An exhausted tramper has been found by a specialist alpine rescue team after setting off an emergency beacon.

A rescue operation was sparked today when a beacon was activated from a remote, mountainous area south of Glenorchy.

A Wanaka-based rescue helicopter flew into the Mt Aspiring National Park but because of deteriorating conditions could not reach the tramper.

The beacon had been set off at 8.15am near lakes Wilson and Harris and Mt Xenicus.


A rescue co-ordination centre spokesman said the alpine team were dropped in the area, which was being buffeted by strong winds and shrouded in low cloud, and walked towards the beacon.

They discovered a sole tramper who was suffering from exhaustion.

He was walked out with the team to a lower point where the helicopter was able to fly them out of the mountains.

The spokesman said the successful operation had proved the worth of carrying a personal emergency beacon into the wilderness.

"It has potentially saved his life," said the spokesman.

The tramper was taken to his car, which was parked at the start of the Routeburn Track, and was now heading home, he said.