Seven new safety videos covering some of Aotearoa’s most spectacular tracks have been released by the Mountain Safety Council.
The videos cover the Coromandel’s Kauaeranga Kauri Trail Pinnacles Walk, Tararua Southern Crossing in Wellington, the Alpine Route and Red Hills in Marlborough, Canterbury’s Mt Somers Tracks, the Copland Valley on the West Coast, and Otago’s Gillespie Pass and the Rees-Dart Circuit.
Each video highlights the track’s common risks and hazards, outlines key decision-making points and offers guidance on walking times, essential clothing and gear items, important weather factors and other track-specific advice.
MSC videographers spent a total of 22 days of on-location filming, walking over 250km, passing 18 backcountry huts all whilst carrying kilograms of filming equipment including drones, video cameras, batteries and memory cards.
The seven tracks were selected after carefully analysing data which revealed that each track had safety incidents that could be reduced by targeted videos.
The videos will add to a collection of 12 released by MSC in 2018.
MSC chief executive Mike Daisley said the success of the earlier videos made it a simple decision to develop seven new ones.
“The independent research undertaken to assess the impact of the first 12 videos very clearly showed that walkers and trampers who watch the videos before they set off are safer.
“They have better awareness of the hazards and key decisions needed to be made. We could see a profound improvement in their safety-related behaviour changes,” he said.
Watch the videos in the latest series below.
Kauaeranga Kauri Trail
The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail and nearby walking tracks used to access Pinnacles Hut have had 31 trampers involved in a search and rescue between 2010 and 2019.
“Pinnacles Hut is one of the most frequently-visited huts in Aotearoa and the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail is an incredibly popular tramping location,” said Daisley.
“The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail is ideal for families or anyone getting into walking and tramping.”
Tararua Southern Crossing
The Tararua Southern Crossing has had 13 trampers involved in SAR and five fatalities between 2010 and 2019. The five fatalities make the Tararua Southern Crossing the number one track for tramping fatalities over this period.
“The Crossing is frequently underestimated by trampers, with challenging terrain and regular severe weather conditions such as gale force winds and freezing temperatures,” said Dasiley.
Richmond Range Alpine Route has had 17 people involved in SAR and one fatality between 2011 and 2019, with several more occurring since then that MSC is still collating data for.
This video covers the first high alpine area in the South Island that Te Araroa Trail walkers encounter when walking from North to South and is arguably the most challenging section on the whole journey in terms of technical terrain and exposure to weather conditions over a prolonged period of days. The main risks are falling from exposed sections and drowning while crossing flooded rivers.
The Rees-Dart Circuit has had 36 SAR and one fatality between 2010 and 2019.
“The Circuit is a popular, but challenging, multi-day trip and is often connected with the highly exposed and challenging Cascade Saddle Route, which MSC also has a tramping safety video for,” said Daisley.
Copland Valley Track
The Copland Valley Track has had 14 people involved in SAR and one fatality between 2010 and 2018.
“This track was selected for its popularity and to demonstrate the risks involved with river crossings and slips,” said Daisley. “Additionally, there have been several fatalities to trampers attempting to climb over Copland Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook Village. Due to glacial retreat, this has become a highly dangerous route, so this video warns against trampers attempting that crossing.”
Mt Somers Tracks
There were 22 trampers involved in SAR between 2010 and 2018. This track was chosen for its popularity as a common first overnight experience.
“Mt Somers is ideal for school groups, families and beginner trampers who often use Woolshed Creek Hut as one of their first overnight experiences,” said Daisley.
Gillespie Pass Circuit
Gillespie Pass has had 23 trampers involved in SAR between 2010 and 2019 and three fatalities between 2014 and 2020, all of whom drowned in rivers.
“(It’s) a stunningly beautiful environment deep in Mt Aspiring National Park, its popularity has increased over the last decade and as such this has led to increasing incident rates especially around river crossing drownings,” said Daisley.