Thursday, December 04, 2008

Climber Dies on Mt Cook

Photo: New Zealand Herald

Tragedy struck New Zealand's highest peak again recently.

Two Japanese climbers got stranded on Mt Cook at 3700 metres on the mountain in appalling conditions for seven days until a rescue could be attempted. After five days a bag of supplies was dropped off to them, but at some point their tent was either buried in snow or blew away, and the pair spent their last night in the open.

When a rescue helicopter reached them, one of the climbers, Kiyoshi Ikenouchi, was dead. His companion Hideaki Nara was suffering from frostbite but was still able to walk.

While not one of the world's highest mountains, Mt Cook is apparently a very challenging one to climb. Accidents and severe conditions are not unusual.

Recently there have been a string of deaths on Mt Aspiring, not all that far away from Mt Cook. All three died from falls in different areas of the mountain.

It's times like this I'm somewhat grateful for my own lack of ambition when it comes to mountaineering. While you could potentially have a fatal accident while out tramping (and many do) it's much less likely than when you're a peak-bagger. I'm happy to crane my neck looking up at those mighty summits, enjoying the view from the bottom!

OK - having written the above I am proved somewhat wrong by not one but two trampers dying in NZ last week! One was crushed by a boulder, which must have involved either remarkably bad luck or the victim doing something very, very dumb. The other died crossing a river, which isn't that unusual except that his companions seem to suspect he actually died of a heart attack while crossing the river - and that's pretty unusual. He was in his seventies and very experienced.


wellywoodhon said...

I heard about this. Glad at least on of the climbers got off the mountain, but sorry for the other one. R.I.P.

Also, I have read your book "Living Abroad in New Zealand," and loved it. Finally a book by an outsider. It helped me realize what I need to do in order to move over to New Zealand one day. I have a question for you. You said in your book that there are very few film jobs, and I was wondering if it's still hard to get a film job over there?

Maple Kiwi said...

Hi Wellywood,

Glad you enjoyed the book! Send me an e-mail (the address is on my profile) and I can tell you more about the film industry in NZ.