Mount Dixon rockfall, 21st January 2013 Jan 22, 2013 17:22:18 GMT 12
Post by kiwithrottlejockey on Jan 22, 2013 17:22:18 GMT 12
Evacuation under way after rockslide
The Timaru Herald | 6:07PM - Monday, 21 January 2013
CAPTURED: A major rockfall in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, by the Hochstetter glacier,
above the Tasman glacier valley today. — Photo: ROB RANDALL.
CLIMBERS are being flown from Plateau Hut after a massive three-kilometre long rockfall in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park this afternoon.
The rockfall on the West Face of Mount Dixon happened about 2.15pm.
Department of Conservation community relations programme manager at Mount Cook, Shirley Slatter, said all 18 climbers known to be in the area had been accounted for.
The rockfall ended within 150 to 200 metres of Plateau Hut, and all the climbers were being flown out, and the hut closed, as a precaution, Mrs Slatter said.
Mount Cook rockfall spares climbers
‘Awe-inspiring’ rockfall narrowly misses hut
The Timaru Herald | 5:00AM - Tuesday, 22 January 2013
CLOSE CALL: The 3-kilometre-long rockslide off Mount Dixon
was close enough to Plateau Hut, circled, for the Department
of Conservation to shut the hut and airlift climbers out of it
last night. — Photo: ALPINE GUIDES.
IT IS hoped a geologist will visit the scene of a huge rockfall in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park later today to advise whether it is safe for one of the park's largest mountain huts to reopen.
The 28-bed Plateau Hut was closed yesterday and 15 climbers flown out from it, after a huge rockfall on nearby Mount Dixon early in the afternoon.
The rockfall was three kilometres long and left debris as close as 150 to 200 metres from the hut.
Department of Conservation community relations programme manager at Mount Cook, Shirley Slatter, said geologists from GNS Science had been contacted and had already looked at photos of the rockslide. It was hoped they would be able to fly into the site later today.
"Graham Hancox (a GNS senior engineering geologist) has looked at the footage and does not think there is any danger to the hut, but we want someone to go in and have a look at it and give us a report."
Two of the guided parties who were at Plateau Hut yesterday opted to fly on to other locations to continue climbing, while others were flown back to the village.
A party of three who were climbing in the area intended to stay at the Bowie Bivy last night before returning to the hut later today.
Plateau Hut is the base for the majority of climbs on Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman as well as the other surrounding high peaks.
Once the geologist's report was available, Mrs Slatter said climbers would be advised of any potential risks.
ROCKSLIDE: Images reveal the extend of a rockfall on Mount Dixon in Aoraki/Mount Cook
National Park on January 21. — Photos: ALPINE GUIDES.
MOUNT DIXON ROCKSLIDE SPARES CLIMBERS
A massive rockfall three kilometres long left 15 climbers amazed as they sat in a hut in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The rockfall came off the west face of Mount Dixon about 2.15pm yesterday.
Shirley Slatter, Department of Conservation community relations programme manager at Mt Cook, said there were 12 climbers, including guides, in the hut at the time and a guide she had spoken to was "pretty amazed" by what was happening. A party of three also made its way back to the hut late in the afternoon.
Helicopter company Heliworks put on a flight for DOC staff to check out the slide and the nearby hut yesterday afternoon.
The decision was made to close the hut as debris came to rest within 150 to 200 metres of Plateau Hut. The climbers were flown out from the hut last night, with some choosing to be flown to other huts in the park to continue climbing.
"There is the potential for more to come off. It can happen anywhere in the [Southern] Alps. It is just below the hut, but it has the potential, if more comes off, to overtop where it is and go up a slight rise towards the hut," Mrs Slatter explained.
Mrs Slatter said it was the largest rockslide in the park since the top 10 metres fell off Mount Cook in 1991. She estimated yesterday's slide involved about a quarter of the material displaced in the Mount Cook rockslide.
Footprints from parties which had left Plateau Hut earlier in the day were visible crossing the Grand Plateau before disappearing under the debris.
Further up Mount Dixon, footprints from another climbing party were 20 metres from the debris.
Another three-person party was expected to stay in the Bowie Ridge bivvy last night before climbing the north ridge of Mount Dixon today.
"They will have a wee surprise when they come down tomorrow as they will actually have to cross the debris to get to the hut."
The guides she had spoken to at Plateau Hut were confident the trio would be able to get to the hut but Mrs Slatter said a decision would need to be made as to whether it was safe for them to stay there.
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