Death at Mt Ruapehu renews safety warnings

The second death in a year at Mount Ruapehu's Crater Lake on Saturday has prompted renewed safety warnings.

On Saturday afternoon, a man slipped and fell into the icy lake, which is a tourist hotspot at the top of the popular skiing destination.

The man was an experienced climber, said Bhrent Guy, a Department of Conservation Tongariro Operations manager.

Ruapehu District Mayor Don Cameron said it was a timely reminder to take extra care on the mountain.

"You need to be aware of just how dangerous it can be up in that area," he said.

Photos of the lake show it's surrounded mostly by volcanic rockfall in summer, and snow and ice in winter. It's described as a climb for the "fit, experienced and well-equipped".

Even on a beautiful spring day on the ground, conditions at 2672 metres can be a different story.

"Mt Ruapehu is a serious alpine environment. It has snow, ice and high winds all year round," said Mr Guy.

Local iwi have placed a rāhui on the summit, meaning it's off-limits until sunrise on Wednesday.

The death has been referred to the coroner.


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