The body of a woman climber who fell on Mt Ruapehu has been recovered by police and NZ land search and rescue on Sunday.
A party of nine climbers was headed up the eastern side of the mountain and traversing Cathedral Rocks when, about 12:30pm on Saturday, one member of the party slipped and fell down a slope, police said in a statement.
One of her climbing companions climbed down to her and contacted emergency services.
Due to very strong winds, the woman was unable to be reached by helicopter so ground search and rescue teams were deployed.
The teams found her and her companions about 5:40pm Saturday.
The woman was carried out by stretcher and the others were escorted to Tukino Lodge. However, the woman was pronounced dead at the lodge.
Sunday morning local hapū Ngāti Hikairo blessed the site.
“This is an absolutely tragic event for the woman who has died, her family and friends, and her climbing companions,” says Senior Constable Barry Shepherd.
“Many in the group were relatively new climbers but they were well-prepared and, while the weather changed throughout the day, when they set off the conditions were suitable.
“While this was not the outcome anyone wanted, I want to acknowledge the bravery of those in the group who climbed down over a number of hours to assist her, as well as two other climbers who came across the scene and stopped to help.
“I also want to thank all the LandSAR men and women who worked tirelessly through the afternoon and well into the night in absolutely shocking weather to return the deceased to her family and rescue the rest of the group off the mountain.”