock:

I know him, from a few years ago when I was a UQRC member.

Get well soon, Mark. :cry:


climbingnurse


Jan 21, 2006, 4:16 PM
Post #4 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 29, 2003
Posts: 420

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Looks like in Australia they get someone who knows what they're talking about to write up stories about climbing accidents. Quite the difference from over here where we have to read about "camps" wiggling out of the rock.

Hope the guy makes a full recovery. He does sound "bloody lucky!"


blondgecko
Moderator

Jan 21, 2006, 5:14 PM
Post #5 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 2, 2004
Posts: 7666

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Looks like in Australia they get someone who knows what they're talking about to write up stories about climbing accidents. Quite the difference from over here where we have to read about "camps" wiggling out of the rock.

Hope the guy makes a full recovery. He does sound "bloody lucky!"

That story was most likely written up in New Zealand, where mountaineering is one of their big tourist industries. Here in Australia climbers routinely get called "hikers" and vice-versa...


cintune


Jan 21, 2006, 5:25 PM
Post #6 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 10, 2004
Posts: 1293

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Weird the way the writer described it as "preventing" the mountain from "taking a life." The mountain just doesn't care, one way or the other. That snowbank is the unsung hero of this story.


tradrenn


Jan 21, 2006, 8:54 PM
Post #7 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 15, 2005
Posts: 2990

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Holly fuck, that's amazing.

I wish speedy recovery to Mark.


stymingersfink


Jan 21, 2006, 9:11 PM
Post #8 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 12, 2003
Posts: 7250

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

proof once more,

sometimes 'tis better to be lucky than skillful.

hope he recovers fully, best of luck!


doogle


Jan 21, 2006, 9:43 PM
Post #9 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 20, 2005
Posts: 89

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

It looks like January is a lucky month to climb Mt Cook:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/topic/80443


roseraie


Jan 22, 2006, 11:06 AM
Post #10 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 22, 2003
Posts: 439

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Weird the way the writer described it as "preventing" the mountain from "taking a life." The mountain just doesn't care, one way or the other. That snowbank is the unsung hero of this story.

The personification of mountains is very common in New Zealand news stories. It's a cultural reference, stemming from native culture.


cintune


Jan 22, 2006, 2:17 PM
Post #11 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 10, 2004
Posts: 1293

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

http://members.aol.com/Chrastina/whymper.jpg


sweetwine


Mar 6, 2006, 1:35 PM
Post #12 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2005
Posts: 9

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Luck? Bah! I'd say this is just another example of Saint Agnes in action...I'd hate to see the cage my :angel: soul would be in without her!


sweetwine


Mar 6, 2006, 2:11 PM
Post #13 of 13 (8314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2005
Posts: 9

Re: Luck saves climber's life [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Wonder if John Keast, who authored this article on January 21, has ever read John Keat's poem "The Eve of Saint Agnes" http://englishhistory.net/...ry/eveofstagnes.html ...?!


Forums : Archive : World Climbing News

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$156.56 (10% off)
$62.06 (10% off)
$23.36 (10% off)
$10.89 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook