The Poles, aged 34 and 39, already climbed down in the dark on Sunday and spent the night outdoors. When the volunteer mountain rescuers arrived around 10 a.m., the two men were exhausted but unharmed. They were taken to the valley in adverse weather conditions, as informed by the Salzburg mountain rescue service.
The two Poles climbed the “Mordor” ice climbing fall in the ice arena in the Valle approach on Sunday. At 315 meters high, it is one of the longest icefalls in Austria. “They said that it was getting dark yesterday and they couldn’t see the descent in the steep, rocky and icy terrain,” said Roland Pfund, the Bad Gastein mountain rescue team’s local and head of operations.
Heavy snowfall at night
The well-equipped and fit men spent the night in the so-called Höhkar in the Goldberg group. “During the night, however, it snowed heavily there and the two ice climbers didn’t find any tracks for a safe descent in the morning either. That’s why they alerted us,” explained Pfund. Eight mountain rescuers climbed to the poles in the fog and in snowstorms. “The conditions were adverse. The snow was waist-deep there in the extremely steep ice and rock terrain.”
The Poles were able to descend themselves, but were secured with ropes over a length of 200 meters and accompanied by mountain rescuers so that they could not fall. The operation lasted around six hours.
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