Historical Roots
Accident at Stuhleck/Dier
Old map of Rax
Old rescue reports
Ask for sponsorship
Circular letter
Crew list
Ski offer
Rucksack rescue
Stroke of fate to our team
From the skimuseum
Historical ski-route-map


Historical Roots

Accident at "Reißtalersteig/Rax": At March, 8th 1896 Josef Pfannl, Max Schottik and Fritz Waniek has planned to climb the Rax mountain over the "Reißtalersteig". But it should happen other than planned. This Sunday evening Dr. Heinrich Pfannl was waiting of the return of his brother in vain. Suspecting an accident he rides to "Payerbach" on Monday morning to start investigations about his stay. He climbs to the "Reißthaler"-refuge with help of some pathfinders and porters immediately, as far as the bad weather conditions and danger of avalanches allows. They couldn't climb further than to the "Imhofrast". After all returning to Vienna he got the sad certainty, that the climbers has been buried by an avalanche.

At March 11th Dr. Pfannl was already in "Prein", to search again for the missing persons with some helpers. The bulk of the search party are going to the "Koglerbauer", to look at the rifts for avalanches, the other helpers with Dr. Pfannl and the hotelier Toni Schruf are looking at the upper part of the rifts.

"Wednesday, March 11th. Trip to "Brandl" at Raxen (with Mr. Chlupaty and Mr. Nagel). To the retrieval of the tourists buried by an avalanche. Our rescue expedition meets the members of the Austrian Ski Club at "Gscheid", under the guidance of Mr. Bratmann, who was coming for the same reason. They went shortly across Brandl, Kogler to the Reissthalerhütte, to visit the avalanche together with other guides from Prein. The snow was "convenient" to the ski expedition and the area would be reached without difficulties."1)

Toni Schruf, an excellent skier, hurries to Mürzzuschlag to call for more people equipped with shovels and torches to be able to search during the dark. But already at noon they stumble on the corpse of Josef Pfannl. Such short of the Lackenhoferhuette, the favourite refuge of Pfannl, the avalanche has ended the life of this young mountaineer. Also Waniek, still bonded by the rope with his companion Josef Pfannl has been found shortly, whereas the search for Schottik had no success and has been cancelled because of nightfall. At March, 12th only pieces of equipment could be found, Schottiks corpse remains buried by the snow.

At Saturday, March 14th, as the fog around the Rax was lifting, the coffin of Josef Pfannl was borne to its final place in Prein. Next day the burial of Fritz Waniek was held in "Kapellen" in the presence of the sisters of Schottik, who has been found at nearly the same time by the search team 2 meters under the snow. The bonding rope between him and the two other victims was wrenched off. At least the burial of Max Schottik was held in Mürzzuschlag.

Tafel Zeitung Zeitung

Caused by this accident the alpine associations are intensely discussing about an organized rescue now. At May, 22nd 1896 in conclusion the "Alpine Rettungscomitee" has been founded, at the particular insistence of the Austrian Alpine Club. The "Alpine Rettungscomitee" has been renamed as "Alpiner Rettungsausschuß Wien" (ARAW) in the year 1897.

At the beginning 7 local sites has been founded: Schneebergdörfl, Reichenau, Mürzzuschlag, Aflenz/Thörl, Obersteier/Leoben, Langau, Admont.

Accident at Stuhleck/Dier:

This step in evolution was accurately timed, because already in the early winter of 1896 an other accident points out the necessity of such an institution. Once again it happened in the mountains around Mürzzuschlag. Josef Dier, at the accident at the Reißtalersteig busy as rescuer, has died at November, 29th, as backcountry skier at the icy slopes of "Stuhleck".

"One skier missing (lost in a blizzard): Under many enthusiastic friends of winter sports, imported from the North, which becomes a favourite sport for a great amount of smart fans in Vienna, deep and ongoing anxiety takes place in the community of skier. Since Sunday forenoon the local draftsman Joseph Dier, an even 22 year aged man, who has made a trip to the Geiereck at Mürzzuschlag by snowshoes in company with his 3 years younger brother, private officer Raimund Dier, has been lost and there is less hope for him being rescued...." 2)

What happened?

At Saturday, Nov. 28th 1896, 36 backcountry skiers are getting together in Mürzzuschlag, to attend a ski tour at the Stuhleck, by visiting the officially unnamed refuge "Nansenhuette", organized by the Austrian Ski Association. The weather conditions in the last days were good, but now strong winds are coming up, suggesting a change in the weather pattern. Because of these conditions the route has been changed to less exposed routes to the Stuhleck, instead across the ridge 6 kilometer in length. The participants have been split in two groups, whereas the fittest should use the route across "Bettelbauer" and "Schwarzriegel" under the guidance of baron Oberländer, and the less fittest the route across "Hühnerkogel" and "Ganzeben" under the guidance of Toni Schruf. All of them agreed to this proposal, except the brothers Dier, they decided to use the route across the ridge despite of insistently warnings.

The brothers started the tour in the early morning and are reaching the ridge soon. Meanwhile a heavy snow storm blows as predicted, in such a way that walking upright was impossible. At this point they split up, Raimund achieved after an odyssey across the Kaltenbachgraben "Spital am Semmering", Joseph remains lost. An immediately started search mission has found Joseph soon:

"At 10:30 Mr. Riegler, a lumber-jack from the first search team, has found the body. The place of finding was at the "Steinkorb"-rift, south-east of Stuhleck, approximately 200 Meters above the Pfaffenstraße. The solidified body was laying at a snow-free area, heading against north, the face resting on the grass, the arms distant on both sides. Each arm keeping a ski pole, the schnowshoes were missing. Later on a snowshoe has been found approximately 200 meters above. The belts were broken. Dr. Ertl examined the body on-site and didn't found an outside injury, leading to the conclusion, the death of Mr. Dier was caused by exhaustion and freeze" 3).

1) Schruf, 1896
2) Newspaper fragment, 1896
3) Schruf, 1896

Picture of the Nansenhuette and an old view of the Guentherhaus which has been build later nearby.

Origin (translated by webmaster): Mag. Hannes Nothnagl Int. FIS Wintersportmuseum Mürzzuschlag

Old map of Rax (1905):

Historical Map of "Rax"-area by Österr. Touristenclub

Alte Raxkarte

Old Rescue-Reports Nr. 1 - 4 1946:

Unfortunately there are no documents before 1946.

Bergung Nr. 1 Bergung Nr. 1 Bergung Nr. 1

Ski race at Karlgraben, Schneealpe, nowadays impracticable, and also has claimed victims:

Schirennen Schirennen

Picking mushrooms is dangerous - (perhaps they may have been tasted)

Schwammerl Schwammerl

Ask for sponsorship 1947


Circular Letter LL No. 9 Graz, Feb. 17th 1947

.....The delivery of food (allocation) can only be done according the stocks. The food situation at the present time compels to utmost economy. Intermittent and marginal rationing do not allow directives about portion of food. Therefore portioning is the matter of the local administration. Attention should be paid to the fact, that rescue work is heavier than patrol work. For this case (rescue work) one should have enough spare of food. On the other hand it makes no sense to conserve the more or less perishable foods as long as been destroyed by mice or worms, mold or decay........

Crew List 1947 19.11.1947:


Karl Hulka
Hans Fischer
Alois Halmer
Heinrich Fladenhofer
Simon Würgenschimmel
Karl Tiefengraber
Rudolf Stanek
Johann Reisinger
Ferdinand Radosch
Peter Lienhard
Franz Kohlhofer
Johann Kofler
Hans Aigelsreiter
Josef Hosch
Alfred Kaiser
Hans Pfeifer
Leopold Schöggl
Hias Koglbauer
Johann Ebner
Jakob Holzer
Walter Tomaschitz
Josef Hirsch
Karl Spreitzhofer
Heinrich Rosenbichler


Ski Offer 1948

Skis were expensive in the past too. original bill(click on picture to enlarge)


Rucksack-Rescue 1949

It happend more often....


1994 Stroke of fate to our team,

at Jan, 5th 1994 during preparations for a run competition ("Schneealmlauf") our comrades Walter Taimler and Helmut Pfusterschmied, previous teamleader, has been killed by an avalanche in the "Blarergraben", Schneealm. A memorial tablet near the scene of accident and in the chapel nearby the Schneealpenhaus reminds of the sad incident.


From the Skimuseum:

Akja Schlitten Schischlitten Schienungen Tourenbericht Kaarl

Oldtimer-Akja        Rescue-Sledge         Ski-Sled                Old Splints         Routedescr. Kaarl

Historical ski-route map:

Historical Map of the area "Scheibe" - "Sonnwendstein" with old ski routes. Red line: Ski route, dotted lines: danger of avalanches, with triangles: extreme danger of avalanhes, dashed line: wakable only by foot.Attention: The map is not conform to present conditions!

Historische Schiroutenkarte