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Mountain guide: Taking children on some mountain climbs calls for social workers

Climbing irons enable people to climb steep, icy mountains but they will not protect them from falling, mountain guide Tibor Hromádka claims.

Tibor Hromádka has been a climber and ski-mountianeer since 1983. He has worked and climbed in High Tatras, Alps, Dolomites, Rocky Mountains, Yosemite, Pamire and in Himalaya. (Source: Courtesy of Tibor Hromádka)

Recently, frozen slippery snow caused several falls, which resulted in four fatalities in the Slovak mountains. In the freezing conditions in the Tatras during winter, an inexperienced person can die on a crowded hiking path where in summer pensioners can walk easily, mountain guide Tibor Hromádka says. Good equipment alone is not enough according to him: people have to learn how to fall safely.

Sme: Why are people dying these days in the Tatras?

Tibor Hormádka (TH): This is the natural consequence of the current situation in the mountains. There is always a risk that cannot be avoided, and now the risk is further increased by the current conditions.

Moreover, during holidays and school vacations, and when the weather is fine, more people come to the mountains.

Sme: What conditions do you mean?

TH: First, there was a thaw, and precipitation in the form of rain. Then it got cooler, so that the soft snow turned into ice. This also happens on the marked routes where many people pass. So the impression arises that nothing can happen to hikers there. But on the popular path to the Téry mountain chalet,there is a steep slope – and if you fall and cannot stop falling you can die.

Read more: Can climbing irons not brake a fall? Can a backpack help hikers? Has he ever slipped himself?

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