Rescuers where Harch stayed during the storm

Australian Terry Harch spent three days trapped in a snow cave awaiting a rescue after heading up a dangerous slope without provisions and supplies.

The 29-year-old was going solo up a route on Mount Aspiring in New Zealand rarely attempted by a team due to the dangers in winter.

He was reported missing a week ago after he left the hut for the summit without his food, stove or sleeping bag for what was meant to be a quick up and down.

After he activated his Spot device, New Zealand authorities tracked his beacon activity but could not attempt a rescue due to the snow.

Harch had enough experience to dig a snow cave and to wait for weather to pass, despite the onset of frostbite which might have been enough to force some climbers to descend.

After a few days, a group of rescuers reached him with food and water. They all waited for weather to improve for a helicopter to evacuate due to snow conditions.

“I don’t think he would have lasted another night,” said the pilot. “He was lucky to be alive.”

In 2013, Harch and a friend were rescued from New Zealand’s second highest mountain, Mount Tasman. The most recent rescue will cost taxpayers at least $150,000 and 500 volunteer hours.

Harch and his family have refused all requests for an interview.

Mount Aspiring is a 3,033-metre peak with very technical winter climbs and almost never attempted alone. It’s claimed over 30 lives in the past 10 years.

Mount Aspiring Photo Rob Sturll

Report error or omission

Related