The Southern Alps have given up the bodies of lost climbers in the past - sometimes decades after their deaths.

Two years ago, the body of a young climber killed more than 40 years ago was found at the foot of Tasman Glacier. The well-preserved remains belonged to a 19-year-old South Islander who died near the top of the glacier in 1973.

The body of his 64-year-old climbing companion was discovered soon after the accident.

In 2001, the remains of Swiss climbers August Manser and Edwin Kunz, who went missing in 1963, were uncovered on the Hooker Glacier. In 1999, the remains of NZ climbers John Cousins and Michael Goldsmith were found 36 years after they disappeared.

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Both the Fox Glacier and the Franz Josef Glacier have given up debris in the past. In 2010, guides found items discarded during renovations to the Chancellor Hut in the 1950s emerging from the glacier terminal.

Marius Bron discovered scraps of orange-painted corrugated iron, which were believed to be from the chimney repairs made 50 years earlier, having been thrown off the cliff onto the glacier below.