Home > News

Two Climbers Die in New Zealand Mountains

The two climbers were being guided along the Grand Traverse

Australians Brett Alexander Lentfer, 62, and James Harry Spaile, 44, were killed in a fall while climbing in the Remarkables range near Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island. They were with a guide, who was unharmed. The three climbers were on the Grand Traverse near the Double Cone summit when the accident took place.

Police said they recovered the body of one of the men Wednesday and recovered the body of the second after a helicopter search on Thursday. “Our condolences are with the family and friends of both men,” a statement from police read.

The Grand Traverse

Mountain rescue climber Chris Prudden told Radio New Zealand that conditions were good. “It’s technical terrain. It’s very steep on either side. The only way off it is to go across it,” he said. “It’s a guide’s worst nightmare when things become unstuck.

“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.”

A helicopter flies over the Remarkables yesterday Photo: Guy Williams

Police are treating the deaths as an accident. The company director of Aspiring Guides, which organised the climb, offered their condolences and said they would conduct an internal review. “Aspiring Guides is deeply saddened to confirm that two clients have died following a tragic climbing accident in the Remarkables,” the company said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“We are devastated and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives,” it said. “Our thanks to Emergency Services and the Wanaka and Wakatipu Alpine Cliff Rescue team for their quick response and assistance.”