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The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council welcomes news that the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track has reopened today in time for Labour Weekend. However outdoor enthusiasts heading to the region are strongly urged to plan and prepare for their adventure by following the 5 simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code.
Mountain Safety Council Alpine and Avalanche programme manager Andrew Hobman said that the five points covered in the Outdoor Safety code should be the starting point for any trip into the outdoors.
‘The Tongariro Crossing is commonly regarded as one of the best day tramps in the world, but remember, it is an alpine environment and proper planning is essential to enjoy it safely, said Mr Hobman.
‘Make sure you check the weather - spring weather is notoriously changeable and what starts out as a glorious day can quickly turn to custard in the blink of an eye.’
‘Winter conditions still exist with snow cover and avalanche conditions on many parts of the track. The Mountain Safety Council’s avalanche advisory for the Tongarario/Ngauruhoe area currently sits on 2. Moderate meaning heightened avalanche conditions exist on specific terrain features,’ added Mr Hobman.
The New Zealand Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take. Department of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Centres, i-SITEs and local operators are a good source of local information.
2. Tell someone
Tell someone your plans and complete written Outdoors Intentions BEFORE leaving on your trip. There are tools that make it easy on the www.adventuresmart.org.nz website. At the very least, tell a friend or family member where you are going and date and time to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned.
3. Be aware of the weather
New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. Check track and hut conditions. Beware of rivers – if in doubt STAY OUT.
4. Know your limits
Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Take a Mountain Safety Council course.
5. Take sufficient supplies
Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication such as a Mountain Radio or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and know how to use them.
The five simple rules provide guidance on how to prepare and act in the outdoors and are applicable to all outdoor activities from a short walk in the bush, a day adventure mountain biking or hunting to a multi-day mountain adventure.
‘This is a great time to get out there and enjoy our own back yard,’ said Mr Hobman, ‘but do take responsibility for your own safety and if in doubt, change your plans,’ he added.
More information on how to enjoy New Zealand’s great outdoors safely can be found on the Mountain Safety Council’s website www.mountainsafety.org.nz