Climber grabbed at grass tufts before falling 100 metres to her death at Mt Aspiring National Park
I tried to figure out where she slipped. Was it on the Rabbit Pass side, above the Matakitaki? I recall some steep terrain there that intimidated one of our party when we were ascending it back in the day... I guess they'd been over Cascade Saddle before this trip.
Yeah, on the Wilkin Side. Must have been near the top, where the big southeast sidle is that takes you to the top of the ridge. Hideous bloody drop-off there, no stopping till you hit the bottom, poor girl.
The Stuff article is bloody ambiguous. It suggests she fell on Rabbit Pass which is not the same as the Waterfall Face at all.
Still this one hits close to home; I very nearly came to the same fate on the Waterfall Face myself. All the wrong stars had aligned, mid-winter, downclimbing late in the day with poor light, I got a little below the route and slipped on the wet snowgrass.
It was so damned dodgy we had decided to top rope, and my mate did incredibly well to stop me after I only slid several metres. Still a vivid memory and Nicole's death brought it back with spades on. We were even the same age.
This post has been edited by the author on 6 August 2018 at 12:29.
I have experienced something similar myself with the same outcome, and as a result of that experience will always carry and use an ice axe on that type of terrain. I've even been known to use crampons on steep grass, too.
Yes, I'm a fan of my lightweight ice axe on steep snow grass. Weighs less than a single walking pole, not so useful on easy stuff but with the pick in a clump of vegetation or a crack in a rock you can gain a lot of security for a tricky step or two.