In the first eight months of the year mountain rescue teams were called out on 335 occasions, of which 133 occurred between May 22nd and August 31st, in Sweden's mountainous areas in the Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Jämtland and Dalarna regions, according to fresh statistics from the police.
“In Norrbotten the number of operations have doubled on the previous year,” said Stephen Jerand, the police's national mountain rescue co-ordinator, in a statement.
A helicopter was called out to assist with 100 of the above incidents.
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One of the reasons behind the increase is that according to police themselves, they have improved their method for compiling statistics. Another reason is an increased number of climbers and hill walkers, many of whom are not used to the sometimes tough walking conditions in the mountains.
Sweden's mountain rescue has previously reported that their annual budget is under strain because of the unusually high number of summer call-outs, including unnecessary calls by tired walkers.
In July, an air ambulance and rescue personnel were called to help a woman on a mountain near Jokkmokk who was said to have trouble walking, but when they arrived they discovered she was just tired. When her and her partner were offered the choice of walking down or paying for the helicopter journey, they opted for the latter.
Police also began this summer to investigate walkers who raised the alarm only because they did not want to continue their walk. Wasting mountain rescue time carries the risk of being prosecuted for a nuisance alarm or improper use of an alarm, but police had never previously taken it that far.
“We think it's maybe time to put the foot down in cases where the person hasn't done their homework, or in other words hasn't planned their trip in the mountains. Getting homesick or sore feet is no reason to start a mountain rescue operation, which taxes pay for,” Jerand warned last month.