The four alpine sports enthusiasts – among them Pforzheim Mayor Alexander Uhlig – were located with the help of a helicopter on one of Austria’s highest peaks, the 3,600-metre Großvenediger.
All from the state of Baden-Württemberg, the men had embarked on a snowshoeing expedition in the high-alpine region with no mobile phone service.
When bad weather hit, the group became disoriented and built a snow cave, camping below the mountain summit, police reported.
When the men, all between the ages of 40 and 50, did not appear to meet a friend at a mountain hut on Saturday, he alerted mountain rescue services.
But rescuers were forced to halt their search on Monday due to bad weather and avalanche risk, waiting until Tuesday morning when they quickly found the group, who were reportedly waving shovels at the search helicopter.
According to the police spokesperson, the men “handled their situation exactly right,” and lived through the ordeal in temperatures as low as -12 degrees Celsius thanks to the shelter they built.
After their rescue the hikers were treated in a nearby hospital. All four are in good health, police said.
The Großvenediger is generally considered the fourth-highest peak in the Austrian Alps. In August 2001 three Germans were killed by a landslide there after a violent storm.