POLICE are warning people to stay within their limits on the North East’s Alpine tracks, as the search continues for two missing snowboarders on Mount Bogong.
It was the third time in a week police were called to the area after the snowboarders failed to return from their trip on Saturday.
The alarm was raised yesterday when a group of walkers stumbled upon their deserted campsite about 6am.
Leading Sen-Constable Chris Grimmett said the number of people who had got lost this season was “exceptional”.
“Having three separate, unrelated searches in the space of seven days is a considerable drain on resources,” he said.
Sen-Constable Grimmett said the conditions had been dangerous and recent heavy snow falls created the potential for avalanches.
In the days leading up to yesterday’s search, conditions were poor with sub-zero temperatures, consistent rain and low to moderate visibility.
The missing men are in their early 30s and from Melbourne, and are considered to be experienced back country snowboarders.
They signed the trip intention book at Camp Creek last Wednesday, documenting they were staying at Michell Hut before camping on Eskdale Spur and returning on Saturday.
Nothing has been heard from the men since they contacted their families on Thursday and sent them a photograph of their camp at Michell Hut.
Yesterday it appeared the campsite had been unoccupied since a snow fall about 5pm on Saturday.
Among those searching were three bush search and rescue members, two Mount Beauty police members, two ski patrol members and seven search and rescue members from Melbourne.
An air unit from Melbourne was also undertaking a search by helicopter.
“People need to use their judgment before making the ascent,” Sen-Constable Grimmett said.
“The area we are searching is very steep and if you make a wrong turn when there is low visibility you could have a nasty fall.”
Sen-Constable Grimmett said poor conditions made navigation difficult and people could end up on dangerous terrain.
“You should stay within the level of your equipment and expertise,” he said.
“Don’t attempt a climb or hike beyond your capabilities which puts you and emergency services at risk.”
Sen-Constable Grimmett said they were anxious to find the pair and would remain in sub-zero temperatures until the search was complete.
“It could be days,” he said.
“We are concerned but certainly not giving up hope.”
Police stopped searching at 5pm yesterday due to fading light and will re-start this morning.
Emergency services also spent Saturday night searching for a motorcyclist who ran out of fuel on Mount Stirling.
The man, 36, was found near Clear Hills Track just before 4am yesterday.