Mt Aspiring climber rescued after four nights trapped

Mt Aspiring climber rescued after four nights trapped

The rescuers had to wait for the weather to clear so a helicopter could fly him to hospital.

He said he was standing and waving when a helicopter spotted him in the evening. "The helicopter crews, Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team and Police all deserve the highest praise for the work they've done over the past two days - and particularly tonight".

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ was this morning, waiting for low cloud to lift to reach the missing Australian climber on Mount Aspiring.

"The climber has been sheltering for the past two nights at the pass and he has clearly made some good decisions to be able to survive the bad weather, heavy snow and high winds", Lunt said.

The rescue couldn't be done right away since the extreme weather prevented them from reaching the area.

There are now 10km an hour south east winds that are expected to intensify by midday.

There has been scattered rain which will ease and the wind chill is minus 16 degrees.

Mountain Safety Council CEO Mike Daisley is relieved that the lost climber incident on Mt Aspiring has narrowly avoided becoming a fatality statistic.

The man had mild frostbite on his hands, and it was important they got him off the mountain today, Mullally said.

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An Australian Defence spokesperson this evening confirmed the man was an Australian Army soldier on leave in New Zealand.

The rescue brought down a tent, change of clothes and some hot food for him.

The climber's beacon was seen to move a short distance to the northeast about 2.30pm yesterday, and rescuers said it was "a good sign".

"Defence is providing support to the soldier's family at this time".

The forecast for today is heavy rain, some thunderstorms, northerly winds of 50-60 km an hour and the temperature at 1800m is between -2C and 0C.

There had been "grave concerns" for the climber when it was found he had left most of his equipment in the French Ridge hut, and when his beacon did not move.

Over the past decade more than 30 people have died in and around Mount Aspiring National Park, one of the country's most popular playgrounds for adventure-seekers, local media reported.

"We do not know the full extent of his alpine experience but we do know he has some, including climbing in New Zealand and building snow caves".

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