Mountaineering and trekking as a means of recreation have become very popular, so the low and high mountain range see more and more visitors each year. However, this also brings accidents requiring hard and demanding rescues. In order to reduce the accidents to the minimum, the police officers of the Special Police Unit - Mountain Unit (SPU - MU) have carried out their annual preventive activities in the mountains.

On Saturday, 12 July 2008, they advised the visitors to the mountains in the area of Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Julian Alps, Raduha and Peca; precisely, on the following mountain trails and paths:

  • Gozd Martuljek - Rutarški vršič - Beli potok - Gozd Martuljek
  • Vršič - Mojstrovka - Vršič
  • Kamniška Bistrica - Kamniško sedlo - Kamniška Bistrica
  • Mangartsko sedlo - Mangart - Mangartsko sedlo
  • Peca
  • Podvolovljek - Molička peč - Ojstrica - Podvolovljek

Robert Kralj, Assistant commander of the SPE at the General Police Administration for the mountain unit, presented at today's press conference both the findings from the Saturday preventive action as well as this year's experience in the treatment of mountain accidents.

NK julij2008 Kralj KederRobert Kralj and Leon Keder, public relations officer of the Police for the field of crime


Findings of police officers from the latest action:

  • 80 mountaineers climbed Mangart regardless of a bad weather forecast (rain), four of them in inappropriate footwear.
  • Weather was more stable in the Peca area. About 70 mountaineers climbed to the top, seven of them wearing inappropriate footwear. A violation of the Protection of Animals Act was observed, too, for a dog owner did not keep his dog on a lead in a public place.
  • The area of Kamniško sedlo with Planjava mountain saw less visitors on that day; police officers warned five mountaineers about inappropriate equipment.
  • In the area of Ojstrica the police officers established that paths were well-marked and exposed parts well-protected. Mountaineers were mostly well-equipped, except three wearing sport shoes on an exposed crest and two without protective helmets.
  • In the area of Triglav the police officers spotted three trekkers in low shoes and advised two such persons attempting to climb Triglav to refrain from it. Furthermore, they warned the mountaineers about the closed mountain path leading from Vodnikov dom hut under Tošc to Rudno polje in Pokljuka.
  • In the area of Rutarški vršič and Martuljek waterfalls, several tourists coming to see the waterfall in summer footwear, such as sandals and flip-flops, were warned. Not only such footwear has no appropriate soles but provides no foot support. That day the area of Martuljek waterfalls saw a fatal accident due to inappropriate footwear.

NK julij2008 KraljRobert Kralj


The aim of the activity is to raise people's awareness on the dangers in mountains and to provide advice for safe movement and spending free time in the mountains. The wish of the police is especially to warn trekkers, mountaineers and other visitors about appropriate footwear and clothes, and about the extreme importance of signing the book of mountain visitors and checking the weather forecast (heat storms).

The next major police preventive action in the mountains is scheduled for 23 August.

Helikopter

Preventive advice should not be superfluous to anybody, for we are all vulnerable for the mistakes which may cost us our lives in the mountains. The fact is that we live in the times of rush, which applies to mountaineering too, and take too little time to prepare ourselves for safe mountaineering. Unfortunately, mountaineering is not tackled with the necessary precision and consideration. We must know that there is no such thing as cruel mountains, but there are more or less dangerous mountains which will quickly surprise especially those not sufficiently prepared to encounter them.

Mountaineering does not know the concept of absolute safety; however, the observance of the most important mountaineering rules may considerably reduce the accident risks.

Plezalec

In monitoring mountain accidents and finding the reasons of their occurrence the officers of the police mountain unit establish that many visitors to the mountains do not have a proper regard for their own safety, which reflects especially in the lack of necessary knowledge and the wish to obtain it in the first place. Some mountaineers also lack the critical attitude towards their own knowledge and capacities to reach the mountain aim and safely return to the base.

We furthermore establish that the average personal and technical level of equipment of mountaineers is increasing, which means that mountaineers bought the necessary equipment, collected data on their aim, but forgot about the appropriate skills and physical and mental preparations. In other words: many reasons for the accidents lie in the fact that trekkers underestimated the selected aim or overestimated themselves.

Some examples of inappropriate equipment:

Celade Vrtoglavica

Neprimerno PadajoceKamenje

Last year, the most common causes of the total of 348 mountain accidents were still falling (133), sliding (91) and ignorance of the ground (69). 2007 was marked by an infamous record, for as many as 43 people lost their lives in Slovenian mountains.

This year, until mid-July, Slovenian mountains saw 108 interventions: 99 rescues and 9 searches for missing persons. 36 people were severely injured and 11 lost their lives. Rescues involved a helicopter in 46 cases.

By advice and warnings, the Police tries to reduce the number of accidents and mitigate their consequences.

PonesrecenecOn the basis of all these statistical indicators and other findings, police officers on mountain paths annually warn mountain visitors about dangers, advise them how to act when encountering problems, or what they should know before start, and provide additional advice for safe movement and stay in the mountains.

Of course, officers of the mountain police unit pay close attention also to violations from the field of environment protection (prohibited driving of vehicles in natural environment, illegal camping...), Triglav National Park Act, and, in mountain huts, to the situation regarding public policy (Act Restricting the Use of Alcohol, Residence Registration Act...).

The findings from the Saturday action do not differ much from the general findings listed above.

Our expert knowledge, will and analytical approach will continue in the future, for we are sure that these forms of police work can prevent many an accident or at least mitigate its consequences. The health and life of the target group are invaluable, so preventive work is but one of the possibilities to demonstrate our mission to citizens in the field of safety.

At the same time we inform the general public that the organised standby of the rescue team for helicopter rescue in the mountains is already under way (on Saturdays and Sunday in June, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in July, August and September, as well as on Thursdays in August). The standby team includes the police officers of the mountain unit present in the air police unit also on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays due to the increased number of mountain accidents.

Resevanje