On Sunday evening, an emergency call came in to Rega’s national air rescue coordination centre. Two mountain climbers had got stuck on the north face of the Eiger and were suffering from exhaustion and hypothermia. The Rega flight coordinator immediately mobilised the Rega crew from the Wilderswil base, who then flew to the scene together with two helicopter rescue specialists (RSH) from the Swiss Alpine Club SAC. These are called out whenever the Rega crew needs assistance in difficult terrain.
After the crew had spotted the two alpinists between the first and second ice fields on the Eiger north face at around 3,300 metres above sea level, one of the two RSHs was lowered from the helicopter to the stranded climbers on the end of the rescue hoist. The RSH secured one of them next to him on the hoist and the helicopter pilot flew them both to the temporary landing site on the Kleine Scheidegg. The Rega helicopter then returned to the rock face and the second RSH repeated the procedure with the other climber.
Rescue hoist missions in the dark pose a major challenge
Missions at night using the rescue hoist are particularly demanding and complex, because in the dark it is more difficult for the crews to gauge distances and read the terrain, which is of key importance for rescue hoist operations. In order to be as well prepared as possible for such missions, Rega crews regularly practise using the rescue hoist at night.