An Auckland hiker was found frozen and unable to move in freezing temperatures on Mt Ngauruhoe.
The man was found at 7pm last night when the temperature had dropped to 7C. However, given there were 50-60km/h winds, it caused a wind chill factor of about -10C.
Two LandSAR Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation (Raro) members found him stranded near the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe in the Tongariro National Park.
Mt Ngauruhoe is the youngest vent in the Tongariro volcanic complex and lies between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruapehu. It is technically a secondary cone of Mt Tongariro, although seen by most as a volcano in its own right.
Senior Constable Barry Shepherd said the man was frozen and couldn't move.
"He's a lucky man, things could have been worse, but due to the skill of our team, we found him in the cloud when visibility was only at arm's length.
"Our bodies chill 25 times faster when they are wet rather than dry."
Both rescuers spent time holding the man upwhile hauling him down the mountain.
The team of two plus the victim made it to the half-way point at the South Crater where they were met by another rescue team of three, Shepherd said.
He was given some warm thermal clothes and food and drink and the second team helped escort him out to the road's end by 11pm.
Shepherd said while the man had plenty of food and drink for his tramp he had inadequate clothing.
"The man was only partially prepared. He had a large pack; a lot of food and drink, but his clothing was inappropriate as he didn't have enough thermal wear for the altitude."
It took the rescue team four hours to carry and assist the man down the mountain.
"Paramedics checked him over at the bottom of the mountain and he didn't need any more first aid.
"He was an extremely lucky person, but due to the skill of these rescuers - we saved his life," Shepherd said.
The man's extraordinary tales comes after an Auckland woman got lost while walking the Wairere Falls on Wednesday.
Senior Constable Alastair Methven told the Herald the woman and her husband both walked to the lower lookout together. Her husband returned to the car park while she continued to the top of the falls.
While she got to see the falls it was when she turned around to head back that she failed to make the right turn to head back down to the car park. Instead, she went straight, heading further into the Kaimais and the north-south track.
When she reached the intersection she turned right - thinking that was the right turn which would lead her back down.
"She has walked for an hour before a realisation that she must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. She has then turned around and started walking back towards the falls.
"At some stage she has forgotten how many times she has turned back on herself and became totally disorientated."
Later that afternoon, possibly around 5pm, she's come across an X intersection that was sign posted northwards 2 1/2 hrs to Wairere falls and southwards 1hr to 'shelter'.
As she knew it was nearing complete darkness she decided to walk towards the shelter hoping to reach it before dark.
"Unfortunately it became dark very quickly and by 6pm was completely dark and she was approximately 300m south of the X intersection."
She made a makeshift bed of leaves and foliage and laid in and underneath it.
Her last contact with her husband, via cellphone, was 2.07pm when she said she'd reached the lookout.
However, reception is patchy if not non-existent up the top of the mountain and her battery soon died.
Methven said the woman was not appropriately equipped for the walk.
"She was in denim jeans, sweat top and a light windbreaker. She had no food, no water, no torch, no bag. Unprepared for anything."
He added there was "definitely a lack of signposts around the falls and easy to miss the track down to the car park when exiting the falls lookout".
He reminded people when going on day walks to always take enough food, water and clothing so that if they have to spend the night in the bush they can comfortably do so.
"A good idea is an emergency silver blanket, that takes up very little room but when wrapped around you becomes a great wind block that is totally waterproof."
Unsurprisingly the woman was "elated" and thankful to be found, although very cold and her clothing damp.
Her rescuers gave her a change of dry clothes to wear and some food and water before walking out with her.
Police tips for all hikers:
• If you start your trip together, you should finish together – leave no one behind.
• You need to wear suitable clothing appropriate to the environment and if you don't know, then please find out.
• Take enough food and water for your hike.
• Know your limits: know when to turn back – if it's too tough, then it's time to go home.