Two mountain climbers, one Australian and one British, fell to their deaths in New Zealand. According to Police Inspector Dave Gaskin, the two climbing accidents in consecutive days were unrelated. Both climbers died in Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park. Mr Gaskin said the deaths of the Australian and British nationals will serve as a reminder to climbers to always be careful when climbing treacherous slopes.
Duncan Rait, an Australian climber, hdied on Sept 13 after falling 200 feet from a ridge near the Tasman Glacier. The Australian, who was born in New Zealand, was planning to do some skiing on the mountain. He traveled to the mountain with a group via a helicopter. As he was walking towards a hut, Mr Rait fell and slid down a steep slope before completely going over the cliff.
Robert Buckley, a 32-year-old Englishman who was born in Essex but lived in Christchurch, New Zealand, fell to his death while climbing towards a small hut on Mount Sefton with three other friends. It was a steep fall for Mr Buckley as he fell 2,000 feet.
The police inspector said Mr Buckley was relatively "inexperienced" even though he was wearing safety gear. Mr Buckley's companions also appeared to lack climbing equipment and experience.
A team of rescuers in New Zealand has recovered the body of Mr Buckley on Sept 16 after attempts to get the body on Sept 14 proved to be unsuccessful. The other climbers who were with Mr Buckley when he fell were also rescued on Sept 16 after they spent one night on the mountain.
Referring to the difficulty of recovering Mr Buckley's body, Mr Gaskin said there was a lot of snow and ice on the steeper slopes of the mountain.
Tips for mountain climbing beginners
Climbing is a dangerous activity. Mountain climbing beginners are always vulnerable to accidents like what happened to Mr Buckley, whom authorities said was an inexperienced climber. Experts in mountain climbing advise backing up every essential piece of climbing gear with another one. It is also important for climbers to use more than one anchor for safety at a rappel station. If you are an inexperienced climber, your life depends on your every move.
1. Always check harnesses and knots if they are securely tied.
2. Wear a helmet at all times.
3. Double-check rope and belay device.
4. Bring enough climbing gear. When in doubt, seek professional advice.
5. Use more than one safety anchor. Two anchors are better but three is even best. On a slippery slope, these could keep you alive.