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Rock Climbing : News : Accidents and Injuries : Danish Climber Dies in Mt.Cook National Park

Danish Climber Dies in Mt.Cook National Park

Submitted by socialclimber on 2006-12-06

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by Gary unknown

24 year old Rikke Marie Prior and her partner arrived in New Zealand in August planning a year long stay. Their holiday has been tragically cut short when Ms. Prior was involved in an accident while she and her partner were taking a basic mountaineering course on the Annette Plateau in Mt Cook National Park.

The group of four clients and guide, based out of the Mueller Hut in the Sealy Range, directly above Mt. Cook village, had set off across the plateau for more training after practicing ice tool and crampon technique in good conditions near the hut. The snow condition was firm but crusty in places. Ms.Prior tripped and was unable to self-arrest. The guide,Caro Ogden ran down the slope to try to catch the woman, but unfortunately just missed her.

Ms. Prior suffered serious head injuries in the 300m fall but was alive when the Mt.Cook SAR team arrived at the scene. "The rescue was difficult," said Constable Brent Swanson of Twizel Police, "However the conditions were perfect and she was able to be directly loaded into the helicopter rather than having to be winched aboard." she was transferred to a larger helicopter at Mt. Cook Village for the flight to Christchurch. She later died in hospital.

Alpine Guides Ltd. managing director Bryan Carter said the company would hold their own investigation into the accident but stressed that the guide was experienced and fully-qualified. She had recently returned to New Zealand from Wales, 10 years after she first worked with Alpine Guides. Her climbing and guiding experience includes the Southern Alps, the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Himalayas.

Rikke Marie Prior was from Lygbe, Denmark, she was 24.

Official Police statements follow.

Woman climber injured in Mt Cook National Park

12:11pm 6 December 2006 - At 7.30am this morning emergency services received a call that a 24 year old woman had fallen 300m near Annette Plateau in the Mt Cook National Park.

She has since been rescued by the Mt Cook Rescue Team and flown to Christchurch Hospital where her condition is said to be serious.

"She has suffered serious head injuries," says Constable Brent SWANSON, Twizel Police.

The woman had been a member of a party of four clients with a guide on a basic mountaineering course.

The woman is from Denmark and her family have been notified.

Copyright 2006 New Zealand Police

Update on climber's condition 4:18pm 6 December 2006

The 24 year old Danish woman who fell in the Mt Cook National Park this morning is described as being in Intensive Care, Christchurch Hospital, seriously ill.

Constable Brent SWANSON, Twizel Police, says it is believed that she slipped and struck several rocks on her way down.

"The rescue was difficult," he says. "However the conditions were perfect and she was able to be directly loaded into the helicopter rather than having to be winched aboard."

The guiding company she was with has been named as Alpine Guides Ltd.

Copyright 2006 New Zealand Police


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6 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

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well, i hope she makes it. crampons are dangerous if youre not used to them.
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I regret to say she didn't make it.
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The guide placed a novice snow climber in a position where the only thing seperating them from a 300m fall was their ability to self arrest??? Unacceptable.
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This is terrible. I know the Annette plateau and of it's popularity as a great training ground for the mountaineering in Mt Cook area. The "seemingly" easy nature of the climbing in that area also has it's hidden dangers as there are some places where a slip can be as trecherous as the accident described above. This is common in the mountains, especially at Mt Cook. My thoughts go out to the family and friends of the climber and to those involved.
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She made no attempt to self arrest despite having demonstrated ample proficiency over previous days.
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Even she had taken proficiency in previous class, she was still in course (under company responsability).

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