An Australian man and two Germans are missing in bad weather on New Zealand’s Aoraki/Mt Cook.
The trio are overdue from an attempt on the summit of the country’s tallest peak and searchers fear the weather won’t clear until New Year’s Day to attempt an aerial search.
The Australian is Michael Bishop, believed to be about 40 years old, and police want to talk to anyone who knows him.
Police have not named the German pair while they contact next of kin.
Roped together, the trio left Plateau Hut at 1.30am on Monday to climb to the 3724m summit via the Linda Glacier route and were last seen on the glacier’s Teichelmann’s Corner at 4am on Monday.
An aircraft was sent up on Tuesday morning, but found no sign of them and was turned back by bad weather.
“Conditions were quite rough for flying, and the weather forecast is for deteriorating weather,” said Senior Constable Brent Swanson.
The guide who last saw them said Monday’s climbing conditions were reasonably good, but crevasses are an issue at the moment, with quite high freezing levels and unstable snow bridges.
“At this stage, we are making further inquiries as to the missing party’s intentions and plans, and closely tracking the weather,” Sen Const Swanson said.
“It doesn’t look like there will be a good clearance until New Year’s Day.”
A guided climbing group on the mountain is providing information on weather and visibility, and will report back on any sightings of the missing party.
In July, a 44-year-old Australian soldier was killed on Mt Cook after falling down a 30-40 metre crevasse during a winter exercise.
Earlier this month, experienced mountaineer Stuart Haslett, 28, died in a climbing accident on the mountain.