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29. September 2021

Extremely challenging night rescue at the Dom

On September 16, 2021, at 6.30 pm, the rescue specialist on duty at the Zermatt rescue station was alerted by the Cantonal Valais Rescue Organization KWRO for a rescue on the Dom. At the beginning, little information was known, two Czech alpinists had triggered the emergency call due to a crevasse fall, no coordinates were available.

Due to this initial situation, the rescue specialist called up two additional colleagues. Air Zermatt’s helicopter had to offload the three mountain rescuers due to fog below the Domhütte. In the meantime, the KWRO had obtained further information: the two climbers in distress were in a crevasse zone at around 4,200 meters above sea level and were not in good shape. Due to the snowfall and fog, the two had first lost the snow-covered descent track and consequently their orientation.

The three rescue specialists started on foot from the Domhütte in the direction of the people to be rescued. After an ascent of about three hours in fog and snowfall, the rescue team met the stranded and very tired alpinists at about 4,000 meters above sea level around 10:00 pm. The descent by foot in consistently bad weather conditions proved to be very demanding and long. At Festijoch, the mountain rescuers set up three rappelling routes to be able to rappel the exhausted mountaineers in the difficult places.

It was not until around 01:30 am that they reached the Domhütte and spent the night in the cold winter room before they all could be flown to the Zermatt heliport by an Air Zermatt helicopter at 07:30 am the next morning. t is considered lucky that the three rescue specialists could lead the stranded alpinists to the Domhütte during the night in the adverse conditions and thus save them. The conditions were also extremely demanding and difficult for the team of the rescue station Zermatt. 

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