details of Tararau tramping trip fatalities

When Pavel Pazniak and Mykhailo Stepura set out to tramp through the Tararua Range, it was a clear, sunny day. Blue skies and a light wind could have made anyone think it was a good day to tackle the treacherous mountain ridge. But days later their bodies were found 900 metres from safety. Kirsty Lawrence investigates what went wrong and why.
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One thing I'd not noticed previously is that the second man wasn't just found 200 metres away from the first. He was found "200 metres down the slope". It's not clear if this means 200 vertical metres, or 200 metres away. Probably the latter. They're suggesting that he must either have been seeking shelter, or tumbled there. If he fell then it's being attributed as most likely due to later stages of hypothermia. It's not too surprising.
The piece of equipment that I think all trampers aiming for huts and carrying no additional shelter such as tent or proper bivi bag should be carrying: TWO aluminised mylar survival bags each. Cost about $5 each, weight 200 g or so. Stuff your sleeping bag in one survival bag, stuff the other survival bag inside the sleeping bag, crawl in, boots, wet clothing, rain jacket and all if necessary. Inner survival bag will keep your wet clothing away from the sleeping bag insulation, outer survival bag will keep external moisture away. Sleeping bag insulation will stay dry enough to keep you warm all night, even with strong wind and wet snow drifting against you. Get your pack or mattress underneath you if at all possible to keep ground cold away. Get some food in you. Do it earlier rather than later, once you are going hypothermic you're going downhill quicker than you think and your ability to hold onto gear in the wind, take boots and rain jacket off or mess around with more complicated systems or warm up once you are in some shelter is going downhill fast.
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@ Ian_H I like suggestion that a lot. I'm very much in the habit of keeping an eye open for potential emergency bivvy spots as I move along. A small rock overhang, some big boulders leaning against each other, a patch of scrub, a few big tussocks, and if it's out of the direct wind it can be made to work. All the better if you can get a small fly sheet rigged over it. All you really need is something that will keep your head and torso out of the worst of the weather, if the rest is inside a waterproof cover you'll be good for one night at least. I always tramp in the expectation there might be something ahead, typically either a flooded stream or an impassable step in the ridge, that will force me to turn back. It only ever happens when the wx is crap and in that scenario it takes out all the panic and stress to have in mind somewhere you can quickly and safely shelter for the night. The outer layer is obvious, but adding a second inner layer at the same time is genius!
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Reading this sad story truly remind me of the chech couple in the routeburn track. I knew the story of them before doing the walk but while our tramping our thoughts were often on them and how unprepared and stupid they were on doing that walk in august…in the middle of the harsh winter. At the routeburn falls hut I talked a lot with the harden responsible and he say to me that he was part of the team of search and rescue that went and found only her on the lake Mackenzie hut…He never believed to her version because she stay in the hut for one month but what He said was that during that month a couple of trampers passed over the lake Mackenzie and she hided from them. I don’t know if true or not only thing that I know is doing that track on winter and losing your partner would’ve be a terrible experience to live.
"the son of a wealthy and influential family was speeding on a dangerous and winding gravel road to retrieve some of his gear." Not sure how wealthy that family is if they're using NZ labour in their business instead of overseas labour like 99% of their competitors. The other point is that that road is used predominately by tourists, not locals so signage may have been a good recommendation by the coroner. I see in a later post, a coroner was persuaded by DoC that signage for the Tararuas was sufficient and didn't need embellishment.
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Forum The campfire
Started by waynowski
On 2 June 2018
Replies 34
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