Police recover two climbers bodies in Fiordland



An Southland police SAR team today recovered the bodies of two climbers from an area below Marian Peak in the  Darren Mountains, Fiordland.

"Two climbers were reported missing yesterday afternoon and had been overdue for 24 hours.

A search by helicopter yesterday evening located the climbers at the base of a climbing face where they had clearly suffered a fall," said Sergeant Tod Hollebon of Te Anau Police. 

The two climbers left Homer Huts near the Milford Road on Saturday 22 April and their intended route was Barrier Knob to Barrier Peak, a descent into Marian Valley and to ascend Marian Peak.


update from NZ Alpine team

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of two team members Conor Smith and Sarwan Chand. Over the long weekend Conor and Sarwan were climbing in the Darran Mountains (Fiordland). They had been attempting a route on the South Face of Marian Peak. While details of the accident are not yet fully known, we believe, that while climbing, the leader fell before being able to place gear after the belay.  This resulted in a factor 2 lead fall, pulling the team off the wall.  

Conor and Sarwan both joined the NZAT in late 2015.  They were both well liked and respected members of our team. They were experienced and competent mountaineers with many successful ascents in New Zealand and overseas.  Conor excelled as a rock climber while Sarwan had a long list of successful ice and alpine ascents.  

To lose two of our friends and teammates together in this way is devastating for us. Our thoughts are with their family and friends.

We have set up a Go Fund Me page to help bring teammates Al and Gemma back to NZ for the farewell. All donations greatly appreciated at https://www.gofundme.com/get-gemma-alastair-back-to-nz