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Relief as lost Mt Aspiring climber to make it home

The Australian climber started his trek nearly a week ago

Rescue authorities said they plucked 29-year-old Terry Harch from Mount Aspiring on the South Island in what they described as a "snatch and grab" mission involving three helicopters.

Senior search and rescue officer Geoff Lunt said the plan today was to send in the Southern Lakes and Aspiring helicopters as soon as the weather allowed it and remove the five men from Quarterdeck Pass. "The helicopter crews, Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team and Police all deserve the highest praise for the work they've done over the past two days - and particularly tonight".

The weather conditions are promising for the rescue later today.

There were 10km/h south-east winds in the morning, which were expected to rise to 30km/h by noon. Snow was at 1200m and the party was now about 2300m up Mt Aspiring.

An Aussie man has been criticised for going on a solo trek in treacherous conditions as rescue teams plan to bring him down a New Zealand mountain after spending almost a week battling sub-zero temperatures and powerful winds.

Conditions were too poor to attempt to winch the climber off the mountain, so they dropped four Wanaka Alpine Rescue crew members who skied across the mountain to where his beacon was last located.

"They have set up a tent and they have food, clothes and equipment for him".

A climber trapped for seven days in freezing conditions on a New Zealand mountain has been found in the nick of time, with rescuers saying he was unlikely to have survived another night alone.

The climber's beacon was seen to move a short distance to the northeast about 2.30pm yesterday, and rescuers said it was "a good sign".

"The pilots did an unbelievable job to fly in and out, despite the low cloud tonight".

RCCNZ rescue member Jeff Lunt told Radio New Zealand that he believed the man's army survival training saved his life.

The temperature at 1800m was between -2 degrees Celsius and 0C.

From his experience, Mr Thurlow said it was not a good time of year to be climbing the mountain.

Erik Monasterio, a forensic psychiatrist and mountaineer, earlier said rapidly changing weather patterns made New Zealand's national parks more unpredictable than those in Europe, the United States and Latin America.