STA, 29 January 2020 - This year's winter season has already seen more than 35 mountaineering accidents in which four persons have lost their lives. The number of such accidents has been gradually growing in recent years, with 604 rescue missions in total needed last year.
Jani Bele of the Slovenian Mountain Rescue Association said at Wednesday's press conference in Kranj that the number of mountaineering accidents had been growing year-on-year.
Last year, more than 40 people died in the mountains, half of them mountain climbers. Apart from mountaineering, paragliding, water sports and cycling have turned out to be the most risky sports activities.
The number of mountain search and rescue missions has been gradually increasing since 2013 when the figure stood at 392. In 2017, the number exceeded 500 and climbed to 537 a year later.
The head of the police mountain rescue unit Robert Kralj expressed hope that this surge would be halted this year. A 30% increase has been recorded so far in 2020 though.
The Slovenian Alps are a popular destination, including for tourists who are not familiar with the area or underestimate the terrain, going as far as throwing caution to the wind to get a perfect selfie.
Apart from slipping and falling from great heights, avalanches pose another grave risk, said Bele, urging hiking or skiing on marked trails and in designated areas with adequate equipment.