decision-making on deadly Great Walk criticised

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In July 2016, two tourists set out on a six-day tramp on one of New Zealand's renowned Great Walks. Three days later, one was dead and the other was desperately trying to flag down a passing helicopter.
1 deleted post from jiangpo01
i read the coroners report. the deceased had no wet weather gear with him... he had little food on him and hadnt eaten much, there is a fully enclosed shelter at harris saddle he never thought to stay at. he was bipolar, this may have affected his decision making.
>he was bipolar, this may have affected his decision making. Not sure about this being a contributor to his death, is that what the Coroners report said?
Very sad but it sounds like they didn’t do a single thing correctly. Almost hard to believe they went out there with no shelter in winter, that’s insane.
i think the "flap" she refers to may be a tarp or fly as NZers call them
Still impressive that she survived was it 3 nights in the open in that alpine environment with next to no shelter and did make it to the hut. Did she have better clothing? What he had sounds really inadequate for even summer conditions up there. They said she could have done more to try to prevent/treat his going into hypothermia, but she would have been right on the edge herself, even if they had huddled together and made the best use of what natural shelter and shelter they had and got out of the acute hypothermia situation, they'd have still been immobilised in nasty conditions with no chance of anyone coming to look for them or rescue them, probably neither would have made it.
An entire cascade of bad decisions. It's not my nature to be overly judgemental, but this sad episode is exactly why the regulars here do tend to be conservative when our advice is asked for. The outstanding bad decision for me was heading on up to Harris Saddle through conditions that they were later reluctant to retreat back down from. That is always unwise, because if you run into more difficulties further on you can be easily trapped. And of course in this instance even stopping at the Saddle Shelter, located for just this purpose, would have likely saved his life. Having said that I agree with Ian, it's impressive she survived at all. I doubt I would have.
its hard to believe they persisted in such difficult conditions, 5 hours to get to harris saddle, anyone else would have called it quits, and still kept going , not interested in stopping at the shelter. thats incredible persistance, the coroner didnt say anything about his bipolar condition contributing to his death, but that level of persistance is the sort of behaviour that can be exhibited by bipolar people.
I hear you Philip W...however to be fair this wasn't a case of someone being over ambitious or arrogant, this was two people with improper experience and gear, going into an alpine zone in the middle of winter, who made a point of NOT telling anyone their intentions to avoid hut fees, who couldn't read English signs or maps, who had no shelter and by default I'm guessing no sleeping pads which in winter is incredibly important, they had no snowshoes, skis or crampons - the very things you need in the snow in order to travel, they walked past an emergency shelter, no PLB, they took shortcuts from the track, etc... I must say the more I read up on this the more disturbed I get by it. Regardless of their incompetence, no one deserves that fate. It must have been absolutely horrible.
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once they encountered those conditions they should have realised they were being over ambitious. 5 hours from the falls to the saddle would tell anyone it was over ambitious to continue, its only a third of the way to the hut. the track stays at the same altitude mos of the way so the snow would remain just as bad... they were likely to need rescuing in those conditions...
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Forum The campfire
Started by waynowski
On 3 September 2019
Replies 44
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