12 Aug 2013

Talented climber dies in avalanche

10:10 pm on 12 August 2013

A national alpine group says a man who died in an avalanche was at the cutting edge of New Zealand mountaineering.

Jamie Vinton-Boot was caught in the four-metre-wide avalanche on The Remarkables near Queenstown about 8.30am on Monday.

The 30-year-old was climbing with another man in an area known as Queens Drive on the west face of the mountain range when the avalanche hit.

Emergency services and members of The Remarkables ski field staff found Mr Vinton-Boot dead at the scene. His companion was not injured.

Sergeant Steve Watt said the slope was very steep and the experienced rock climbing pair were swept off their feet. He said the rescue and recovery operation was extremely tough, given the nature of the area and its remoteness.

"Rescuers were dropped off by helicopter, but still had to tramp a reasonable distance into the pier in order to effect the rescue."

New Zealand Alpine Club general manager Sam Newton told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint on Monday programme that Mr Vinton-Boot was a gifted athlete who was at the cutting edge of climbing.

"He didn't travel overseas a great deal to pursue climbing. He had a real passion for the New Zealand mountains and believed there were a lot of great challenges and a lot of great expeditions and explorations, new ascents, first ascents that happen in New Zealand."

Mr Newton said Mr Vinton-Boot loved to mentor young climbers.