decision-making on deadly Great Walk criticised

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.
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if a warning sign saves one life, its been worth it, the reality is some people must surely take notice of the signs , you never hear about them because they don't end up in the news... plenty of people will ignore warning signs... but due diligence has been done, people were warned, be it on their own heads if they ignore the signs. certain demographics like young males are more prone to ignoring warning signs but there are other demographics who will listen and be sensible.
In critical, extreme dangers - I agree @wayno. But the problem is that almost every gate around here has a big red '{SKULL & CROSSBONES} Warning. Poison. DEADLY ...' sign on it. And so I, for one, no longer even notice, see, or read warning signs because I pass 100's of them every day. So we need to be very careful - very selective - where we use them or they loose all value. So warning signs can _cost_ lives by diminishing the impact of signs where higher risk levels exist.
personally i wish alpine walks werent promoted at all, it attracts people who just don't do due diligence and dont bother or know how to risk assess the environment. i dont know if people think warning signs are put there just to put off people who would get put off by falling over on a rough track and having to wade through a bit of snow... when they are really warning about life threatening situations that prevail for a lot of the year.. or they think being young and fit mitigates all the risks, that an avalanche is a little bit of snow that will just cover you in a bit of powder and migh knock you over... rather than cover you, break you limbs, crush you and suffocate you to death... or that you could die from exhaustion and hypothermia trying to post hole to the next hut... do they think being able to cope with the stress of rafting or bungy jumping quality them to put up with the dangers of an alpine environment? or they think it wont happen to them...?
I know some might say this is in bad taste but a memorial at all track entrances to those that have perished there just might get some attention
I do think one of the reasons so many people get into trouble here is the hut system. The huts provide a huge safety net and send the message to people that they do not need to be self-sufficient. Huts enable inexperienced people to try things they probably shouldn't be doing. Does anyone really think this couple would have set out on the Routeburn in mid-winter if there were no huts? We all know the answer to that.
Thumbs up
correct about huts and the fact there are maps showing tracks to the huts, it attracts inexperienced tourists, who havent been in a place like NZ, they see it as an easy way to kill time for little or no money and they dont think they need to carry their own shelter because they assume they will easily follow a nicely cut track and have a hut over their head at the end of the day... of course in nz a track marked on a map doesnt mean you wont have to navigate... it doesnt mean you will be able to find the track at all times...
I don't think we should be painting this as just a tourist issue. New Zealanders manage to die in the hills each year, many through the same poor decision making.
@Geeves-don`t agree.There`s a rock on the tiphead at the Grey bar (Greymouth ) with the names of fisherman who didn`t make it over the bar.I asked someone why such a big rock & the reply was `so they can fit more plaques on it".We all think,and I`m no exception sometimes,that we`re special,we can do this & we have a go.Sometimes we come out in a body bag.
There’s nothing wrong with paying the ultimate price, that’s fine in my book and everytime I’ve undertaken a serious trip I understand that is a possibility. We’re in heaps of potential danger just driving to work. However, if you read the factors I listed earlier in the thread, these people really walked into a fucking nightmare, and even then, after 5 hours of hiking to cover 3-4kms, they walked past a emergency hut with no personal shelter. That’s not calculated risk, that’s delusion. And what pisses me off is that one person would have inevitably pushed the other to continue. Everyone knows in these situations you set ground rules, you do this before a trip when you’re clear headed and thinking straight, where is the line, when do we turn back? What happens if we get pinned down? This could have been done driving to the trailhead. They did nothing. And yes, it’s not just tourists. However, it’s much more likely to be tourists. However, context matters, and these people had multiple factors working against them - one of those was being unable to work a radio because instructions were in English. Another was no understanding of the conditions, both these factors are related to being foreign. I lived in Switzerland for two years and was very cautious about doing anything ‘big’ over there, for these reasons.
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Forum The campfire
Started by waynowski
On 3 September 2019
Replies 44
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