A pair of alpine guides who died in an avalanche on Mt Hicks yesterday have been remembered for their warmth and experience.
Wolfgang Maier, 58, and Martin Hess, who recently turned 50, died after being buried in a slab avalanche near Mt Cook. Their client and friend, Jo Morgan, the wife of politician Gareth Morgan, was the only survivor.
Today, tributes have flooded in for the German nationals who made New Zealand home.
Jason Watson, a friend of the pair and former guide, described them as 'larger than life.'
"They had a great sense of humour but at the same time, super professional with their clients," Mr Watson said.
"They were quite inseparable at times and quite the comedy act as well. People are just staggered - speechless, really - especially to lose two such great people in one incident. It's almost too much to bear."
The pair bonded over their shared origin, coming from the same area of Germany. They worked together for around six years with Alpine Recreation in Tekapo. Owner Anne Braun-Elwert said the men were extremely experienced and very well-respected.
"They were two fantastic guides. They were well-loved not only by the guiding fraternity, but by many, many clients," Ms Braun-Elwert said.
"They did it for the passion; you don't find rich guides."
Plans are being made to farewell the pair later this week.