I recently came across a really tragic story in the New Zealand press about the death of a hiker who had fallen and died after trying to cross a snowy pass without crampons or an ice axe. You can read more about it here.
The basic facts seem to be that the 23-year-old German, who was hiking in New Zealand in early winter (June) was trying to cross a pass in the Mt Aspiring National Park. He is thought to have slipped and fallen over a 250 meter high cliff. According to the press reports, the local authorities and mountain rescue team said that:
“He slipped on what would have been a relatively low angle without having any equipment. A fall at that point would be 100 per cent fatal.”
If there is anything to take away from the absolutely tragic death of Julian Stukenborg then it is simply that one needs to be properly prepared and equipped.
- Even relatively simple-looking crossings can be dangerous when ice and slopes are involved.
- Have the proper gear and practise.
- Make sure that you know how to self-arrest to stop a fall. I
- f you have new gear, try it out so that you are instinctive in your reactions.
- Know the conditions and know your limits.