A recovery mission is underway to retrieve 13 vehicles stranded on the Old Man Range in Otago this afternoon.
The vehicles were abandoned last month when a group of 4WD enthusiasts had to be rescued after nearly 21 hours stuck in the snow.
Snowcats were called in to reach the group on Waikaia Bush Rd, near Roxburgh, along with 23 volunteers and Search and Rescue personnel. They reached safety late afternoon on May 23.
A bulldozer is cutting a slow path up to the vehicles today. Local contractors Harliwich Earthmovers are using a D7 bulldozer to push its way up the road.
The group has worked with the Central Otago District Council to gain consent to access the road, which was due to close for the winter this weekend.
The owners have a window of three days to get the vehicles down. They also have to be down off the mountain by 5pm each day.
They set off at 6am this morning, but are still several kilometres off reaching the vehicles.
Police say the recovery mission is hazardous, and the council says the group will pay for any damage caused to the road during the operation, including damage to road fences, drainage or other council property.
The 4WDs are around 7.5km along Waikaia Bush Rd.