Police rescued a solo hiker from a precarious position on Mt Tongariro yesterday afternoon.

The 26-year-old woman was walking alone through the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, heading towards the summit, when her crampon became loose and she slipped on ice.

She managed to stop her fall but found herself in a precarious position and unable to move up or down the mountain.

She called a friend, who called 111.

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Two tourists walking about 500m behind her heard also heard her screams and called emergency services.

Rescuers from LandSAR RARO (Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation) headed to the crossing on board the Greenlea rescue helicopter and quickly found her.

After being dropped off by the helicopter, two rescuers climbed down the side of the ridge and assisted her back to the ridge, before the rescue helicopter took the rescuers and her back to the base of Ruapehu.

A spokesman for the rescue helicopter said the woman was totally overwhelmed by her experience and was not sure she could have perched on the steep slope much longer.

"If she had slid further, it is likely she would not have survived the fall or at the least would have been seriously injured," they said.

Senior Constable Barry Shepherd, of Taupo Police, said the woman had a lucky escape as she sustained no injuries.

"She was very shaken, tired and distressed as a result of being stuck in such a precarious position.

"It's been a beautiful day here, but the icy conditions make it hazardous for hikers who are not properly equipped.

"It's not enough to just walk with crampons in these conditions. Hikers must have an ice axe too."

-Further safety advice for outdoor activities can be found at adventuresmart.org.nz