Comment: the matter with the mountain rescue service and unreasonableness

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    Comment: the matter with the mountain rescue service and unreasonableness

    First of all: the mountain rescue service exists for one single reason - so that it can provide help in the mountains! So that they can be called to help people in a (mountain) emergency. Why one has to record such simple statements right at the beginning of an opinion article is in itself worth considering, and in the course of the article we are reminded that even such basic statements seem to get lost in the conglomerate of opinions.

    In the social media I follow the mountain guards of the surrounding area. After special missions they post short descriptions of the respective mission and add some photos. One could - if one wanted - learn something through these contributions, about the route, the weather conditions, and in general about the dangers that can occur even on seemingly "simple" mountains when a few things come together unhappily - the proverbial "chain of unfortunate circumstances".

    (un)social media

    But lo and behold, those, let's say as it is: malicious and inhuman comments drip in like slimy, disgusting stuff. In unison, it is demanded that those who are safe should please pay for the mission themselves. This seems to be the most important thing for many: the money. By remote diagnosis, in retrospect, it is neatly listed what the rescued have probably done wrong. From the weather to footwear, one knows the usual sayings yes.

    Here are some selected quotes from the comments of the last two posts of Bergwacht Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Facebook (regarding Kramer, 14.6 and Jubi-ridge, 11.6.) to clarify what's going on:

    I can not understand that people are always in such a precarious position and thereby bring the lives of their saviors in danger!
    Of course, I do not know the exact circumstances. But I find it generally a bit strange, in normal weather conditions and a normal hike on the summit at 20 o'clock to determine that you can not descend independently ... when the two have since started running? And why are not they reversed earlier? They would be partly or so descended in the dark, something could have been found earlier.
    Can not people just leave the mountains alone? Then the mountain rescuers would have less work.
    Some do not get it ... Did we ever have walking sandals on our feet?
    Embarrassing action !!!! Dear DAV, please let such people pay for themselves. This can actually cause some to think.
    Pay for use plus fuel bill for the rescue helicopter

    Respect for all mountain rescuers such, excuse me in advance, fooling around again and again using their own lives and without getting sentenced from the mountain. Such stakes should not be free. Maybe some will learn from it. That already has taxi quality. I can not get on with my own stupidity, well, and I call the mountain rescue quickly. So what makes me really angry.
    I hope they have to pay, in the old days you have to spend the night and go down the next day
    Thank you!!! And I find it disrespectful how many people overestimate themselves.
    run with gps but do not get it to the heli or the ground-based rescue to pass their own coordinates. but want to be in the high mountains traveling under impossible conditions. best still in jeans and chucks. Oh man.
    I wonder why many people continuously overestimate themselves. It starts with the condition and continues with the unsuitable footwear to the equipment.

    Unsocial on the mountains

    Yes we have a "run" to the mountains, and hiking, climbing, mountain sports in general is fashionable. The mountains are calling ... and that&#039;s good! Surely people are also on tours on the road, which gives them trouble and which they are subjectively or even objectively (who judges that?) May not be equal. But how should people grow, if not in their tasks? Not very blatantly dripped from many a comment reflexively an alpine elitism, which brings me to strangle. </p>

    Especially in the environment of the DAV, which struggles historically and almost bipolarly for its own relationship to pluralism and elitism, I come across it. In climbing gyms, in mountain huts, everywhere sticky conjectures or slippery remarks come up again and again. "We, the true mountaineers and ... the others" is certainly not a trademark of mountain sports - or is it?

    Of course, it is difficult to live an elitist sport, such as mountaineering, cosmopolitan and pluralistic in and of itself. But in the 21st century, I just expect more, obviously unfounded and certainly I expect too much there.

    The Alpine clubs, specifically the DAV

    Yes, maybe there is a "full-circle mentality", as the DAV mauls. But is not it also the DAV itself, which stirs the drum of alpine activity vigorously, which stimulates the development of mountain huts in order to meet consumer wishes as quickly and smoothly as possible? Hot shower and cold beer instead of stew and water on the mountain? Or does the DAV now want to abolish the insurance, which apparently promotes a certain unwanted behavior?

    In one Contribution of 2017 In any case, Bernhard Kühnhauser of the DAV notes that, although the number of fatalities is steadily declining, the rescue due to obstruction and excessive demands is increasing. And, of course, does not seek the reason for that first in its own circle, but generally among the victims (respectively the rescued): "serious misjudgments of their own ability and the underestimation of alpine dangers", the "invitation character" of via ferrata and insured climbs or the anniversary rattle - and of course in the self-portrayal in the social media and the lack of touring descriptions of bloggers.

    A little later, the author notes laconically that although it is stated in the statutes of the DAV that "the DAV has made it easier to travel the Alps", access may now have become "too easy for many" and therefore wants to immediately " mental barriers ". In addition to a few more such ideas, he then comes up with the idea of wanting to "reduce full-scale mentality". Thus, the DAV imagines that there are people on the road, who should think in his opinion: "the Alpine Club pays yes, if and (sic) get the mountain rescue" - and considers promptly, a "Deductible for salvage due to blocking and excessive demand" such as "full reimbursement of costs in case of gross negligence"Introduce.

    Also in official press releases to the Bergunfallstatistuk from eg 25.7.2012 one reads about this "full Casomentality" of the DAV members. Here, in fact, something is being considered Ambiguity picked upthat every recovery of uninjured mountain athletes is indeed enjoyable, as well as worse consequences can be prevented - on the other hand, the "sinking threshold to drop an emergency call" complained.

    The year before, on March 22, 2011, the DAV responded indignantly to the criticism of Mountain Guards from Mittelwald (who has perhaps brought the word of the all-cascading mind into the mountain sports language game): "Nobody will take a higher risk just because he has insurance" and states that the retrograde nature of AV member accidents "is clear proof that the risk awareness and the level of education of our members has increased. "So there is no reason to change the previous payment mode.

    Of course, the press immediately makes headlines from anecdotes: Emergency calls without emergencies everywhere and constantly, these irresponsible mountaineers bring themselves and the rescuers without danger in greatest danger.

    Yes, mountain rescue is a dangerous undertaking, also carried out by highly trained volunteers, and yet I dare say that rescuers face fewer threats when recovering a "non-emergency" than in "real" emergencies.

    The argument that the rescuers for other, possibly more tragic emergencies are blocked for the recovery of simple blockages and exhaustions, of course, applies fully. However, this is a distribution problem that all emergency and rescue services need to accomplish and do well. This is one of the foundations of the rescue system, and many methods have evolved over time to adequately and professionally address this issue.

    Last but not least, the comment (actually a question) is appropriate: the DAV brings with his expedition cadres Consciously regularly people in objective dangers. This raises the question: what are objective dangers, what is risk, which risk is acceptable - and closely interwoven with the question of risk: what is safety? Perhaps I discuss the subject of risk and uncertainty in another article, until then it is up to the reader himself to think about it.

    The mountain guards

    If we ask the Bergwacht Bayern itself on the subject of "risk", is a very different, enlightened, optimistic and much more philanthropic picture:

    "The Bergwacht Bayern believes that it is normal and correct to be curious, daring and exploring in order to acquire the skills that our society needs to survive. Acquiring these skills threatens dangers and risks of injury. It is part of our mission to back up and support the performing human being in his adventures, which are often training sessions for the important tasks of life. "

    positions"Mountain rescue Bavaria

    In any case, the Bergwacht Bayern is happy about financial support and offers worldwide all-round support in an emergency:

    What are the benefits of funding?

    (...) In addition, you and your dependents are insured and will be brought back abroad in the event of an accident or illness as part of the DRK-AIR SERVICE. In case of emergency, a modern ambulance aircraft with an intensive care unit is available, depending on the medical emergency. Two pilots, an emergency ambulance and other medical personnel form a team that relocates and cares for you in a German hospital. So you do not have to worry about anything.
    You can deduct the contribution as a donation fully from the tax.

    From: Homepage Mountain Guard Bavaria / Mountain Guard GAP

    Discussion and food for thought

    At this point of the now somewhat tattered train of thought, I would like to summarize three discussion and food for thought:

    1. Behind a deductible or the complete assumption of costs hides the idea of the punishment of the victims as well as the fundamental and anticipatory questioning of the victim status. At the same time people are preferred who have the financial resources. The image of rich snuffles, who frolic in the mountains and simply fly out when they can not get any further, is still hardening. Those who are not well-endowed financially do not go on vacation and in the mountains. How often do you meet marginalized people in the mountains or in the huts, and those with little money? Exactly so you can cement existing conditions and get the wealthy desire clientele in the mountains. Do you want that?
    2. If the DAV actually drives a campaign for more self-reliant behavior in the mountains and "teaches people" not to resort to emergency calls as quickly, they inevitably risk having people in distress doing just that: consider whether they are the costs of an operation have grown at all. The numbers in the mountain accident statistics will then certainly tilt, and there are again fewer blockages and excessive demands listed - but certainly more deaths again. Because people are afraid to get help.

      But this is in stark contrast to the actual task of mountain rescue: to save people in distress.

      How one can seriously consider, to incorporate an inhibition threshold for calls for help artificially in the existing system, I am completely mistaken and also contradicts the view of the emergency services. They are always of the opinion that you should call for help as early as possible, and not only if you are overcooled, unable to move and with broken legs more dead than alive during thunderstorms in inaccessible terrain. Only by a timely cry for help also an overstretched or blocked mountain climber can namely be prevented, that he tries to save somehow for fear of high costs still somehow and thus ever deeper in the shit rides - possibly up to the deadly crash. Because the easier it is to salvage the mountain rescue service, the safer it is for the mountain rescuers.
    3. Last but not least: who decides what is the often-expressed, admonished, found fault and negligence? The mountain rescuers on site, the DAV in the committee, the judiciary, or perhaps the "common sense" of the person who writes the bill?

      Will then also be necessary for simple mountain hiking tours "conditionally resistant mountain boots" duty, so that in case of a case not because of "poor equipment" must take over the rescue operation? Does not a mandatory shoe sole profile depth measurement then make sense? Is it then over with this trail running and the totally underequipped sneakers on the mountain, which bring themselves and others completely dangerously in danger?

      Can we then finally let the mountain sports be complete and even better forbid it, because this fulfills actually no concrete social purpose, except perhaps the decadent Bespaßung the mountain sports themselves?

    Is this discussion about mountain sports, risk and irrationality perhaps even an expression of a very special situation of society? Robert Pfaller, cultural scientist from Vienna, diagnosed the society already in 2008 Dirty sacred and pure reason: symptoms of contemporary culture a serious problem with unreasonableness, which is so completely uneconomical, a luxury that one is ashamed to last today.

    In order to finally include something conciliatory in the discussion, I conclude my comment ... with completely unreasonable music!


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    1. How true how true! I think every one of us has been put in jeopardy by a stupid mistake and hopefully learned something from it. Luckily, I never had to call the Mountain Guards, and I'd probably be one of those who would do it too late. Nobody can be saved recklessly. Hähme is completely inappropriate.

    2. Super commentary, which brings exactly the objectivity in the discussion, which has long been lost here.

    3. Dear Sven,
      Thank you for the article and the open words, which for the most part I fully share! But I believe that, as so often in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

      Surely the mountain rescue is there just to rescue accident victims or otherwise on the way forward / carry on prevented. However, I have already been able to experience this already cited full-cascade mentality one or the other time. As climbers say so casually in the conversation, that if the tour had not worked out, they would have fortunately been able to call the rescue, because after all, they are in the DAV and thus assured.
      People who go on a snowshoe tour in the snowstorm, can be saved and afterwards sued the mountain rescue because of supposedly disproportionate effort and thus of course, hikers who seriously think to start with 17 (!) Kg of luggage to an Alpine crossing and completely exhausted in a six-hour need to be rescued. Such things do not have to be, you do not have to be a professional to get a little bit involved with the subject matter, to get involved in a tour and to see what, when and how, and what not.

      But of course it is at least difficult or even impossible to assess the individual circumstances in retrospect, especially from outsiders and especially in the "social network".

      But in the end, whether it's because of your own fault, because you're scared or actually in danger of being innocently or unexpectedly endangered, it's good and right that the mountain guards exist. What these helpers in the mountains, whether voluntary, or highly professional and full-time, can not be compensated in money, even if I'm glad that I have not used the help yet.

      I just hope that just where it's so easy to fall in love with a tour through tour portals, blogs like us, Instagram influencers, etc., people with a healthy level of mindset, plan, and weigh up the matter in case of doubt help, z. B. take a mountain guide to complete, if they are a match alone not yet grown, but they really want to make timely.

      • Hi Dennis,

        thank you for your detailed comment!

        Sure, there are, as everywhere, "black sheep". But I am sure that the majority of people are reasonable and that tours, despite the abundance of information, are well prepared and planned.

        With the idea to ask the few who understand the mountain rescue as a "service" to checkout, I'm even theoretically with. However, I have reservations about who decides what "reckless" is, what criteria should then be applied. Checklist of carried equipment?

        Two strange things happened to me two years ago. I was out in the midsummer with Luna sandals near the shady Kuhflucht waterfalls. Cool, shady, wonderful! Since I'm 30 ° degrees but smooth by a "mountain walker" with crimson head, completely wrapped in black softshell, completely indignant dominated. Because I'm short / short and then also "flip-flops" carrying in the mountains on the way. On the descent, I overtook him galloping again, when he was down 30 minutes later, I just came from the cool bath from the river, was already dry again and got ready for the way back to the car.

        What I want to clarify with the story: for him, who carried a bulging 40L Deuter backpack for a day tour on the Fricken, I was of course completely underequipped with my sandals and the water bottle. For me, who knows the area and the weather forecast and was not two hours down from the car on the road, that was completely sufficient, even in the worst-case scenario of a weather change.
        So, who decides? Always safety first? No more lunas on T1 trails?

        The mountain guards and especially the DAV will have to find a solution. Currently I have received from a mountain guardian only a private comment with the request for non-publication received. From this I also read out that a solution must be found.

        With my contribution, I want to stimulate the discussion and point out some aspects that also play a role in the discussion, but may be forgotten or neglected. Aspects of the "Disneyland" and the commercialization of the mountains as well-protected adventure playground play in my opinion not insignificant.

        In any case, I will keep posting a comment every now and then and contributing to the discussion.

        Best regards, Sven

    4. I know many mountain guards who know that everyone can make a mistake. Even for us "old hands" it can happen that we misjudge a situation or react too late. All Mountain Guards I know understand that. Also for trying something new and testing your own limits. And every mountain rescuer prefers to bring a person who is not or slightly injured as a dead man from the mountain. Fortunately, it rarely happens that people want to put themselves and the rescuers in danger. There is the all-inclusive mentality, but much more common is the ignorance of alpine dangers. I live in the mountain area and I am astonished that non-mountain dwellers are often astonished, how fast a thunderstorm can rise and a mountain brook can swell dangerously, how fast there can be a temperature drop and even in July you still have to expect snow fields and snow-filled channels - which this year has led to accidents several times. It helps only education, but please not from good-knowing with raised index finger. In the Allgäu, for example, there is the long-established "Avalanche Day", during which mountain guides and mountain guards inform about theory and practice about avalanche danger and comrade rescue. The information day, which is supported by a mountain railway, is being used well by young winter athletes. In Oberstdorf there's the tourist information an alpine advice center, where every tourist and mountaineer tips and information on the mountain weather, condition and difficulty of mountain trails, etc. can get. A good approach, but unfortunately rare in the alpine resorts. DAV and mountain schools reach only the already interested people who are willing to spend money. And as far as the costs of a rescue are concerned: in the case of injured persons, the health insurance pays, but for non-injured persons, missing persons and others. Ä. The costs usually hang on the rescue organization. And with complex actions such as helicopter use, the costs are high. The mountain women and men work honorary (!) And sacrifice a lot of free time for training, exercises and on-call service and often do not even hear a "thank you". So who should bear the costs, those affected (without blaming, but as the cause), a compulsory insurance for those who move in the mountains, a rescue cent to the resort fee or ...?

      • Hey Anna Marie,

        I am with you, as far as the information is concerned! That has to happen on my own responsibility, and I think that will happen. In our world, which is controlled by Attention Economy, it is not reported: & #8220; adequately equipped couple experienced well prepared a beautiful mountain day & #8221; & #8211; but always the outliers.

        Just the thing with the & #8220; love money & #8221; & #8230; we are one of the richest countries in the world and there is no money for rescue operations? Social priorities are simply wrong. Still we are by Basic Law a & #8220; social market economy & #8221; with solidary safety net & #8211; just exactly synonymous for & #8220; self-inflicted & #8221; Misfortune is there. Everything else sounds too much to me after the & #8220; 90-year ownership & #8221 ;, which translates only means: number & #8217; s itself!

        Best regards,


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