Long john rescue


When Dave Sattler went for a weekend climb up his beloved maunga, Mt Taranaki, he never expected to he’d have to take part in a rescue involving underwear. 

The Farm Source Technical Sales Rep and his two mountaineering mates noticed a couple of black spots high up on an icey slope “I thought they were rocks at first because they weren’t moving,”, but as they came closer, they realised it was a tourist couple who’d got into trouble. Dave explains, “the female of the pair was pretty nervous and getting tired,” they’d been there for three and a half hours and unable to go on.

I thought they were rocks at first because they weren’t moving.

Dave Sattler, rescuer

Lindsay Maindonald always carries a spare pair of long johns

Dave and his two friends were concerned about the shadow that would soon descend over that part of the mountain, saying “she could’ve got hypothermia or exposure. It could’ve gone either way.” So, they helped get the pair down the mountain by tying a spare pair of long johns around the woman’s waist as a rope.

He says his friend, Lindsay Maindonald, “always carries spare clothing with him. He made her laugh by asking her what she thought about being tied up with a pair of men’s underwear.” Lindsay walked above the woman, holding onto the other end of the long john ‘rope’ to steady her and keep her from slipping and Dave walked beside her. The third mountaineer helped cut ice steps.

Video thanks to Stuff.co.nz

Long john rope helps tourists off icy mountain

It’s not the first time the 10-year Fonterra employee’s been involved in a rescue up Mt Taranaki, “I’ve helped in a couple of rescues. For a while there, I was part of Land Search and Rescue.”

Dave modestly says they’re not heroes, “any alpine people hopefully would’ve done the same.” He says, people climbing Mt Taranaki should never go unprepared and even after a lifetime of climbing it, he has “a healthy respect for the mountain.”

Dave Sattler Mountaineer

The undies trick worked, getting the pair down the mountain to safety and their efforts were recognised in the local paper and on TV One’s Seven Sharp programme.



Mt Taranaki

Dave was born and bred in Taranaki and says the mountain is the place he goes on weekends and on holidays “for time out.” He explains, “if I’ve had a stressful week at work, I find if I go up there and have a good look around, I feel better.

When I’m up high and looking down, it puts everything down below back into perspective.” He says it helps him with his work and recommends getting out into the wilderness to everyone, “a dose of the outdoors does people a lot of good. For mental health, it’s awesome.” And with his rescue, Dave’s proven the hobby can also be life-saving.