Mount Taranaki: Climber survives 600m fall with minor injuries
In New Zealand, a climber experienced a remarkable survival story as he tumbled down the side of a mountain, falling a staggering 600 meters (1,968 feet), yet emerging with only minor injuries.
The incident occurred on Mount Taranaki, situated on the North Island. Police credited his survival to the fortuitous spring weather, which had softened the ice and caused him to land in a snow-covered area.
Law enforcement officials described the climber’s situation as “an extraordinary stroke of luck” for him to have survived such a dramatic fall.
To put the magnitude of the fall into perspective, the distance he descended is equivalent to the height of the Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Saudi Arabia, one of the tallest buildings in the world. It is nearly double the height of London’s Shard, which stands at 309 meters tall.
The climber had been part of a group scaling Mount Taranaki and fell from the summit around noon local time on Saturday, September 9th. According to the police, after witnessing their fellow climber slide down the mountain and disappear from view, another member of the group descended in an attempt to locate him.
Remarkably, a member of the Taranaki Alpine Rescue team happened to be climbing in the vicinity that day and played a pivotal role in locating the fallen climber.
Mount Taranaki is notorious for its reputation as one of the most perilous mountains in New Zealand, as acknowledged by the country’s Mountain Safety Council.
In 2021, two mountaineers fell to their deaths from the same spot from which the climber plunged at the weekend.
Taranaki is a dormant volcano that sits in relative isolation on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
The Mountain Safety Council said: “Its isolation from other mountains, proximity to the coastline, and geographic position make for some of the most fast-changing and adverse weather conditions found anywhere in New Zealand.
“The weather, combined with the complex and rough terrain, creates a highly unique environment. One mistake can be disastrous.”
While undoubtedly rare, other people have survived big falls relatively unscathed, though perhaps not as steep as the climber in New Zealand.
Adam Potter tumbled 300m down Sgurr Choinnich Mor in Scotland. During the drop in 2011, he fell over three cliffs. Although battered, Mr Potter was able to stand up once he stopped sliding.
Another mountaineer survived a 400m drop in Canada when they plunged down the side of Mount Lefroy. The mountain in the west of the country measures 3,423m at its peak.