The body of a climber who fell a "considerable distance" on an Arthur's Pass mountain has been recovered.

The person had been on a day climb on Mt Harper in Mid Canterbury yesterday but failed to return.

Authorities were alerted after the climber's partner activated a personal locator beacon from the mountain about 4.30pm.

Constable Philip Simmonds said a rescue helicopter flew around the area where the person had been.

"The rescue helicopter observed a body believed to be the person missing, however, due to the location was unable to access it," Simmonds said.

"It appears the person has fallen a considerable distance."

Police this evening confirmed the body had been recovered.

They were working to formally identify the body and liaising with next of kin.

The death has been referred to the coroner.