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Rock Climbing : News : Accidents and Injuries : Japanese Climber Lucky To Be Alive

Japanese Climber Lucky To Be Alive

Submitted by socialclimber on 2007-01-27

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by Gary unknown

Two climbers are dead due to a rock fall from near the top of Mt. Cook, New Zealands heighest mountain, the third climber in the group survived because his anchor was cut by the same rockfall.

The traumatised survivor told rescuers all three climbers were anchored to a sling around a fridge-sized rock near the summit, preparing to rappel. It was about 9pm. As Meguru Inoue was rappelling the summit rocks, the anchor rock gave way causing a rock slide that severed the sling of the un-named climber, allowing him to survive, while carrying Takao Futono and Meguru Inoue several hundred meters down the side of the mountain.

The surviving climber descended immediately to call for help, reaching the Plateau Hut about 1am the following morning. Later that day, members of the Department of Conservation (DOC) alpine rescue team located the two bodies on the Upper Linda Ice Shelf at an altitude of about 3500m.

The trio appear to have had a difficult ascent despite good climbing conditions on Wednesday. Mountain rescue team leader Aaron Halstead said the anchor rock may have already had slings around it, indicating it was a safe anchor point. Halstead said it appeared the ascent was slow and the trio may have been tired and keen to get back to base.

The survivor spoke halting English and a translator was taken to Mount Cook to talk to him. He is severely traumatised by the accident and has declined media interviews. The three climbers were members of a Japanese mountaineering club and had known each other for about four years.

The deceased climbers are Takao Futono, 52, and Meguru Inoue, 31, both of Japan.


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3 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

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What about the Danish inexperienced climber that died earlier? Was that not during the summer? Spring maybe?
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You are quite right. Perhaps they were the first to die on the mountain rather than in the park. I've removed that sentence in any case.
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Truely is sad at least there is a survivor hopefully with some counseling he will be able to deal with the trama cause by an event like that.

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