rescue from five passes Rescue teams have plucked three lost trampers from a remote area in Otago. A police spokeswoman said a locator beacon was activated on Sunday at 3.55pm, by three trampers who had "lost their way" in the Humboldt Mountain region. The group were walking the Five Passes Route and had veered off-course. They became stuck and had no way of moving safely up or down, she said. "The helicopter took them to a place of safety." She said the trampers were taken to the Routeburn shelter and assessed at the scene. There were no reported injuries and all were "medically ok". They then carried on with the rest of the route. The Five Passes Route is a 64km un-marked route that travels through the Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks.

"The Routeburn Track forms part of the Five Passes Route in Otago" says the caption for the headline photo of the article, with a generic photo taken from above the Routeburn Falls. Yes, 500m of the Routeburn out of the 64km 5 Passes, most of which IS marker and tracked. Sigh, Stuff journalists.

or does the five passes form part of the Routeburn track? ;) the last rescue up there was pretty recent when a gent became too tired to continue and set off his locator beacon the five passes seems to be getting a lot of publicity, i've seen various popular bloggers from overseas blog about what a great track it is and i think the potential difficulties of the track get lost with all the scenic photos and superlatives and people who dont have the experience to walk off track in rough alpine terrain take on the track... i've been through there in summer and the weather kept over 95% of people in the huts, any bare skin was stung by the force of the rain...

I'd like to know where, exactly, did they become lost and what gear (map, compass, gps) did they have? What was the weather like on the weekend? Something not quite right about being rescued and then 'carried on with the rest of the route' - and how does that work, anyway, when the Shelter is the start/end of the route?

I wondered that as well

sounds like search and rescue may have rescued them from themselves and decided the routeburn was the best place for them, rather than get called out again to a repeat rescue

Heavy rain Thursday-Friday, @Bernieq, clearing Saturday/Sunday. Should have been ok on Sunday. The stretch between Park Pass and the bush line in Hidden Falls was the dodgiest area to most likely cause getting lost in, in my opinion, especially if going anti clockwise. Potentially very easy to miss the turn off to Park Pass. But that's just speculation. Ironically I know someone who's been over there doing it this Easter weekend, hope he's not one of these 3!

Thanks for the wx report, Yarmoss - rules that out as a component of the problem. '... became stuck and had no way of moving safely up or down...' Pure speculation but this comment (and the heli rescue) makes me think it would have been above the treeline and on a steep slope. But, yes, Yarmoss, I remember being a little puzzled about the route at the bottom of the climb to Park Pass - it's not obvious and my GPS helped a lot. I imagine, if you didn't do much research, there would be a few places you might become directionally confused. If it IS someone you know, at least you (and then we) might find out what happened.

Talked to my friend who was over there. He said the weather was garbage all weekend. He tried going up the Dart on Friday but couldn't get over the Beans Burn so headed up the Rock Burn instead, camping in Theater Flat. Stayed there for 3 days waiting for Park Pass to clear, but it didn't. Bunch of other parties came in and camped there too with all of them turning around on the Monday and heading out over Sugarloaf. He camped somewhere on the bush that night and popped up to Harris Saddle on Tuesday as the weather had cleared along the Main Divide. Guess the forecasts I was looking at were wrong as I'm sure they were all saying clearing Sunday. He wasn't aware of the rescue and it wasn't any of the parties in the Rock Burn as he was the only one who went up to Park Pass for a look. So whatever happened happened somewhere in Hidden Falls around to the Beans Burn. That's assuming the Stuff article was actually correct in that it was the 5 Passes Route. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if it was actually somewhere else entirely.

Sounds like the heli-pilot had a tough job, then, to pick up on Sunday in what sounds like an unpleasant clag. Good thing they had a PLB. Hopefully, we will hear some detail about what went wrong - always useful to remind us about the need for planning.

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Forum Tracks, routes, and huts
Started by waynowski
On 17 April 2017
Replies 9
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