Video Highlights and Summary of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue Congress


Krynica-Zdroj, Poland October 3 - 7

Produced and Compiled by Topograph Media

About IKAR: The IKAR history in mountain rescue operations and standards goes back to 1948, and IKAR’s work has affected the improvement of rescue operations all over the world. IKAR has 31 member countries who meet regularly, and whose activities and recommendations are closely followed by the rescue, climbing and manufacturing communities. IKAR celebrated its 50th anniversary in Switzerland in 2008, and a video that shows the early days of IKAR in 1948 can be found at

IKAR permits one voting delegate from each country to each of the 4 specialized commissions: Terrestrial, Avalanche, Medical and Air Rescue. The IKAR commissions generally meet at least twice per year, though at times this is combined with the annual meeting. In September or October of each year, the entire IKAR congress meets for presentations, papers and demonstrations. More information can be found at

Topograph Media produces the annual IKAR Highlights Video. We also manage the permanent video archives of IKAR at its international offices in Zermatt, Switzerland. This web page provides some highlights of the outdoor demonstrations, as well as links to other important literature from IKAR.

IKAR 2012 Krynica highlight videos can be viewed individually by clicking on any of the following 10 embedded links, and the full 39 minute video can be viewed in its entirety here.

The 2012 Congress in Poland was hosted by the Polish Volunteer Mountain Rescue Service (GOPR) and drew more than 300 members from over 30 countries. On the first full day of the conference outdoor demonstrations were held, with conference sessions and commission meetings on the remaining days. Simultaneous translation was provided for all major sessions in English, French, German, with the latest equipment and headphones, as well as soundproof booths for the translators. Delegates were housed and fed at the Czarny Potok Hotel and Resort, and the general meetings were held in a first-class conference hall at that location. There was a vendors exhibition with displays of outdoor and rescue equipment available to all the delegates.


Terrestrial Demonstrations

Practical demonstrations, organized by the Terrestrial Rescue Commission, were held at a field location two hours drive from Krynica. More than 200 rescuers took part in the day’s activities. At the venue, there were eight work stations demonstrating a variety of terrestrial and rescue equipment innovations, including the arrival of two helicopters. Groups were organized by language: German, French, Slavic, and English. One station demonstrated a pick-off of a stranded climber underneath an overhanging rock. There was a demonstration f the recovery of an injured climber under a steep embankment using a litter and a transfer between two highlines. The video also shows rescue techniques used by GOPR for passengers stranded on a ski lift and cable car.


Two Innovative New Products Demonstrated at IKAR

This clip shows a demonstration of the Northwall Innovations "Pneuspine" inflatable litter and the Harken "Powerseat" mechanical ascender demonstrated during the field demonstrations.


Dyneema Rope Demonstration by Peter Veider of Austrian Mountain Rescue

The narrator points out the strengths and limitations of Dyneema, which include high strength and low weight. But no rappelling, no knots (with the exception of the butterfly and bowline in certain circumstances), and lowering operations under only certain conditions. He states that the heat sensitivity problem was easily managed in the field with the use of proven techniques, and provided a quick demonstration of end loop splicing to address the knot issue. After extensive testing, the use of Dyneema rope systems has been officially certified for use by organized Austrian mountain rescue teams. With five (5) full years and thousands of missions as a data set, there has been no documented accident involving Dyneema. Dyneema ropes have a shelf life of 10 years. During the past 5 years, 3,100 mountain rescuers in Austria have been trained in the use of Dyneema rope systems. Mr. Veider very strongly advocates their use, with the caveat that the limitations detailed above be respected, and they must not be used without training.


Medical Commission (MEDCOM)

The Alpine Medicine Commission of IKAR brings together physicians and medical personnel from all over the world to exchange information and develop best practices in improving the outcome of patients in the mountains. The commission sponsors a number of international activities and is committed to improving mountain medicine in developing countries in Asia and South America. Commission recommendations and publications can be found at


Accidental Hypothermia Study

Dr. Doug Brown presented important information regarding a new algorithm develped by a team of IKAR doctors associated with hypothermia victims’ assessment and treatment. The results of this research have been published and a more thorough review of his presentation can be found in the IKAR Alpine Medicine Commission report at . A summary of the findings can be found in this video clip.

New Mountain Safety Networking Forum

With the Assistance of the Swedish Mountain Safety Council, IKAR has begun an innovative new program to exchange mountain safety and avalanche information. A new working group and networking web site focuses on prevention issues, and hopefully will have input from the 35 countries that contribute to IKAR. For the current site go to .


Air Rescue Commission

This commission brings together Pilots, Aviation Crewmembers and Hoist Operators from all IKAR member-nations. The Commission is a platform for exchange of experience and an opportunity to learn from each other, the goal is to improve aviation safety in the mountain environment. Air Rescue recommendations can be found at year they discussed accident/incident reports, night vision goggle systems, double hook and hoists, as well as all manner of topics available in the annual report available on the IKAR website.

Avalanche Commission

The commission issues recommendations on safety measures to minimize avalanche accidents. Currently, these efforts include the gathering of statistics and the harmonization of the European avalanche danger scale with the North American system. Recommendations can be found at New President Dominque Letang discusses his ideas for the direction of the group and his interest in organizing an additional meeting in winter where the dog handling teams can meet and train together in snowy conditions.


Conclusion of the Congress and a look forward to the next two years of IKAR-CISA in Croatia (2013) and the USA (2014).


Delegates’ Meeting, Saturday, October 6

IKAR President Gerold Biner invited each of the Commission Chairs to summarize the activities of their commission during the Krynica congress (see individual Commission reports on the MRA website at He summarized the 2012 theme of “Preventative Safety in the Mountains” by reiterating the value of mountain safety education and PSAR. He lauded the work of the new “Preventative Safety” forum (see the clip above) on the IKAR website to be spearheaded by the Swedish IKAR delegation for the next two years. A copy of the minutes of the 2012 IKAR delegates meeting can be found at

IKAR in 2013 and 2014

The 2013 IKAR Congress will be held in October on the island of Bol in Croatia. There will be a day of field presentations coordinated by the Terrestrial Rescue Commission. The overall theme of the Congress will be “The Mountain Rescue – Helicopter Interface”. Additionally, the US MRA delegate to IKAR, Dan Hourihan, with the assistance of Topograph Media, made a presentation at IKAR 2012 regarding the proposed 2014 IKAR Congress at Lake Tahoe in Nevada. A total of 77 votes were cast on the location of IKAR 2014 with the results 74 in favor, 3 abstentions, and 0 opposed. This will mark the first IKAR Congress held in the United States.

Other Links, Reports and Summaries of the Work of IKAR

The annual IKAR reports of the US Mountain Rescue Association

IKAR Recommendations

IKAR Publications

Minutes and Presentations from the 2012 Congress:


Thanks to the Sponsors of the IKAR 2012 Video


CMC Rescue was founded in 1978 to provide rescuers with the equipment they needed to safely and successfully save lives.

Eurocopter (an Eads Company), Europe’s leading fully integrated aeronautical group.

Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems Manufacturers of the rescue hoists used Eurocopter and many other aircraft used in search and rescue world-wide

Petzl Practical solutions that maximize safety and mobility in mountain rescue.

For information on how to become a sponsor and help support International Mountain Rescue efforts the world over, please send an email to topographmedia at gmail dot com


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