A tramper who was killed in a 250m fall on the Cascade Saddle died saving the life of his partner.

Irish doctor Donal Deery, 29, died from injuries in the fall into a rock gully about midday on Tuesday.

Sergeant Aaron Nicholson, of Wanaka, said Dr Deery dived on to his partner Helen McClemmens in an attempt to save her from his own fate as she slipped through soft snow.

Dr Deery's body was still in the mountains last night as Wanaka's alpine cliff rescue team waited for high winds to drop.

Ms McClemmens, 27, fractured her back in the fall and is being treated in Dunedin Hospital.

Mr Nicholson, who co-ordinated Tuesday's rescue attempts, said:

"He dived on to save his girlfriend but both of them fell down. I've told his parents he was a real hero. He probably realised what was going to happen but he instinctively reacted."

He said Dr Deery, Ms McClemmens and a male companion were descending from the 1800m Saddle, in the Mt Aspiring National Park when Ms McClemmens slipped on a 20m-long slab of soft snow.

Dr Deery was standing below his girlfriend and dived to halt her slide. Together, they slid down a grassy slope and dropped into a steep, tight, rocky gully.

Dr Deery took the brunt of the impact and slid further on into a snow tunnel several metres below the point where his partner landed.

Mr Nicholson also praised the actions of experienced outdoors couple Christine Ryan, 32, and Erik Bradshaw, 37, of Queenstown, who used their climbing equipment to get down to the Irish pair and put them in sleeping bags.

"They worked on him [Dr Deery] for 50 minutes non-stop until the rescue team got there. But by that time he'd died," Mr Nicholson said.

The Irish couple's companion, Tom, also received police praise for his one-hour run to the Mt Aspiring Hut to raise the alarm on the Department of Conservation radio.

Ten volunteers made two unsuccessful attempts in difficult conditions to rescue Ms McClemmens using a rope under the helicopter.

Gusty conditions meant rescuers had to "haul her out the old- fashioned way using ropes and a stretcher", Mr Nicholson said.

Dr Deery's death follows that on Tuesday of a 28-year-old German man who fell 100m on a section of Mt Aspiring known as The Ramp.

Marc Freedman, a 22-year-old Australian, was killed on January 2 in a fall while also descending The Ramp.

Mountain Safety Council executive director Ian Nicholson said climbers needed to take extra care when descending treacherous sections in the national park at this time of the year.