The body of a German tourist who plunged 200 metres to his death in Mt Aspiring National Park has been recovered.

A search was launched after a friend contacted police on December 23 to say the 38-year-old had failed to return from a solo tramp he began on November 29.

His body was located during an aerial search by helicopter of a section of the Cascade Saddle track approaching the area known as the pylon. This area of the track was the scene of previous fatalities, police said.

"The deceased has fallen on a snow patch very near the top of the climb. He has been unable to stop his fall and slid down the snow and over the edge of a ridge into a near vertical gully, stopping approximately 200 metres below,'' Acting SAR co-ordinator Senior Constable Mike Johnston of Wanaka police said.


The man's body was recovered by Wanaka Land SAR, police and Mt Aspiring helicopters.

Mr Johnston said the steep and challenging route over the Cascade Saddle was an alpine environment that carried a high level of risk and required a high level of skill.

"Falling in this slippery and steep terrain is unforgiving,'' he said.

The name of the dead man would be released when family in Germany had been contacted.

Police expressed their sympathy to the family and friends who were receiving the tragic news at Christmas.