An experienced climber who died on Aoraki Mt Cook on Saturday fell after a piece of rock gave way, it has been revealed.
Stuart Haslett died after falling about 200 metres while attempting to reach the summit of the country's tallest mountain.
The 28-year-old was with a climbing group on the northern side of the mountain's east ridge when he fell.
Mr Haslett was a member of the Aoraki Alpine Rescue Team that tried to recover his body on the day but was prevented by bad weather.
Twizel's senior constable Les Andrew, who co-ordinated the recovery of Mr Haslett's body, said even small mistakes on Aoraki Mt Cook can be fatal.
He said Mr Haslett fell at a point where each of his party had removed the ropes connecting them and were solo climbing.
He said the mood among the rescue team members was sombre and Mr Haslett's long time partner, who also worked at Mt Cook Village, was devastated.
A spokesperson from the Aoraki Alpine Rescue Team said Mr Haslett was a much loved member of the group.