June 16, 2018
In 1912 two medical doctors and Slovenian Alpine Club members, Josip Tičar and Jernej Demšar, established the first Slovenian mountain rescue station in Kranjska Gora, following an accident that Josip Cerk had on the frozen Stol in early April of the same year.
April 6 1912 rescue mission on Stol, Photo: Upper Carniola Museum Kranj
The aforementioned accident was described 68 years later by Pavel Kunaver (see Moje steze, 1979), who accompanied Professor Cerk and seven of his high school pupils to Stol mountain on that night – they left on the night of April 3rd in order to reach the top by sunrise.
The main cause of the accident, according to Kunaver, was a lack of understanding of the changing conditions on an otherwise relatively easy mountain during night time, which against Kunaver’s recommendations rendered the professor and his students to head towards the top without appropriate alpine equipment. When caught in a storm in the middle of the night, the ground froze and the professor slipped down the mountain slope, while Kunaver eventually managed to get the seven of the students to the Prešeren hut by the peak.
The consequences of this failed expedition, wrote Kunaver, were that “Dren lost a wonderful comrade and a scientific leader for exploration of karst pits. Mountaineers from abroad acknowledged my effort, which awarded me a silver crown cross. Stay-at-homes spoke of ’fools’ that go to the mountains out of the ’season’ and some friends gave me looks for the cross that I had been given. A new multitude of mountaineers grew from Professor Cerk’s blood, while I received a lesson and an initiative from him: out with the youth from the school walls! However: comply with the safety precautions so that the young return from their trips strengthened and healthy and the most important: the mountain rescue service has been established.”
Skalaši (Rockers) of Jesenice in Vrata Valley (access to Triglav in the background) after a rescue mission in 1924. Photo: Mountain Rescue Service Jesenice archive
1964, dog rescuers, mountain rescue service Jesenice archive
Photo: Mountain rescue service Jesenice archive
Probing 2004, Mountain rescue service Jesenice archive
Photo: Mountain Rescue Association of Slovenia, Facebook