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New Zealand Climber Caleb Jennings Dies from Avalanche

New Zealand climber Caleb Jennings died in hospital after being involved in an avalanche on Oct. 22.

He’s the fifth member of the New Zealand alpine team to die in five years. The 31-year-old was climbing near Mount Harper when a wet-slide avalanche on low angle terrain in Arthurs Pass National Park took him down a slope.

The New Zealand alpine team posted a short memorial for Jenning’s on their website, which read, “It is with great sadness we report the passing of a member of our team, Caleb Jennings. Caleb was a great climbing partner and friend to the team, he was incredibly strong, fit and reliable on trips but also a gentle man who always exercised sound judgement in the mountains.”

“Born and raised in Canterbury, Caleb was introduced into the mountains at a young age where he spent most of his youth hunting and tramping in the Southern Alps. After his schooling he joined the military and spent the following 12 years of his service learning how to operate and climb in various mountainous environments. After extensive mountaineering and climbing world wide, Caleb was training to become a mountain guide in while still instructing and guiding part time for the military.

“He had a strong passion for hard technical climbs in New Zealand’s Southern Alps while also climbing overseas in places such as Norway, Yosemite, and Patagonia… He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the outdoor community.”

The other four team members who’ve died in climbing accidents include Ari Kingan, 21, who died on a descent of Mount Aspiring in 2014. Jamie Vinton-Boot, 30, who was killed in an avalanche in the Remarkables. And Conor Smith, 22, and Sarwan Chand, 27, who died while climbing the south face of Marian Peak in the Darran Mountains. None of the deaths were on New Zealand alpine team’s organized trips.

Jennings was an experienced climber who’d climbed a number of hard and technical routes around the world. Last month, he and Kim Ladiges made the first ascent of Pilgrim, a new mixed climb up the south face of Mount Cook in New Zealand.

Earlier this year, Jennings, Alastair Mcdowell and Daniel Joll made the first ascent by an New Zealand team of Punta Herron in Patagonia. Watch below. Our condolences to Jennings’ friends and family.