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Aoraki rescue the highest in NZ mountaineering history

The rescue of the climber from 3724m Aoraki/Mt Cook has set the record for the highest rescue in New Zealand's history. Photo: Supplied

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A helicopter rescue of a climber on the summit ridge of Aoraki/Mt Cook has broken the record for New Zealand’s highest rescue, Star News reports.

After an emergency beacon was set off from the 3724m summit, the Aoraki/Mount Cook Alpine Rescue Team and a local helicopter set off in search of the climber.

“The climber reported that they had over-extended themselves and felt the best course of action was to send the SOS message,” RCCNZ search and rescue officer Keith Allen said.

Amcart’s Mark Evans said conditions on the ridge were good and the rescue team experienced perfect aviation weather.

“We flew to the area and used a long line to undertake the rescue. We’re very happy the climber identified their limits on the day and asked for help – they did the right thing to call for assistance,” he said.

“It shows the importance of always carrying a working personal locator beacon when enjoying the outdoors.”

DOC deciding on hut access for unvaccinated

DOC has yet to decide whether only vaccinated trampers will be allowed to access huts, tracks and other DOC facilities, RNZ reports.

“We’re doing a lot of work at the moment to understand as Covid is looking to move around the country what that means for the likes of some of our tracks or huts,” DOC’s Aaron Fleming said.

“As we move into the traffic light system as well, what does that mean for these experiences?

“We haven’t answered those questions yet but we’re certainly doing the work to try and understand what the impact may be.”

Tramping is allowed during Level 2, though trampers are asked to physically distaane and use QR codes when staying in huts.

DOC is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks. 

Hump Ridge upgrades delayed, but on track

DOC expects to break ground on the Hump Ridge Track this year, despite experiencing delays, RNZ reports.  

The three day private loop near Tuatapere was expected to open in late 2022, but has been delayed a season. The track is scheduled to become the next Great Walk.

The budget has also been increased from roughly $5 million to around $7 million.

Many of the necessary upgrades are planned to improve the track’s resilience to climate change and earthquakes.

The track will remain open to trampers during upgrades, but DOC’s Aaron Fleming asks that visitors are mindful of the work.

“Since the track was announced to be the next Great Walk, it’s become a lot more popular and a lot more people are gravitating to the track which is great,” he said.

Rakiura may have had moa

New research has revealed that moa may have lived on Rakiura/Stewart Island.

The news follows analysis of a skeleton discovered on West Ruggedy Beach.

“The excavation revealed a partial skeleton with no cut marks from stone tools, and we also discovered gizzard stones and a dark organic-rich layer of sand beneath the skeleton that was likely stained by the rotting moa and the plant contents of its gizzard,” study lead author Dr Alex Verry said.

The findings suggest the moa dier near where it was found, and likely of natural causes.

Read the full story here.

Ancient skis uncovered in Norway

Field archaeologists have uncovered a pair of well-preserved 1300 year old skis in Norway.

It is thought to be the best-preserved prehistoric skis ever discovered, and one still had bindings and lash points fully intact, as well as signs of a repair job.

The skis are about the same length as modern cross-country skis.

Researchers noted several rock cairns in the area, and believe they may mark an ancient mountain trail, possibly used for hunting or travelling.

Read the full story here.