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For illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Pixabay

Wellington: A climber who plunged 600 metres (1,970 feet) down the side of one of New Zealand's most dangerous mountains was "exceptionally lucky" to survive after landing on snow, police said Monday.

The man was in a group of climbers approaching the snow-capped summit of Mount Taranaki on New Zealand's North Island when he lost his footing and slipped.

Senior constable Vaughan Smith said the unidentified climber had sustained minor injuries during his fall on Saturday afternoon.

"Thanks to recent spring weather, the ice had softened, and the snow caught the climber's fall. He is exceptionally lucky to be alive," Smith said in a statement.

"These are challenging areas and when things go wrong there are often serious consequences."

The climber slipped in the same area where two other mountaineers fell to their deaths in 2021. A French climber died after plummeting from the same peak in 2016.

Climbing Mount Taranaki demands "special skill and preparation" due to the risk of avalanche and the chilling sub-zero temperatures, according to New Zealand's conservation department.

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council describes Mount Taranaki as challenging for climbers all year round, warning of its reputation as one of the country's "deadliest mountains".