A Canberra man has been named as one of two Australians killed in a horror climbing accident in New Zealand on Wednesday.
Brett Alexander Lentfer, 62, from Canberra, and James Harry Spaile, 44, fell hundreds of metres to their deaths after their ropes were cut during a climb near Queenstown.
The Canberra Times understands Mr Spaile was also from the region, based just over the border in Jerrabomberra, and both men were experienced climbers, active in the Canberra Climbers' Association.
They were attempting a challenging route across the top of the Remarkables mountain range, along with a guide, who was unharmed.
The trio was negotiating a stretch near the summit of the climb known as the Grand Traverse, near the Double Cone summit, when disaster struck about 11.45am local time.
One of the first rescuers on the scene told NZ news site stuff.co.nz it appeared the men fell after their ropes were cut on a sharp rock.
New Zealand police are treating the deaths as an accident and confirmed Mr Lentfer was from Canberra and Mr Spaile from NSW.
One body was recovered on Wednesday, with the second retrieved after a helicopter search early on Thursday morning.
Next of kin have been informed.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to the families of the two men.
Mr Lentfer was a prominent member of Canberra's building community, working on many projects in the area.
Chief executive of Master Builders Association ACT Michael Hopkins told The Canberra Times many in the capital were shocked by Mr Lentfer's death.
"Brett was a highly regarded leader in the local construction industry," Mr Hopkins said.
President of the Canberra Climbers' Association Zac Zaharias said Mr Lentfer had been an enthusiastic member of the group for many years, having learnt to climb about a decade ago.
"Brett was a lovely guy [and] a good climber," Mr Zaharias said.
"He'd just been on a big climb with the group in Victoria last week before he went over to New Zealand.
"James was a member too but I didn't know him myself. We're so saddened by this."
At 2307 metres, the Double Cone peak is higher than any mountain on the Australian mainland and has seen a number of rescues in recent years.
Chris Prudden, an experienced climber of Mountain Rescue, was the first person to view the scene after the alarm was raised. He said climbing conditions on the mountain were fine at the time but it was a tough endeavour.
"It's technical terrain. It's very steep on either side. The only way off it is to go across it," he said.
"It's a guide's worst nightmare when things become unstuck.
"It was pretty sad, pretty tragic... to see the end of that situation knowing full well that they'd fallen 300 metres - it's a hell of a long way in that steep terrain."
The company director of Aspiring Guides, which organised the climb, offered her condolences and said they would conduct an internal review.
"We are also working closely with the NZ Police and NZ Mountain Guides Association to aid their investigation," Vickie Sullivan told Newshub.
Both deaths will be referred to the coroner.
More to come