Magdalena Putz

Safe hiking – equipment instead of mountain rescue

Imagine the following: You plan your route, check the weather report, pack your things and enough to drink and then you start at sunrise.

After three hours of ascent in the midst of a wonderful mountain panorama... feel liberated and you know – it's not far to the summit. Once at the top, you have to breathe deeply, enjoy the view and have a snack before you descend back down into the valley. And then you see them – in sneakers and sandals they come out from between the pines, ready to earn the golden “hiking calf”. In your mind you can already hear the rotors of the rescue helicopters, see the headlamps of the mountain rescuers who have to risk their lives to get lost people off the mountain.

An exaggerated scenario?

Unfortunately not in my experience. As a motivated and experienced mountain hiker, I just can't understand that – although I'm used to rough terrain, mountain weather and strenuous climbs, I prepare for EVERY (!) Mountain tour (no matter how leisurely it is). On the way I look like I would climb Mount Everest, whereas people come across me on mountain tours lasting several hours who hardly have shoes on their feet. The benefits of drinking water and fitness are also skilfully overlooked, and to top it off – they often don't even know the right way! This is a serious danger that many people don’t realize.

If the mountain is underestimated, brave mountain rescuers have to go out at night in every weather condition to look for lost and exhausted people. They are risking their life to save the life of a person who has not prepared enough for a mountain hike. Often this would not even be necessary if everyone adhered to the few rules that apply on the mountain. I say it’s enough! Preparation is the key!

Magdalena Putz

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