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Melbourne climber missing in NZ

5:28:09 PM
Yanked from the Age Website:

Fingers crossed he turns up OK...


A Melbourne climber who left his tent in bad weather on New Zealand's Mount Aspiring yesterday morning is still missing, with police fearing he may have fallen.

Alan Leslie Beck, a New Zealander and decade-long member of the Nunawading Hard Rock climbing gym, has not been seen since 10.30am on Sunday.

He left his group on Bevan Col, near Wanaka, to search for a route down to the Matukituki Valley.

Fellow mountaineer Cameron Mulvey - who had been travelling with Mr Beck, his climbing partner Andy and a Finnish girl for the past week - said the Melbourne man left the two-man tent that the group had been sharing to stretch his legs.

The four had been waiting out fierce storms at Bevan Col, about 2000 metres up the 3033-metres high mountain.

"We'd been holed up for two days and we knew the weather was going to start to clear eventually, sooner rather than later," Mr Mulvey told The Age online.

"He was basically going out to stretch his legs to go have a wander for what we thought was an hour or so. He took an ice axe and crampons with him."

Mr Mulvey said no one was surprised when Mr Beck went for a walk, as he had "a good head on him" and the group were keen to find a route to get down the mountain after poor visibility had hampered their progress.

"By about 12pm I started getting a little concerned, and thought I'd go and have a look," Mr Mulvey said.

"I found his tracks, I found crampon tracks and they sort of disappeared off."

The group searched for about five hours before being flown off the mountain.

Wanaka Land Search and Rescue were already in the area yesterday afternoon after Mr Mulvey and his partner exceeded the "panic date" on the intentions form they had lodged with the Department of Conservation.

Rescue teams have been searching since.

Wanaka police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson said the terrain Mr Beck had been climbing was full of holes and small crevasses where climbers could get trapped and covered quite easily.

"It's quite a large area, so we're sort of 50-50 on hoping that we've got the right people up there who know the place like the palm of their hand ... so they know the spots and I'm confident if he hasn't gone too far, then we'll find him," he said.

Mr Mulvey said it was now "anybody's guess" where Mr Beck was, although there was a chance he may have traversed too high, becoming disoriented.

"If nothing happens today, things aren't looking good," he said.

Mr Mulvey said the group had been having a fantastic time on the mountain before Mr Beck's disappearance.

"We were completely close together in the tent, sleeping on each other, but it was a really great time," he said.

"He (Mr Beck) is a really, really funny guy, full of great spirit."

5:31:11 PM
Just posted this as well but have deleted my thread. Really hope he turns up ok. The west Australian says the search has been called off for now due to bad weather.

10:23:23 PM
I was e-mailed this thread by a friend yesterday - sad to to post here.

My condolences to family and friends.

There are 3 messages in this topic.


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