Mountain safety

Whether emergency numbers, difficulty assessments or general hazard warnings. Here you will find all important information for your safety.

How do I behave on mountains?

Information on safety in the mountains

The Karwendel Höhenweg trail is a mountain trail with the difficulty level ‘black’. It leads through High-Alpine terrain and is secured with wire ropes and steel chains in certain sections. Mountaineers must have Alpine experience, sure-footedness and a good head for heights. In addition, they must also be in good physical condition and bring suitable equipment.
When proceeding at a normal walking pace, mountaineers’ minimum level of awareness must enable them to identify typical difficulties in the terrain (holes, recesses, roots, troughs, uneven sections, individual boulders, etc.) and avoid falls.

By their very nature, hiking trails primarily consist of unsecured and uneven surfaces. All mountaineers must bear this in mind. Observant mountaineers will normally be able to readily identify difficult passages, especially sections that pose an increased risk of falling, and overcome these hazards with appropriate caution, awareness and attentiveness.

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Check the weather forecast

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Pack sufficient provisions (especially water)

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Take regular breaks

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Bring the right equipment for the respective tour

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Plan according to your physical capabilities

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Stay on marked trails

Information on safety in the mountains

Primers from the Kuratorium for alpine safety

The Wander Fibel (hiking primer) by the Österreichisches Kuratorium für Alpine Sicherheit, an Austrian-based Alpine safety trust, provides a good overview of hiking-related issues. This primer addresses classic topics such as tour planning, technology and equipment, as well as aspects of hiking that relate to sports medicine. A perfect resource for at home or on the go. You can order the Wander Fibel here:

Wanderfibel

The Erste Hilfe Fibel (first aid primer) is both a reference work for home use and a helpful tool in the event of mountain emergencies. You can order the Erste Hilfe Fibel here:

 

Erste Hilfe Fibel

Information on safety in the mountains

Stage status reports & latest updates

With warnings regarding hazardous sections, updates on wintry weather and announcements of trail closures, our Facebook page contains all the latest information on the status of every stage along the Karwendel Höhenweg trail. Since the Facebook page is in german you can call the tourist agency for englisch information.

Information on safety in the mountains

Weather in the mountains

A situation that might seem peaceful and innocuous in good weather can very quickly turn hazardous if weather conditions suddenly deteriorate in the event of fog, storms, rain, hail and even snow. This sees the familiar and tranquil landscape suddenly disappear from view. In the mountains, such changes in the weather frequently take hold quickly and unexpectedly. Thunder and lighting are often particularly intense. Remaining present on summits, ridges, knolls or in the vicinity of climbing sections (rope holders, bolts, etc.) during such changes in the weather poses a danger to life. In an emergency, you must therefore leave these areas as quickly as possible. Even in summer, a cold snap can sometimes lead to heavy snowfall that obscures trails and markings – and makes it easy to lose your bearings.

The following links can help you keep an eye on the weather conditions during your hike. In addition, current weather information is posted at all mountain huts on a daily basis. If a bad weather front is approaching, it is advisable to spend an extra day in the safety of the refuge rather than hastily descending into the valley or even continuing the tour.

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Bergfex Logo

Information on safety in the mountains

Fields with old snow

Snowfields persist until long into the summer, particularly on the steep northern cirques in the Karwendel mountains. These fields with old snow are often icy and present a serious risk of falling for any mountaineers seeking to cross them. It is advisable to bring sticks and spikes (we commend Snowline Spikes) for use in such situations.

Information on safety in the mountains

Mountain emergencies

Rucksack first aid kit

In order for mountaineers to provide quick assistance and deal with smaller injuries themselves, no rucksack should be without a first aid kit. The following basic equipment is recommended:

 

  • Range of sticking plasters (large and small)
  • Elastic, self-adhesive gauze bandage
  • Tape (at least 2.5 cm thick)
  • Disposable gloves
  • 2x triangular bandages
  • 2x sterile first aid dressings
  • Sterile gauze compresses (10 x 10 cm)
  • 1x wound disinfection agent
  • Blister plasters
  • Painkillers
  • Small scissors
  • 2x rescue blankets

Emergency numbers

Notrufnummern

Caution: emergency calls can only be made with an active SIM card in certain cases!

After making an emergency call:

  • Keep your mobile phone switched on.
  • Do not make any other calls – ensure you are available to answer any further questions.

Download the Notfall app

In case of an acute emergency, you can use the free Notfall (‘emergency’) app to transmit your current location to the Tirol control centre at the push of a button (via GPS coordinates). This also establishes a telephone connection and alerts the necessary rescuers.

Alpine emergency signal

If you do not have a telephone connection and if you have no other means of alerting others, you can use the Alpine emergency signal. Whistles, yells and light signals are ideal ways of attracting attention.

Information on safety in the mountains

Difficulty levels

Medium difficulty mountain trails (red): narrow, often steep and may feature passages presenting a risk of falling. These trails may feature short secured walking sections.

High difficulty mountain trails (black): narrow, often steep and presenting a risk of falling. These trails feature frequent secured walking sections and/or easy climbing sections that require mountaineers to use their hands. Sure-footedness and a good head for heights are essential requirements.

 

(Quelle: Wegehandbuch Deutscher und Österreichischer Alpenverein, 2016)

More detailed information on route classification and the associated requirements for mountaineers can be found here: Mountain hiking on way-marked trails

Via ferrata difficulty rating

A: Slightly exposed areas with extended flat or very short vertical ladders, railings or sections secured by ropes.

B: Medium difficulty, steeper rocky slopes with pins, steel ropes or chains. Certain sections require significant arm strength.

C: Difficult, steep to very steep terrain with extended vertical passages and even short ladders with a slight overhang. Pins and rungs are attached at extended intervals, requiring a great deal of strength and endurance.

D: Largely vertical rock with little assistance provided. Often only a wire rope, pins and iron rungs at very extended intervals in certain cases.

Climbing difficulty levels (UIAA scale)

I: the simplest form of rock climbing. Mountaineers must use their hands to aid their balance. Beginners must be secured with a rope.

II: three-point contact is required in climbing as of this level (of the four points consisting of the hands and feet, three must be in firm contact with a surface).

 

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