Albanian alpinists rescue Swiss tourist stuck in the Northern Alps

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Three highly passionate young alpinists were able on Tuesday evening to rescue a Swiss tourist that had been stuck for three hours, in a remote area of the Alps in Northern Albania.

The tourist, who preferred to remain anonymous, had departed with the aim of crossing a very sought-after itinerary, the 14-km hike from Valbona-Theth that reaches 800 m above sea level.

Erind Zalli, one of the young men that came to her rescue, told Euronews Albania that during the hike from the Valbona Pass, the Swiss tourist had chosen the wrong way and gone north, – an area that is dense in snow, even at this time of year.

“In winter, we choose another trail to reach Theth, because on the one that heads north, the snow gets very icy as it doesn’t get a lot of sunlight,” – stated Erind Zalli, adding that the northern trail is very dangerous, filled with piles of snow and rocky steep cliffs.

The tourist had gotten stuck in a steep area, where the density of snow was at a very high level. Fortunately, she had a signal and was able to use her phone and make a call to the guesthouse she was staying in. The guesthouse had then notified Erind, who then called his two friends, Nor Hysaj and Erenik Selimaj, who were finally able to find, rescue, and safely return her to the guesthouse.

The intervention was only accomplished thanks to harnesses, safety ropes and ice axes.

Erind, who knows the region of Valbona very well because of his extensive experience climbing the peaks of the Alps, told Euronews Albania that in order to prevent similar cases during the tourist season, the area is in dire need of the establishment of an alpinism club by trained individuals equipped with the specialized gear needed to rescue people that get stuck in the mountains.

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