Ljubljana – Slovenian mountain rescue units have already responded to 41 incidents in the mountains this month in which nine people lost their lives, which they say is cause for concern as these numbers are much higher than they should be in such a short period of time.
Speaking at Monday’s virtual press conference, the head of the Mountain Rescue Association Toni Smolej said that despite challenging conditions in the mountains, they have recently been recording unusually high numbers of hikers for this time of year.
The Mountain Rescue Association also issued a warning that conditions in the mountains are currently extremely demanding and require a great deal of knowledge.
“Particular attention should be paid to icy slopes, which are extremely dangerous at the moment,” said Smolej, who also warned people to be careful and prepare well before going hiking, instead of choosing paths based on nice photos or social media posts.
Even at lower altitudes there are many accidents as hikers lack the right gear or do not know how to use it or fail to put it on on time. “This weekend, the Karawanks again saw a strikingly large number of visitors, and many of them were wearing sneakers too,” said Smolej.
Slovenia’s mountain rescue crews noted that the numbers of accidents and deaths in the mountains in January were much higher than they should be in this period of time.
If the trend continues, this year’s increase in accidents will be much higher than the average of 10% recorded in recent years. Mountain rescue units carried out just over 630 rescues last year, which was the largest number in recent times, added Smolej.
Discounting this year’s deaths, a total of 179 people have been killed in accidents in the mountains in the past ten years.