To the uninitiated, the rope looks like a dog leash, but it has a load capacity of around two tons, explains Stefan Rotzler.

"If I tie a knot, I'm still halfway there." If it's on an edge on the mountain, it can quickly become even less.

"It's not that unimportant to know," remarks the 30-year-old from Oberstdorf dryly and grins.

Knowing what your own materials can and can withstand, "that should not be underestimated".

Benjamin Fisher

Editor in Business.

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Rotzler knows what he's talking about.

He has been part of the Oberstdorf mountain rescue service for almost 15 years.

His father was there before, "the classic".

Today he acts as operations manager and trainer.

The team counts 51 active members plus “a handful of candidates” – all volunteers.

The head office is just outside of town, right next to the "Nordic Center" with its cross-country ski runs and training facilities.

A little further along the Stillach river, you come across the ski jump and the Fellhorn cable car.

"Technically, the station is not nearly as spectacular as, for example, the fire department," he says while standing in front of several telephones, computers and the radio in the command center.

"For a few years now, we've finally had digital radio, like the emergency services in general, but it's been standard there for much longer." Rotzler and his colleagues, like the voluntary fire brigade, are notified with beepers, which they always have with them.

You will also receive information on your mobile phone.

Anyone sitting here has a clear view of the helipad in front of the door and can see who and what is deployed to manage everything.

"What's most important is your understanding of who is to be located and rescued," says Rotzler.

A certain level of stress arises every time, "but that reduces over the years".

The mountain rescue service is initially alerted via 112. The respective operations manager receives an initial assessment of the situation and takes over the coordination – or organizes himself first. Because Rotzler and Co. go about their jobs quite normally.

"When you're on duty, you have to keep your back free so you're available for any deployment."

Organization is everything

The organizing starts with the first notification of a new assignment.

"I'm at work or maybe with an apprentice on a construction site, I have to make sure that everything goes on there." Then it comes to the vote, more detailed information trickles in, and Rotzler has to weigh up what is necessary and how much time urges whether he needs a helicopter, whether he rushes to the station or can be collected.

In Oberstdorf, two commanders are always assigned at the same time, as well as two or three active members plus a candidate.

"A special feature that has proven itself," he says - sometimes one coordinates, sometimes the other, so "everybody continues to work and stay better involved".