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Snow poles aid rescues on Mt Taranaki

There are 107 snow poles, each with GPS coordinates, spaced out along the North Summit Route on Taranaki. Photo: Dave Rogers

It’s now easier to rescue people on Mt Egmont/Taranaki: DOC has installed 107 snow poles to help search and rescue teams find people.

Egmont National Park senior ranger Dave Rogers said the poles, which are big, red and numbered, have already helped rescue teams find two people since being installed in the first week of March.

The decision to put in the poles came as a result of a flurry of rescues – 16 in six months – after which local police asked DOC to help out.

The steel markers are spaced out along the Mt Taranaki North Summit Route.

“Should a person get into trouble, they’ve been advised to stand by the closest pole on the route, look at the number on the tag, and quote that number when they ring for assistance,” Rogers explained. “The police will have a GPS location for that number and will know exactly where to direct the search party.” Rogers said cell phone signal is very reliable on the route.

When calling for help, a person just has to say, “I’m in trouble, and I’m at pole 83,” Rogers said. They’ll also be installing the poles on the South Summit Route to the top of Fanthams Peak, where most of the rescues are made.

“The snow poles are a simple idea that in just a few days, have done exactly what we wanted them to do.”