The mountain cleaners of Salzburg

The mountain cleaners of Salzburg

Climbing harness, rope, helmet and mountain boots - these are the unusual work tools of the mountain cleaners of Salzburg. 365 days a year, a small group of fearless men ensures that the city's residents are safe.


Working over the roofs of the city
You can recognize them from afar. Day after day they hang on the harness in the steep rock faces of the Salzburg mountains Monk, Capuchin and fortress mountain. But what are they doing up there, high above the rooftops of Mozart's city?

The mountain cleaners of Salzburg

The mountain cleaners of Salzburg have an extraordinary, probably even world-wide unique profession: They clean the local mountains of the city neatly of loose rock and emerging root system. On steep slopes, endangered trees must be felled and stone catches erected. In winter, shrubs are cut back on the partially green cliffs and dangerous icicles are removed. Altogether, the mountain cleaners ensure that around 300,000 m² of rock are checked every year, removing between 50 and 80 m³ of loose rock.


Vocational training out of necessity
But why is there any need for this professional group in Mozart's city? The answer to this arises from the immediate vicinity of Salzburg to the mountains. The cliffs of monasteries, capuchins and fortresses tower in the old town in the air. They represent a unique and extensive green space, but also pose dangers for the inhabitants and houses of the city.

The mountain cleaners of Salzburg

1669 Salzburg was the victim of a devastating rock fall disaster. At that time huge masses of rock fell from the steep walls of the M├Ânchsberg and buried the Markuskirche, the "Seminarium Alumnorum", the Lieb-Frauen-Kapelle and 13 houses below. In this disaster, 230 people were killed.

Before the rockfall already sporadic checks and purges of the local mountains took place, in 1574 the mountain cleaners were first mentioned in a document. These works were then greatly intensified from the year 1669. Only several years later, after another rock fall in 1778 every year and now 365 days a year, the local mountains in Salzburg are checked.

The mountain cleaners of Salzburg

From an initially spontaneously built, daring community of citizens formed over the centuries, its own professional group - the mountain cleaner. A squad usually consists of two rappers who hang in the ropes and clean the mountain, two rope holders, which secure the Abfahrer and descend, and two floor men who shut off the work area and take over the soil cleaning.


A tour of the city? Why, surely!
While the people down in the city stroll through the streets and alleyways, the mountain cleaners hang in their climbing harnesses and ropes, loudly shout their commands and ensure that life in Mozart's city can go its usual course. In wind and weather they expose themselves to the dangers of falling rocks to protect the inhabitants and the entire city. Some people will probably not even know that they exist - so keep your eyes open on your next visit to Salzburg. Maybe you can discover one or the other mountain cleaner during your city tour or your hike to the local mountains.


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