The Austrian Alpine Club ÖAV has published information that shows what mountain sports enthusiasts should pay attention to when practicing their discipline in times of Covid-19.

Experts from the Austrian Alpine Association and nature lovers, in cooperation with the Association of Austrian Alpine Associations (VAVÖ), have given intensive thought to how joyful mountain sports can take place in times of COVID-19 from May 1, 2020.

Together, guidelines were drawn up to extend the familiar safety precautions with reasonable measures in order to minimize the risk of infection in joint ventures. The focus is on seven basic rules, which are supplemented by sport-specific recommendations for core alpine sports.

Tours like this on the Zinalrothorn are possible again.

Basic rules for mountain sports

1. Withdraw risk-taking

In alpine activities, stay well below the personal performance limit. Consider the corona-related risks and difficulties in rescue operations, as well as the additional burden on the hospitals. More than ever, the rule is: only healthy in the mountains!

2. Keep a distance of at least 2 meters

2 meters is a little more than 2 arm lengths in an adult. Use a nose and throat protector if, in exceptional cases, the minimum distance of 2 m must be exceeded. Certain mountain sports activities (e.g. mountain biking) may also require larger distances (see below).

3. Mountain sports only in small groupsn

The actual number of people depends on the respective mountain sport. There is an upper limit for 10 people. Keep in mind that as group size increases, it will be more difficult to keep your distance! Avoid high-traffic tours and places.

4. Avoid the usual rituals

For example, shaking hands, offering hugs, drinking bottles to others etc.

5. Take mouth-nose protection and disinfectant with you

In addition to the general emergency equipment, mouth and nose protection and disinfectants should be kept in the backpack for the next time.

6. Mouth-nose protection in carpooling

In addition, only two people may be carried in each row of seats, including the handlebar. Prefer arrival by public transport.

7. In an emergency, as always

As a first aider, proceed according to the generally applicable first aid guidelines and additionally use mouth-nose protection.

Finally out again. Finally back into the mountains.

Sport-specific recommendations

A) Mountain hiking / mountaineering / ski touring / snowshoeing

  1. Implement the basic rules.

B) Sport climbing (climbing gardens) & outdoor bouldering

  1. Implement the basic rules.
  2. Regular hand disinfection.
  3. Do not put the rope in your mouth when clipping.
  4. Use your own equipment: express slings, belay device, rope.
  5. Partner check at a distance: The partners ask each other to check the knot, carabiner, belay device and belt and observe each other in the process.
  6. Mocking with mouth and nose protection and subsequent disinfection of the hands.
A face mask should be worn when bouldering or spotting.

C) Multi-pitch / alpine climbing / high-altitude tours

  1. Implement the basic rules.
  2. A maximum of two people at the stand.
  3. Partner check at a distance: The partners ask each other to check the knot, carabiner, belay device and belt and observe each other in the process.
  4. Disinfect hands before and after a climbing tour.

D) Via ferrata

  1. Implement the basic rules.
  2. Avoid if several are already on the climb and traffic jams are foreseeable.
  3. Consideration and waiting at the entrance.
  4. Choose the speed so that you do not hit other people.
  5. Overtake only where the distance rule can be adhered to and there is no need for securing (paragraphs, belts).
  6. Leave the exit area quickly after finishing the via ferrata.
  7. Do not climb via ferrata in the opposite direction.
  8. Use via ferrata gloves.

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Credits: text Austrian Alpine Club