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Philipp Pauli Alps Rescue

Phillip Pauli

Philipp Pauli is an experienced climber, so much so that he’s about to become a tour guide with the Swiss Alpine Club.

Although he always takes his smartphone with him on climbing trips, there simply isn’t adequate reception across the Swiss Alps, where he spends a great deal of his time. So Philipp bought a SPOT Gen3 early in the summer of 2017 to cover all his communications needs while off grid in the mountains.

Philipp frequently climbs the 4000m mountains in Valais including the Matterhorn and he often goes to the central massifs around the Gotthard pass and the Bernese Alps around Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Philipp now uses his SPOT wherever he goes to send OK messages to family. He chose SPOT because of its reliability, durability and the fact that the service reaches the many corners of the globe where he intends to venture. But, like any climber, the key feature for Philipp is that the device is so light.

On Philipp’s third trip with his trusty SPOT device, in August 2017, he was climbing the eastern ridge of the Grosser Diamantstock in the Bernese Alps, which is a granite climbing route of medium-level difficulty. The exposed ridge offers beautiful views across the surrounding mountains and valleys.

While descending, Philipp and his climbing partner found themselves in a sudden downpour and so they quickened their pace to get down to safety before a potential thunderstorm.

While on the last abseil, when Philipp was approximately four metres above the ground, he found that the rope was too short. Because he was almost down, he opted for a quick-fix instead of taking more care.

As a result, Philipp descended those last metres pretty much in free fall, injuring his legs and back. Unable to walk, he needed help to get off the mountain.

Philipp used his SPOT Gen3 to trigger an instant SOS message. Just one hour later a helicopter was on the scene and the rescue crew transported the pair to a hospital in Interlaken.

“I definitely learned from this incident and I am grateful that we had SPOT on hand. Without this, my partner would have had to descend to the next hut two hours away to try to get help. Three weeks later I was 99% healed and started climbing again. SPOT saved the day,” said Philipp.