The Norwegian Red Cross carried out 15 percent more rescue operations this summer than last year. In July alone they were called out 210 times, up 50 percent over July 2016.
The increase can be tied to the boom in tourism in Norway but also to more widespread mobile telephone coverage. “We see that the use of mobile phones means that many people can report their own emergencies, and say where they are,” said Ole Gladsø of the Red Cross.
He also thinks, though, that more people are setting off on potentially dangerous hikes, not least to places like Trolltunga, which has become immensely popular in recent years. “This is all part of a trend where many people want to challenge themselves with more extreme treks,” Gladsø said. “That also creates new challenges both for the hikers and the volunteer emergency services that have to come rescue them.”
While many calls have involved accidents, some calls come from tourists who overestimated their own capabilities, or were poorly dressed and equipped for major treks. At Trolltunga, authorities are trying to reduce problems by deploying “mountain guards” and settings up lots of warning signs.