Mt Aspiring death toll goes to three in a fortnight

Three people have died on or near Mt Aspiring over the last 10 days - including two climbers who slipped from its notorious northwest ridge.

A 29-year-old Irish tramper fell to his death from the Cascade Saddle near the mountain yesterday, a day after a 28-year-old German climber fell 100m to his death on a face known as The Ramp on Tuesday.

Last week 22-year-old Australian Marc Freedman, also an experienced climber, was killed instantly when he fell 50m into a crevasse on the Bonar Glacier when descending The Ramp.

Sergeant Aaron Nicholson, of Wanaka police, said the Irish tramper and his partner slipped while descending over the top of the Cascade Saddle and fell into a drainage gut about 250m below.

The female tramper has been flown to Dunedin Hospital with moderate injuries.

Earlier Constable Andy Ferguson, of Wanaka, said that the experienced German climber had reached the summit about two hours earlier with a Hamilton man.

The German slipped on melting snow and fell from a cliff to the bottom of The Ramp, Mr Ferguson said.

His companion, who was not hurt, and two other climbers saw the man fall and went to Colin Todd Hut to raise the alarm with two mountain guides.

The guides found the climber's body about midnight and alerted police.

Conditions were fine and warm on the mountain, which "obviously added" to the snow melting and could have been a factor in the incident, Mr Ferguson said.

Two New Zealanders plunged to their deaths in the same spot last April.

Although there were warning signs in huts, a couple of "scorching hot" days meant extra care was needed, Mr Ferguson said.

The dead German man has not been named because next-of-kin had yet to be notified.

A post-mortem examination will be done and the death will be referred to the coroner.

- NZPA

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