The 31-year-old man who fell to his death on a South Island mountain face has been named as Gergo Verhas, a Hungarian who lived in Auckland.

Mr Verhas was climbing on Mt Rolleston with two women companions when he fell about 7.30am yesterday.

Despite an immediate emergency response from the Canterbury Westpac Rescue Helicopter, he was unable to be saved.

Mr Verhas was an experienced climber and a member of the New Zealand Alpine Club.


Chief executive Sam Newton described what happened yesterday.

"In a team of three climbers, Gergo had ascended the Central Direct Route on the Otira Face of Mount Rolleston on Sunday. After spending the night near the summit, the party was descending via the standard descent route, early on Monday morning," he said.

"During that descent, Gergo slipped on loose scree, slid across a small patch of snow and came to a halt in a loose rocky area 50m below.

"His passing is a tragic loss to his friends and family. Our thoughts are with them."

Mr Newton said Mr Verhas was "an active and popular" member of the Auckland branch of the club had completed instruction courses in rock climbing and snowcraft.

"Gergo had enjoyed numerous climbs of significant mountains in New Zealand.

"In the last six months, Gergo had summited Mount Taranaki, all 12 peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Earnslaw, Mount Temple and Mount Sefton - an impressive list.

"Prior to coming to New Zealand Gergo had completed the Haute Route Pyrénéenne, an incredible 800km trek in Europe.

"It is saddening that someone who was enjoying the mountains so much, has had such a tragic accident.

"Gergo will be fondly remembered by the Auckland Section of NZAC and the wider climbing community."