Mountaineer Goes Missing Again in the Same Place

Kiwi mountaineer Marni Sheppeard is missing in the mountains once again, 17 years after she disappeared in the same place.

Sheppeard was the subject of a major search in December 2003 when she and fellow tramper Sonja Rendell went missing for eight days in the Southern Alps.

Back then, the two women spent seven nights huddled together on a rocky mountainside, in a cavity no bigger than a coffin, before their rescue.

Rescuers were astounded at the pair’s good health, which they credited to Sheppeard’s mountaineering experience. The two survived rain, sleet, and snow in one of the country’s most rugged national parks.

Shepperd is said to be a “level-headed” person, despite her atypical lifestyle in recent years.

The 53-year-old has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and is trained in Alpine Operations. Once, while living in the resort town of Wanaka, she worked as part of a search-and-rescue team.

Recently, Sheppeard has been homeless and impoverished. After living on the streets of Auckland in 2019, she moved into one of the City Mission shelters to “continue her research”.

She was last seen in November 2020 and was thought to be heading into the Arthur’s Pass region, tramping again. She was reported missing in January. Police are concentrating their search around the same area where she was located in 2003.

The self-professed “Queen of the South” tweeted in November that she was “heading for the mountains”. Her tweet was short and to the point, surrounding philosophical quotes of a bizarre political nature.

Arthur’s Pass National park on New Zealand’s South Island.


Arthur’s Pass National Park is located on New Zealand’s rugged South Island. The area covers 1,185 km² and is a popular year-round hiking destination. Its warmest temperatures usually occur in January and February. Since 1998, there have been 272 rescues in the area.