Two Aussie Climbers Killed In New Zealand Identified
Two Australian men have died while climbing a mountain near Queenstown
Brett Lentfer, 62, and James Spaile, 44, fell down a cliff at The Remarkables mountain range on Wednesday.
It's believed their ropes were severed on sharp rocks and the men fell 300 metres to their deaths.
The men had set out on the popular Grand Traverse route, an eight to 10-hour trail, when they fell from the Grand Alta Ridge. A guide was with them but was unharmed.
Chris Prudden from the Queenstown mountain rescue, who by chance was leading another tour at the bottom of the ridge at the time, told Radio New Zealand that the terrain was so steep and technical that "the only way off was to go across it".
"It was pretty sad, pretty tragic... to see the end of that situation knowing full well that they'd fallen 300 metres -- it's a hell of a long way in that steep terrain," he said.
It was a warm and sunny day leading rescuers to believe that the weak and soft snow may have also been a component.
Prudden said that while the route was tough, it was popular, especially during the warmer months.
"Over the summer months there's a hell of a lot of people that go along there, a hell of a lot of people who solo along there, treating the place unfortunately way too casual," Prudden told Radio New Zealand.
One of the men's bodies was retrieved by helicopter on Wednesday afternoon, while the Alpine Cliff Rescue team recovered the second on Thursday morning.
"Our condolences are with the family and friends of both men," police said in a statement.