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Climbing mystery solved after four decades

The body of a climber who died while climbing Mt Aspiring in 1978 has been identified. Photo: Matthew Cattin

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A 43-year-old mystery has been solved at Mt Aspiring, the Otago Daily Times reports.

Human remains were found on the Bonar Glacier in Mt Aspiring National Park five years ago, but have only now been formally identified.

On December 3, 1978, two climbers – Terry Jordan and Marc Weinstein – left Wanaka to climb Mt Aspiring via French Ridge Hut and Pope’s Nose.

When they failed to return, a search was initiated and Weinstein’s body was found two days later but after an extensive search, Jordan’s was not found.

An inquest concluded he had died from injuries resulting from a fall on the West Face of Mt Aspiring/Tititea. 

It wasn’t until 2016 that Jordan’s remains were found on the lower reaches of Bonar Glacier.

Now identified, the Australian climber’s remains have been cremated, and his ashes will be sprinkled at Bonar Glacier and at home in Australia.

DOC backs down on media permits

DOC’s controversial media permits have been dropped.

The permits, which required the media to go through an application process before interviewing, photographing and filming on conservation land, faced considerable backlash from New Zealand media.

DOC’s Michael Slater said the permits have been waived on the basis that media activity is low impact in areas where the general public is allowed free access.

“A review has found the rules around media permits were not fit for purpose given the advent of digital tools like mobile phones where visitors are curating their own experiences and sharing them on various web platforms,” Slater said.

“It also found the process for acquiring consent for the media was overly bureaucratic and unworkable for both the media and DOC staff.”

Any trade or business on conservation land must have a concession, but media representatives – including Wilderness – argued their actions are in the public interest, and should therefore be able to go where the general public goes. 

“DOC agrees and has changed its policy to treat media access as if they are the public, freely accessing public conservation land,” Slater said.

“That means media no longer require media permits in low impact situations where the public are allowed free access.”

Media will still need to permission to access wilderness areas that are closed to the public or to fly drones on conservation land.

Kiwi return to Kaitake Range

Six kiwi have been released on Kaitake Range, Te Papakura o Taranaki.

New Zealand’s national bird has been absent from the volcanic cone for decades, and the release is a milestone in the battle against predators, TVNZ reports.

Ngā Mahanga a Tairi hapū member Tane Manu said kiwi once wandered from Kaitake into Oakura village.

“I have spoken to a number of community members that do remember the manu coming all the way down into Oakura and it is still quite surreal that we are going to be hearing this manu back on our mounga especially for us,” he said.

Predator-Free Taranaki project manager Toby Shanley said the release is another step towards Predator-Free 2050.
“Every step we take to controlling predators allows us to possibly bring another species back that’s struggling with the threat of predators, so it’s another step along the way and it’s an important step to be able to bring kiwi back to the Kaitake area,” he said.

Wild dogs close Te Paki Coastal Track

Te Paki Coastal Track is temporarily closed after packs of wild dogs have been seen marauding through the area.

DOC closed the track on April 1 after it was alerted to packs of up to 15 “menacing and feral dogs” on the west coast between Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga. 

Four tracks and a campsite have been closed, however, the Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua Lighthouse Walk remains open.

The department is working with landowners and the local council to contain the animals and is hoping to trap or cull them. 

Read the full story here.

Busy Taranaki Maunga sparks concern

Lines of people queuing to reach the summit of Taranaki Maunga have rung alarm bells for a mountain guide.

Chris Prudden, who has climbed the mountain more than 1300 times and run a business on its slopes, was shocked to see a clear line of ‘ants’ forming a line all the way to the crater on a busy Saturday.

Prudden said many of those attempting the summit were unprepared.

“Most of the people we encountered were inexperienced. Many did not have any extra gear to comfortably wait for assistance if they suffered a simple sprained ankle,” he said.

Read the story and Prudden’s advice for climbing the mountain safely here.

Great year for hiking, bad year for thru-hikers

When Covid-19 shut down much of the world in 2020, thru-hikers were forced to hang up their boots, cancel flights, and kiss goodbye their dreams of long trails. 

Meanwhile, the number of people hiking last year went up, Outside magazine reports.

“One recent report even discovered that the number of miles logged on AllTrails was up more than 170 per cent domestically last year,” Grayson Haver Currin writes.

“But as thru-hiking went, 2020 was largely the year not of the NOBO (northbound) or SOBO (southbound), but instead of the NOGO—as in, well, not going.”

Read the full story here to find out what the NOGO hikers did with their time instead.