Mountain rescue service

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TOPR rescue helicopter
Rescue helicopter in the Alps
Mountain stretcher in training
Typical mountain stretcher used in the mountain rescue service
Mountain rescue in the Alps from the air. If a landing is not possible, a winch is used.

The mountain rescue service (also mountain rescue service ) is a specialized form of rescue service in the mountains, especially in Austria , Switzerland , Bavaria , South Tyrol and the German low mountain ranges .

Besides the purely medical emergency, he also has the task of using special equipment, vehicles to rescue people from acute mountain emergencies and training of the forces or to conceal . Since it is often not possible in the mountains to alert the mountain rescue service via an emergency call , there is an alpine emergency signal .

Mountain Rescue Types

  • The makeshift mountain rescue is carried out within the framework of self and companion help by the companions of the accident victim and / or other people who happen to be present using the equipment carried. Examples are the makeshift rope stretcher and the rope seat. In some areas, self-help boxes have also been set up containing stretchers and first aid materials.
  • The scheduled mountain rescue is precisely organized and carried out by trained personnel. Various rescue devices such as the static rope, the mountain stretcher , the Akia and the rescue helicopter are used.
Transporting a patient away (exercise)
Abseiling process for mountain rescue by rescue helicopter

Mountain rescue services

Mountain rescue services in the Alpine region
country Responsible organization (s)
GermanyGermany Germany Mountain Rescue
AustriaAustria Austria Austrian mountain rescue service
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland Alpine Rescue Switzerland (cooperation between SAC and Rega )
ItalyItaly Italy Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (CNSAS),
South Tyrol: Mountain rescue service in the Alpine Association South Tyrol , HELI - Air Rescue South Tyrol
FranceFrance France National gendarmerie (Peloton de gendarmerie de haute montagne),
Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité ,
fire brigade ,
Savoie : voluntary sociétés de secours en montagne
LiechtensteinLiechtenstein Liechtenstein Liechtenstein Mountain Rescue
SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia Slovenian Mountain Rescue Service (Gorska reševalna zveza Slovenije (GRZI))
SpainSpain Spain Mallorca : Fire Brigade (Bombers del Consell de Mallorca), State Police ( Guardia Civil -GREIM)
Mountain rescue services in the Carpathians and Sudetes
country Responsible organization (s)
PolandPoland Poland Górskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (GOPR)
PolandPoland Poland Tatrzańskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (TOPR)
SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia Horská záchranná služba (HZS)

In Germany 10% of the mountain rescuers are female, in Austria 1.9%.


Starting in the Middle Ages, many pilgrims were rescued from mountain distress or other emergency situations from hospices on Alpine passes (including the Grosser St. Bernhard and Arlberg ).

The first alpine mountain rescue service was the " Alpine Rescue Committee Vienna ", which was founded in 1896 as a reaction to an avalanche accident on the Rax with three fatalities. But the Hungarian Carpathian Association and Galician Tatra Society , founded in 1873, also dealt with mountain rescue in the High Tatras and founded their own section for mountain rescue in 1892 and 1909, the predecessors of today's Slovak and Polish mountain rescue services Horská záchranná služba and TOPR .

Important rescue equipment, especially mountain stretcher , Akia and steel rope device , were first developed by the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War .


The International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR), based in Switzerland, is a working group of national mountain rescue organizations.

The ICAR is divided into the four technical commissions:

  • Ground rescue
  • Air ambulance
  • Avalanche rescue
  • Alpine emergency medicine

See also

Web links

Commons : Mountain Rescue Service  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. horizon. A short excursion to the Alps-Danube-Adriatic region , Servus TV, January 6, 2012, 11 a.m .: Report about the German mountain rescue service.
  2. ^ Schall, Braun, Kapfenberger: SCHNEEBERG / RAXALPE , Verlag Kurt Schall, Vienna 1989. ISBN 3-900533-04-0 .
    Section Schneeberg and Rax - the day before yesterday and yesterday by Karl Lukan
  3. The History of Mountain Rescue in Slovakia , accessed on February 9, 2012.
  4. TOPR , accessed on December 12, 2017.
  5. Wintersteller barracks. Federal Ministry for National Defense, accessed on December 9, 2019 : “In 1941 a high mountain medical school was set up. There, the research staff developed the steel cable device, the mountain stretcher and the Akja in 1944. "
  6. ^ Walter von Schmidt-Wellenburg: History of the Alpine Club 1929-1967. Bound as a manuscript. Oesterreichischer Alpenverein (archive), accessed on December 9, 2019 : “... Demonstration and testing of the Heeres Mountain Medical School in World War II, later by the OeAV and the Bavarian. Mountain rescue, modern equipment developed to a high degree ... "
  7. ^ ICAR International Commission for Alpine Rescue. ICAR Office, accessed on August 11, 2016 .