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Mt Cook

Mt Cook: New Zealand’s Top 10 Tourist Deathtraps

Killed in NZ: Hundreds of people have been killed while climbing Mt Cook since 1907.

–   The Final Destination: Aussie Policeman Killed in Aoraki/Mt Cook Avalanche

Mt Cook claims another tourist: Mt Cook avalanche death – name release
Friday, 30 November 2018 – 3:40pm – Canterbury
The latest victim of Mt Cook was a policeman from Australia, police has revealed.
He was Nathan Deutschbein, aged 40.

–   The Final Destination: Two More Foreigners Killed on Mt Cook [October 31, 2018]

–   Another American ‘Adventurer’ Killed Prematurely in New Zealand   [December 30, 2016]

  One climber dead, another seriously injured in New Zealand [December 3, 2016]

–   Two more climbers killed in New Zealand’s Mt Cook national park  [January 1, 2016]

–   Swedish Climber Killed on Mount Cook [November 4, 2013]

–   Japanese climber and his partner freeze to death on Mt Taranaki [October 29, 2013]

–  Two more Australians killed in New Zealand [January 2, 2016]

Two Australians, Stuart Jason Hollaway, 42, and his partner Dale Amanda Thistlethwaite, 35, were killed after falling from Mt Silberhorn in New Zealand’s Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. The victims’ bodies have finally been recovered from the upper slopes of the mountain.

The pair had been travelling in New Zealand for about three weeks, and were the second and third Melburnians to die on a mountain in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park in under two weeks.

Nicola Anne Andrews, 28, was killed when she fell 300 metres from the side of The Footstool on to the Eugenie Glacier on December 23.

–   Melbourne woman, two divers killed in New Zealand  [December 24, 2015]

–  Teen missing in ice shelf presumed dead [September 15, 2009]

The missing 18-yo student who allegedly fell through an ice shelf on Mt Rolleston near Arthur’s Pass on Saturday , was named as Edward Sai Louie.

Why Was Japanese Mountain Guide Left to Die  [December 6, 2008]

Kiyoshi Ikenouchi, 49,a mountain guide from Tokyo was left to die on Mt Cook for three reasons…

–   Australian climber missing, presumed dead  [December 13, 2008]

–    American tourist killed on the Mt Cook National Park  [February 28, 2008]

This time an American tourist was killed in New Zealand. Alan Paul Leger, a 57-year-old from Boston… To add insult to injury because the victim was an American, and the New Zealanders don’t like “septic tanks” (Yanks) in their neck of the woods, New Zealand police declared: “The American tourist who fell to his death in the Mt Cook National Park yesterday was inexperienced in the alpine environment.”

.  .  .

The following information was submitted by a blog reader from Denmark

Families, friends mourn Australian deaths in NZ avalanche –
Updated 31 Dec 2003, 9:48pm
Families, friends and colleagues are mourning the death of four men, including two Australian, who died in an avalanche in New Zealand yesterday.

Australians Dave Neil Gardner, 40, and Dr Andrew Charles Platts, 31, died with two other people in the avalanche on the slopes of Mount Tasman in the Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand.
Three of the four who died, including Mr Gardner, were mountain guides for the same company.
At least ten people have died on Mt Cook this year (2003).

ANNA PEARSON11:37, Dec 20 2014  https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/64350575/null
There’s a document in an office in Aoraki/Mt Cook village with hundreds of names on it. It lists “age”, “sex”, “nationality”, “region”, “cause”, and goes back more than 100 years. George Napier, a Kiwi in his 20s, was the first to, in mountaineer- speak, “cross the divide”, or die, in the area. Napier went missing in the Hooker River region, on December 29, 1907, “presumed drowned”.

There have been more than 230 fatalities [actual toll is probably 300+] in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park recorded since then, including 78 from climbing Aoraki, a long, blocky mountain at more than 3700 metres tall, with three peaks. Hypothermia, avalanches, lightning, rockfalls, heart attacks and plane crashes are all listed as contributing to the tally.
…in 1994, a 34-year-old Japanese woman disappeared without a trace on a day walk to Mueller Hut. The woman, Masami Somaki, is among about 60 people with “M” beside their name, for “missing/not recovered”.

“The park really is a bit of an urupa (burial site),” says Department of Conservation (DOC) partnerships ranger Shirley Slatter, whose colleague, 28-year-old Stuart Haslett, an experienced mountaineer and “much loved” member of DOC’s Aoraki Alpine Rescue Team, died in a fall while climbing the East Ridge of Mt Cook last Saturday. Slatter’s job is to update the fatality list for the national park. Haslett was number 234.

Bob McKerrow, a member of the Mt Cook rescue team from 1970 to 1973, has climbed Aoraki three times. At 66, he says mountain deaths have “stalked” his life. By age 20, McKerrow had lost more than 15 people he had climbed with on a rope or in the same party. “By 30 the number had doubled.”

There’s a faded image of him with Keith McIvor and Graham Lockett, a young bunch, handsome, on the top of Mt Huxley in 1967. “I was 18 and when I returned to Dunedin from this trip, I found my cousin Mike Cooper had died on an Otago University climbing trip to Mt Awful. We were close and it shattered me,” he says.

Five years later, in 1972, McIvor, who was McKerrow’s “best climbing companion and friend”, died too. McIvor, 27, was caught in an avalanche with his American friend William Hauck, 21, while attempting the first winter ascent of Mt Cook by the Caroline Face. His body was recovered in 1983.

[An incomplete] catalogue of the climbing deaths in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park over the last decade:

Feb 5, 2004 – Adrian Iordache, 27, Romanian, slipped and fell from the Linda Ice Shelf on to the Linda Glacier below.

Mar 30, 2004 – Phillip Toms, 22, of Australia, fell 1000 metres down the East Face of Mt Cook from the summit.

Mar 9, 2005 – John Lowndes, 59, English, Kazuhiro Kotani, 29, Japanese, and Erica Beuzenberg, a Kiwi guide, 41, were roped together in Ball Pass when Lowndes slipped and pulled the other two with him.

Dec 6, 2006 – Rikke Prior, 25, from Denmark, was on a guided climbing course when she slipped and fell 300m on the Annette Plateau. A guide tried desperately to catch her.

Jan 24, 2007 – Takao Futono, 52, and Meguru Inoue, 31, both Japanese, had reached the summit of Mt Cook with a third member of their climbing club. They were descending when a rock they were all attached to fell. The third member survived when another rock fall cut the sling attaching him to the rock that gave way.

Mar 24, 2007 – Nina Creedman, 29, from the United States, who had climbed Mt Sealy with three others, was hit by rockfall.

Jan 1, 2008 – Anton Wopereis, 54, fell on Mt Cook while guiding a Scottish woman.

Feb 8, 2008 – Alan Leger, 57, of the United States, slipped and fell from a ridge in the Mueller Hut area.

Dec 5, 2008 – Japanese climber Kiyoshi Ikenouchi, 49, died in his sleeping bag of exposure on the Middle Peak of Mt Cook.

Dec 11, 2008 – Mark Vinar, 43, a doctor from Perth, died when he fell from the Zurbriggen Ridge of Mt Cook after bad weather forced him and his brother back from a summit attempt.

Jan 26, 2009 – Ohad Dotan, 26, Israeli, had climbed to Mueller Hut and was descending when he took the wrong route. He lost his pack down a bluff and appeared to have been climbing down to retrieve it when he fell.

Sept 30, 2009 – Kok Wong, 32, Malaysian, disappeared somewhere in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park after setting off for a walk.

Sept 13, 2013 – Duncan Rait, 36, slipped and fell 150m high up on the Tasman Glacier.

Sept 14, 2013 – Robert Buckley, in his 30s, from England, fell about 700m while climbing Mt Sefton above the Mueller Glacier.

Nov 1, 2013 – Magnus Kastengren, Swedish, in his 30s, fell 600m while skiing from the summit of Mt Cook.

July 16, 2014 – Gary Francis, 44, a Sydney-based Englishman and former Royal Marine, fell 40m when snow on an ice bridge collapsed under him in the Grand Plateau area.

Dec 13, 2014 – Stuart Haslett, 28, fell on the East Ridge of Mt Cook when he put his pick into some ice, pulled himself up and rocks gave way.

Danish Climber Dies in Mt.Cook National Park
Submitted by socialclimber on 2006-12-06
24 year old Rikke Marie Prior and her partner arrived in New Zealand in August planning a year long stay. Their holiday has been tragically cut short when Ms. Prior was involved in an accident while she and her partner were taking a basic mountaineering course on the Annette Plateau in Mt Cook National Park.

Ms. Prior suffered serious head injuries in the 300m fall but was alive when the Mt.Cook SAR team arrived at the scene. “The rescue was difficult,” said Constable Brent Swanson of Twizel Police, “However the conditions were perfect and she was able to be directly loaded into the helicopter rather than having to be winched aboard.” she was transferred to a larger helicopter at Mt. Cook Village for the flight to Christchurch. She later died in hospital.
Rikke Marie Prior was from Lygbe, Denmark, she was 24.

NZ Police had reported Rikke’s injury, but did not follow up with report of her death.
Update on climber’s condition
Wednesday, 6 December 2006 – 4:18pm
National News
The 24 year old Danish woman who fell in the Mt Cook National Park this morning is described as being in Intensive Care, seriously ill.
Constable Brent SWANSON, Twizel Police, says it is believed that she slipped and struck several rocks on her way down.
“The rescue was difficult,” he says. “However the conditions were perfect and she was able to be directly loaded into the helicopter rather than having to be winched aboard.”
The guiding company she was with has been named as Alpine Guides Ltd.