German backpacker survives icy fall

liiuigAccidents can happen anywhere, especially when you are in an icy mountain like Mt. Tongariro.

The 19-year-old German backpacker luckily survived the 50 m icy fall near the summit while hiking with friends over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Unfortunately, the young tramper was wearing shorts and running shoes in zero degree temperature with added wind chill when he slipped.

He was in a dangerous position that the helicopter couldn’t hover over him, so two rescuers used crampons and ice axes to get him and lift him off the mountain. The teenager was then flown to Rotorua Hospital with leg and feet injuries.

As of this writing, the German backpacker is already in a stable condition in Rotorua. He’s so lucky to survive such fall, considering he’s not wearing proper gear while climbing the summit.

Police warn the trampers and hikers that the summer is over, and people venturing into the alpine environment need to be properly dressed and equipped.

The police warning was backed by Department of Conservation’s manager Jonathan Maxwell. Maxwell said that people need to take responsibility for themselves on the crossing.

“There are plenty of information about the conditions and what to take on the crossing on the websites and information centers, but some people just don’t get it,” Maxwell added.

However, according to the police, it’s just a very small percentage of backpackers who treat the crossing casually. But of course, this just can’t be ignored by the authorities especially those who are running the national park. The safety of everyone is still the utmost concern of the people in authority.

Good thing, the rescuers are well-prepared in case of emergency like this. After this incident, there are two things that backpackers need to remember: Be extra careful next time and wear proper attire when climbing an icy summit.

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