Home NEWS Dramatic Tales from Austria and Slovenia: Alpine and Cave Rescues

Dramatic Tales from Austria and Slovenia: Alpine and Cave Rescues

by thesummiters.com
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Around seven days ago a cruel 15 hour rescue mission unfolded on the towering Grossglockner, a 3800 meter high mountain in the Austrian Alps. The operation aimed to save three individuals two 40 year old brothers and their 57 year old guide who had undertaken the challenging ascent despite unfavorable weather conditions.

On January 5 the trio embarked on their climb after a long journey from the Czech Republic. Undeterred by snow low temperatures strong winds and an adverse weather forecast they set out equipped with ski touring and climbing gear at 6 am. However at an altitude of 3500 meters they found themselves unable to ascend further or descend due to worsening weather conditions. Around 11 pm that night realizing the severity of their situation they made a distress call for rescue.

Given the prohibitive weather, a helicopter couldn’t be deployed. Consequently, a team of 13 rescuers and a local police mountain guide initiated a grueling overnight climb towards the stranded mountaineers. By 5 am the following morning, the rescue team reached a mountain hut and subsequently proceeded towards the south face of Grossglockner, ultimately locating the trio.

The intricate rescue operation incurred costs amounting to around 20,000 euros. Authorities are now investigating whether the three men will be held responsible for covering these expenses.

In southwestern Slovenia, another dramatic rescue unfolded earlier in the week, this time within the renowned Krizna Jama cave. The incident involved five tourists who became trapped as a result of sudden flooding, triggered by heavy rains in the area.

On January 6, a Slovenian family of three, accompanied by two guides, embarked on a cave tour. Unexpectedly, rising water levels due to intense rainfall trapped the group. After several hours passed without their reappearance, a rescue operation, including cave divers, was initiated.

The group found themselves stranded more than two kilometers into the eight-kilometer-long cave system. Taking refuge on a small ledge, ten meters above the water level, they awaited rescue. The initial attempts on the first day to evacuate them were unsuccessful, prompting rescuers to provide essential supplies such as food and blankets to sustain them until the water receded.

Read also: Two Tragic Incidents on Aconcagua

After two days, the entire group was successfully extricated from the cave. This incident marked the first of its kind in the popular Krizna Jama cave, situated in Slovenia’s Loz Valley. Known for its unique features, the cave boasts over 20 underground lakes navigable by boat and is home to more than 60 distinct animal species.

Krizna Jama cave. Photo: Tripadvisor
Krizna Jama cave. Photo: Tripadvisor

Among its remarkable discoveries is the skeleton of a cave bear, initially identified by Aleksander Skofiz in 1847, with excavation efforts led by Ferdinand von Hochstetter starting in 1878. The remains represent one of the most abundant finds of its kind in Europe. Adding to the allure, archaeological remnants dating back up to five thousand years enhance the cave’s appeal, drawing daily guided visits from intrigued tourists.

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