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Skiers Watch as Climber Falls 300m

August 8, 2010

Pretty scary news;

A climber plunged 300m to his death in front of dozens of horrified skiers on Mt Ruapehu yesterday.

Read on…

I mentioned to a friend the other day the death of Michael Johnson and Edward Reynolds, to name two that I am aware of, whilst tramping the Te Araroa. My friend was petrified to hear that I am doing the track.

Rationally, tramping and other outdoor recreations are very safe – provided one takes the right precautions. Statistically driving in a car is more of a risk.

Unfortunately, tragedies like the  aforementioned climbing accident, and what happened to Johnson and Reynolds, do occur. I guess one just has to do their best to remain safe. Safety is number one priority. That’s why I will be carrying a GPS and EPIRB on my trip.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2010 2:15 pm

    Hi Paul. I try and find out whatever I can about accidents when they occur, and it helps me a lot when responding to people who have concerns about when I get outdoors. More often than not, people have made mistakes here or there, and I guess it also helps one to learn more about how things can go wrong.

    I’m not too familiar with Michael Johnson’s accident in 2006, but some quick googling revealed he’d quite possibly survived for a could of days after a fall, but then couldn’t go anywhere and had no way of calling for help. I don’t see EPIRBs as essential all the time, but to me it’d be a no-brainer these days when traveling alone in a place that’s not often frequented by others.

    The chap who fell off Pinnacle Ridge at Ruapehu recently wasn’t really tramping in the same sense. They were up in a fairly technical area of Pinnacle Ridge on an Alpine Instruction Course with the Alpine Club. Without knowing exactly what happens it sounds as if he didn’t get a crampon stuck in properly, or some piece of equipment failed. It’s a very sad thing to happen and I know at least a couple of people who were affected, but it’s still another situation that one is unlikely to encounter without being into technical climbing, and that’s the point I try most to make when someone asks me about it.

    Ed Reynolds’ disappearance is confusing. As I understand it, is that it’s not clear if he went missing in the back-country at all. He simply never showed up at the airport, was traced back to the most recent confirmed sighting in Nelson Lakes National Park. He was apparently wearing running shoes for speed and had a reputation of traveling light, and it’s being assumed that he had a mis-hap there (which is consistent with things like bank account records). There’s no certainty that he didn’t get out, though, and may have gone missing from elsewhere in New Zealand. We may never know.

    But yeah, accidents just happen sometimes and good preparation is the best way to avert them… with regular tramping/hiking, it’s very unusual for someone to have a fatal accident from a single mistake. It’s usually a collection of things compounded together. Have a great time on your journey when you arrive. I’m looking forward to following your updates.

    • Paul permalink*
      August 20, 2010 3:22 pm

      Hi Mike –

      Thanks for your comment. You’re right, the Reynold’s situation is a bit iffy. And I too heard about Johnson via that article. As soon as I read it I thought: EPIRB.

      Cheers for following along at home. I look forward to more comments. 🙂



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