From the via ferrata, the rescuers accompany the quartet to the glacier. © Grainau Mountain Rescue Service
The beautiful weather on the Whitsun weekend has attracted numerous excursionists. Not everyone had the wintry conditions at higher altitudes on their radar. The Grainau mountain rescuers had to get a group out of the Höllental via ferrata on Saturday. Almost at the same time, comrades, water rescue forces and the helicopter crew helped another woman at the Eibsee.
Grainau – They don't have a crystal ball, the Grainau mountain rescuers. But they didn't need to foresee that they would certainly be called to help on the Pentecost weekend. The Höllentalklamm has opened just in time for the start of the school holidays. In addition, there was the good weather. Consequently, head of operations Anton Vogg junior did not have to be a clairvoyant to make this prediction with his comrades. Four exhausted mountaineers in the Höllentalkvia via ferrata – according to the emergency call that reached them on Saturday around 13 p.m. The group had apparently underestimated the wintry conditions that still prevail on the way to the Zugspitze.
There is a lot of snow in the Höllental, Vogg confirms. "In addition, it is super wet and there are always small slides." In order to reach Germany's highest peak under these conditions, which the experienced mountain rescuer compares with conditions in April, special equipment is required. And about corresponding experience. This was apparently not the case with the group that got stuck on the crossing above the second entrance to the via ferrata. Ropes and ice axes – none. However, the wire ropes that help mountaineers in other conditions were still partially buried under the snow. "It's still the depths of winter up there," Vogg explains.
The emergency services have set up a rope railing to bring the four mountaineers across the snowfield. © Grainau Mountain Rescue Service
Weather threw a spanner in the works for the rescue operation for the time being
After other alpinists turned back a little above, the quartet became queasy and made an emergency call. With the ADAC rescue helicopter Christoph Murnau, Vogg and a comrade reached the said place relatively easily. Then, however, the weather threw a spanner in the works. The helicopter had to turn around and the rescuers, who had initially set up a rope railing and abseiling points, brought the four down to the glacier. "All the way below the cloud cover," says Vogg. There, at around 17 p.m., the helicopter crew picked up the soaked, visibly exhausted mountaineers and, in a second approach, their rescuers.
The deepest winter prevails in the Höllental. With the help of the helicopter, the rescuers bring the exhausted to the valley. © Grainau Mountain Rescue Service
In the meantime, two more mountain rescuers, emergency services from the Grainau water rescue service and the helicopter team at Eibsee were called upon. Around 14:45 p.m., an emergency call was received that a woman with circulatory problems could be found at the so-called Seespitze, about halfway along the circular route. After the concern was great that it was a heart attack, the emergency services used the helicopter. So the patient, who had already been taken care of by the volunteer rescuers and the emergency doctor on site, got to the hospital as quickly as possible.