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Body recovered after Federation Peak fall
Monday, 9 April 2007.

A man has died while climbing Federation Peak in Tasmania's south-west.

He fell from the summit of the peak yesterday afternoon at about 2:30pm AEST. The jagged summit of Federation Peak can only be reached by a near-vertical climb.

His companion set off an emergency beacon and was found by police yesterday evening.

But the search for the dead man's body was considered too dangerous in the dark and was put off until first light this morning.

The body has been flown to Hobart in the police rescue helicopter.

The coroner is investigating the man's death. The victim's name has not yet been released.

From SMH :

Climber plunges to death from Tas peak

April 9, 2007 - 1:39PM

A climber has plunged to his death while attempting to scale Tasmania's Federation Peak, 90km west of Hobart.

Rescue workers were scrambled to the mountain after a fellow climber set off an EPIRB emergency positioning beacon at 2.30pm (AEST) on Sunday, Tasmania Police said.

A police helicopter located the dead man's friend four hours later but rescuers postponed trying in the dark to recover the body until Monday morning.

The victim's name has not been released and the coroner is now investigating the fall, police said.

Federation Peak, which soars 1,224 metres in the Arthur Range of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, is considered to be Tasmania's toughest climb, according to Tourism Tasmania.

I doubt very much if it was a climber - the bushwalking route to the top is amazingly exposed and requires scrambling up to grade 6 or 7 hundreds of metres above Lake Geeves.

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  1. Jon Nermut AUTHOR

    Trust the Mercury for sensitive headlines:,22884,21530832-5007221,00.html

    Danger peak death plunge

    April 10, 2007 12:00am

    A BUSHWALKER watched in horror as his rock-climbing mate fell to his death off a notorious peak in Tasmania's South-West.

    It is believed father-of-two Michael Skirka plunged to his death as he descended rugged Federation Peak at the weekend.

    The two men from Hobart's Eastern Shore had scaled the 1224m summit on Sunday and were making their way back down when disaster struck about 2.30pm.

    Mr Skirka's walking partner, aged in his early 30s, witnessed the accident and set off a personal distress beacon.

    The police helicopter lifted the survivor to safety about 6.30pm but was unable to retrieve the body of Mr Skirka, believed to be in his late 30s, because it was too dark.

    Police returned to the scene at first light yesterday and the body arrived in Hobart just before midday.

    Senior Constable Damian Bidgood of Tasmania Police Search and Rescue said the walker who witnessed the accident was distressed.

    "Obviously he's fairly shaken and upset over what's happened," Sen-Constable Bidgood said.

    He said it was likely the two experienced bushwalkers had set out from Farmhouse Creek about a day and a half before the accident.

    Sen-Constable Bidgood praised them for being well prepared with an EPIRB and described the area where the fall occurred as "fairly steep, rugged and exposed".

    Federation Peak is 90km west of Hobart in the World Heritage Area's Arthur Range and is considered Tasmania's toughest climb.

    Hobart aerial photographer Stuart Wells flew over Federation Peak about 2pm on Sunday and reported seeing two men – almost certainly Mr Skirka and his friend – at the summit before the accident.

    Mr Wells regularly photographs the rugged mountain and the keen bushwalker has also scaled the peak.

    "It's just awesome, it's a fantastic bit of Tasmania," he said.

    "When you've been to the top of Federation Peak you can understand how he managed to fall, it's difficult going up and even more difficult coming down, you really have to concentrate."

    A coroner is investigating the death.

  2. Jon Nermut AUTHOR

    The story I have heard (third hand) is that the fall happened while descending one of the technical bits of the climb, and that it way caused by the walker "freaking out".

    I wonder if national parks will do anything in response to this death. It would be a pity to see the difficulty of the route modified by chains or a via ferrata or similar, as it is one of the few mountains in Australia that is more than just a walk. I guess the easiest option for parks is to infest the place with warning signs.
    A better recognition by bushwalkers that the route up Federation is a serious undertaking might see more of them rope up.