Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rescue on Avalanche Peak

Today I awoke to the sound of a helicopter landing on the LZ near home. Due to the early hour it could only mean a rescue, so I headed down.

Turns out a young overseas tramper slipped off the summit of avalanche peak about 150m down the slope to a basin and spent the night there. The only thing he did in his favour was set off the distress beacon he was carrying. When the heli picked him up he had travelled 350m from his pack, and on arrival at rescue HQ mentioned that he would quite like his pack and gear back!

As the Heli was returning to Greymouth, we had to walk up and retrieve the left behind gear.

The victims inexperience was obvious as the gear was spread in a large area suggestive of an agitated, or hypothermic state. I noted the victim had no obvious waterproof jacket, one of the first items he left behind in is wake was his woolly hat - so he had spent the night without those two very important items. There was a compas, but no map. He had dehydrated meals, but no snack food to keep him going. None of his gear was sealed in plastic bags, and was mostly cotton damp geans etc. He didn't have gloves, and lacerated his hands as a result of the fall.

Why did this guy persist in climbing a mountain without proper exquipment or experience - shear ignorance is all I can think.

His saving grace was the fact that the staff member at DoC spotted him as a DMW (dead man walking) and insisted on issuing him with a distress beacon, and in so doing probably saved his life. Secondly he didn't get too far from civilization before falling, so rescue was expedient and didn't require an extensive search. I understand the young man is going to have the fear of God put into him by our local cop, which is one of our cop's many talents!

No photos this time sorry.

No comments: