The conditions in the Tatras are very difficult. The three tourists who got stuck on the Kopa Kondracka on Friday evening, because they were not properly prepared for the extreme weather, found out about it. 28 rescuers participated in the rescue operation, which lasted almost 24 hours. It was also dangerous on the Slovak side of the mountains – two Poles lost their trail due to a blizzard.
Three tourists got stuck on Friday evening at Kopa Kondracka in the Tatra Mountains. At 17:21, unable to continue the expedition, they called the lifeguards of the Tatra Volunteer Rescue Service by phone. According to TOPR reports, tourists were not properly prepared for such extreme conditions. They also did not have the appropriate equipment.
After 6 p.m. 14 rescuers set off from the Zakopane TOPR headquarters towards the Kondracka Kopa, but due to the third degree of avalanche risk and a blizzard, they did not manage to reach the victims.
With the help of a drone, the rescuers managed to deliver thermal blankets and heating packages to tourists. Thanks to this, tourists could survive the night in a snow cave – the temperature on the peaks at night dropped to -17 ° C.
On Saturday, at 5 a.m., further groups of rescuers set out to help, who managed to reach the people who called for help in the afternoon hours. As reported by the rescuers, the tourists were in surprisingly good shape and were brought to the Kondratowa Valley and then transported by snowmobiles and cars to Zakopane.
28 rescuers participated in the expedition. The action, carried out in very difficult conditions, ended on Saturday at 4 p.m.
They lost track
A dangerous situation involving Poles also occurred on the Slovak side of the Tatra Mountains. On Saturday, the rescuers of the Slovak Horska Zachranna Slużba safely brought two people from Zabratowa Przełęcz, who in extremely difficult conditions went hiking along the ridge of the Western Tatras and lost their trail.
A 35-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were walking along the border trail through Rakoń, but they crossed over to the Slovak side. Due to very difficult conditions, a snow blizzard and limited visibility, the Poles lost the trail and could not continue their expedition on their own.
Slovak mountain rescuers reached two Poles using a snowmobile and skis. The tourists were safely checked to the Zwierówka hostel on the Slovak side.
The conditions in the Tatras are difficult
TOPR rescuers remind that the Tatra Mountains have been snowing intensively for several days and that the third – in a five-step, increasing scale – degree of avalanche risk is in force. In the mountains there is a strong, gusty wind that makes it difficult or impossible to move around.
“The snow cover is highly diversified, the trails are sometimes blown into the ice layer, while in other places the wind has created deep snow drifts. The trails are unbroken. The low cloud ceiling, limiting visibility, is an additional obstacle. Navigating in winter conditions, in the higher parts of the Tatra Mountains, requires extensive experience in winter mountain tourism and knowledge of the local avalanche risk assessment and the possession of appropriate equipment such as crampons, ice ax, helmet, ABC avalanche, along with the ability to use it “- we read in the tourist communication prepared by the Tatra National Park.
When choosing the lower routes and access roads to the shelters, it is worth having handles and poles with you.
The third degree of avalanche risk means that the snow cover on many steep slopes is moderately or weakly bound. It is possible to trigger an avalanche even with a small additional load, especially on steep slopes. In some situations large, and in rare cases also very large, avalanches may descend on their own.
Weather in the Giant Mountains. “Icing may appear in the blown areas”
The rescuers of the Mountain Volunteer Rescue Service also inform about the avalanche risk. The second degree of avalanche risk was introduced on Saturday in the Karkonosze Mountains. The conditions on the hiking trails in the mountains are difficult, the perceived temperature was -15 degrees Celsius. 10 to 20 centimeters of snow has fallen there in the last dozen or so hours.
On Saturday in the Karkonosze Mountains the wind was blowing with gusts of up to 50 kilometers per hour. Lifeguards warn that the conditions on hiking trails in the mountains are difficult.
“Locally above the upper edge of the forest, there may be snowdrifts. There may be icing in the blown-out areas” – stated.
Mroźno in the Beskids
After heavy snowfall, the conditions on the hiking trails in the Beskids are very difficult. GOPR rescuers informed on Saturday morning that the trails were unbroken.
– Tourists will probably blaze the trails, but in the morning they were covered with snow. This is the result of heavy snowfall, sometimes it fell 30 centimeters. It was freezing in the morning, from -5 degrees in Szczyrk to -10 degrees in Rysyanka. Visibility is generally good. Cloudy full – said the lifeguard on duty of the Beskidzka Group of GOPR.
The snow cover ranged from 25 cm in Leskowiec and 35 cm in Szczyrk to 60 cm in Hala Miziowa and almost one meter in Markowe Szczawiny.
In the Beskids, the yellow trail is closed, the so-called Perć Akademików. It is only used to ascend Babia Góra.
At Babia Góra there is a second level of avalanche risk, which means that it is moderate. It occurs on very steep slopes, in places of increased snow deposition by the wind, i.e. in gullies, cauldrons and depressions of the ground, as well as behind breakthroughs. It is possible to trigger an avalanche with a high additional load, especially on steep slopes.
In the Pilska massif, small avalanches can descend in steep, concave terrain formations located in the summit dome of the massif. Mainly it concerns cauldrons on the north and south sides of the ridge.
Last night two groups of tourists – six and two, who lost their way in the area of Barania Góra – found out how dangerous the Beskids are. – Actions lasted until 3 am. Everything ended well. The tourists were cold, but the help was on time, the Beskid goprowers said.
In the event of an accident, GOPR can be called on the free emergency number: 985 or 601 100 300.
Conditions in the Bieszczady Mountains
In the upper parts of the Bieszczady Mountains there is a second degree of avalanche risk.
As Jerzy Bujwid, a lifeguard on duty in the Bieszczady Mountain Voluntary Rescue Service, said, in the morning the thermometers showed -7 degrees Celsius in Ustrzyki Górne and -5 degrees C in Cisna. – In the valleys of the Bieszczady Mountains there is from 22 to 35 centimeters of snow. It is windless and the visibility ranges from 500 meters to two kilometers – said Bujwid. On the other hand, above the upper forest border, the average snow cover is 50-60 cm of snow.
Bujwid reminded that when going to the mountains, tourists should have a charged mobile phone and the “Rescue” application installed in it. “Thanks to it, we can reach the victims easier and faster” – he explained.
As he said, the “Ratunek” application helped on Friday to guide a group of tourists who had deviated 300-400 meters from the route in Połonina Wetlińska to the right track.
Main photo source: TOPR