Climber survives 2,000ft fall from 'deadly' New Zealand mountain

Climber survives 2,000ft fall from 'deadly' New Zealand mountain

Climber survives falling 2,000ft from ‘deadly’ New Zealand mountain with just minor injuries after landing in soft snow

  • The unnamed man fell nearly 2,000 ft down Mount Taranaki, New Zealand
  • His fall on Saturday only led to him suffering minor injuries
  • New Zealand Police said he was ‘exceptionally lucky’ to still be alive 

A climber who fell nearly 2,000 ft down the side of one of New Zealand’s deadliest mountains was ‘exceptionally lucky’ to survive after landing on snow, police said Monday.

The man was in a group of climbers approaching the snow-capped summit of Mount Taranaki, a dormant volcano on New Zealand’s North Island that is nearly 8,300 ft tall, when he lost his footing and slipped at around midday on Saturday. 

After watching him plummet, one member of the group began to climb down to find him. 

Miraculously, he was found with minor injuries 600m below them, only losing his ice axe and crampons on the way down.

He was rekitted and safely brought down to the bottom of the mountain. 

The unnamed man plummeted down Mount Taranaki, a dormant volcano on New Zealand’s North Island that is nearly 8,300 ft tall

Despite the unnamed man’s enormous fall, senior constable Vaughan Smith said he only sustained minor injuries during his fall thanks to warm weather in the area. 

‘Thanks to recent spring weather, the ice had softened, and the snow caught the climber’s fall. He is exceptionally lucky to be alive,’ Smith said in a statement.

‘These are challenging areas and when things go wrong there are often serious consequences.’

The climber slipped in the same area where two other mountaineers fell to their deaths in 2021. 

On top of this, a French climber died after plummeting from the same peak in 2016.

Climbing Mount Taranaki demands ‘special skill and preparation’ due to the risk of avalanche and the chilling sub-zero temperatures, according to New Zealand’s conservation department.

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council describes Mount Taranaki as challenging for climbers all year round, warning of its reputation as one of the country’s ‘deadliest mountains’.

It added: ‘Its isolation from other mountains, proximity to the coastline, and geographic position make for some of the most fast-changing and adverse weather conditions found anywhere in New Zealand.

‘The weather, combined with the complex and rough terrain, creates a highly unique environment. One mistake can be disastrous.’

New Zealand Police advises that mountaineers who want to travel up the mountain should take a distress beacon with them. 

‘While New Zealand’s mobile phone coverage network is good in urban areas, it’s unlikely you’ll have reliable coverage in the backcountry or in marine areas. 

‘If you’re unsure, opt to take a beacon. It’s important you know how to use it before you leave and register your beacon to help store your information for rescue services.’

It also says that family and friends should be told about long trips: ‘Before you go for a tramp or walk in the great outdoors let family and/or friends know where you’re going, and when to expect you back.’

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