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Climber falls to death on Mt Aspiring

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/12/2016
The man fell from the "buttress" area on to the Therma Glacier, a drop of several hundred metres. © AAP Image/Silverpine Lodge The man fell from the "buttress" area on to the Therma Glacier, a drop of several hundred metres.

A mountaineer, believed to be from overseas, has fallen to his death from the north-west ridge of Mt Aspiring in the South Island.

The man fell from the "buttress" area on to the Therma Glacier, a drop of several hundred metres.

A volunteer alpine rescue team located and recovered his body in an operation lasting over three hours on Wednesday.

No details were immediately available about the man's age or nationality, but he is believed to be a visitor to New Zealand.

A guided climbing party, which met the man's uninjured climbing partner on the mountain, alerted Wanaka Police Search and Rescue to the fall by satellite phone around midday.

Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson says the death is a tragedy after the successful rescue of two other climbers in the past week.

"The very busy start to the summer outdoor season is a sobering reminder of the inherent risks in mountaineering," he said.

The north-west ridge is the most commonly climbed route to Mt Aspiring's 3033m-high summit.

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