Search and Rescue operators hope they'll be able to drop a tent today to an Australian man stranded on Mt Aspiring, near Wanaka.

The 29-year-old soldier activated a distress beacon on Tuesday - a day after he was due back from his climb.

While there was grave concern about the man's condition, rescuers were encouraged by movement of the man's emergency beacon yesterday.

Senior Search and Rescue Officer Geoff Lunt said there was a multitude of weather factors preventing them from getting to him.


"Low cloud, thick cloud, snow, rain, quite a high risk of avalanche in the area. That's preventing the ground teams from getting in.

"Possibly a chance this afternoon of the weather clearing, which may allow an attempt to get to the casualty.

"Otherwise, it may be tomorrow that allows the best opportunity to get in."

Lunt said they believed the man remained in the same location they tracked his distress beacon to yesterday afternoon.

The man set off his beacon at the edge of the Bonar Glacier at 12.15pm on Tuesday.

The beacon was seen to move a short distance to the north east about 2.30pm Wednesday, and rescuers said it was "a good sign''.

However, they were still very concerned for the man because he was lightly equipped.

Members of the alpine cliff rescue team found most of the man's equipment at French Ridge hut.


A spokesman believed the man had equipped himself lightly for a fast climb and return, which was "common practice''.

"While he was well equipped for the trip, he was climbing lightly equipped and most of his gear - his heavier cold weather gear, sleeping bag, food and the like - are at the hut and not with him.''

A New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre spokeswoman said yesterday a helicopter and crew equipped with night-vision goggles had been based close to Aspiring Hut and would remain on standby overnight, in case there was a break in the weather that would allow them to drop a bag containing clothing, equipment and food to the climber.