Safety and Activities
Safety and activities
KISC is situated at 1200m, high in the alps of the Bernese Oberland - the perfect location for hiking, skiing, rock climbing and many other mountain activities. However, the Alps can be a dangerous place - weather can change fast, storms come through regularly and paths can be narrow, exposed and loose. People can be affected by the altitude, heat and cold. We have various regulations and guidelines in place to help groups minimise the risks of going into the mountains.
Safety in adventures
KISC is a holder of the Safety in Adventures label - which is the main safety label for companies who provide adventurous activities in Switzerland.
Companies that have been awarded the label undergo an on-site inspection at least once a year. All aspects of safety are assessed, such as:
- The training and personal aptitude of guides
- Weather observation and planning of routes
- Acquisition, storage and use of equipment
- The information and preparatory briefing given to participants
- Procedures in the event of accidents
On our guided activities, we have a few essential rules to ensure the safety of the activity.
- The minimun ages and group sizes for activities listed on the website must be followed - with no exceptions.
- A leader over the age of 18 years old must be present on all guided activites, and is counted as part of the total group number.
- For all guided hiking, climbing, challenge and snow and ice activities, participants must bring all items from our Summer Equipment list . No equipment, no activity!
- For all guided skiing, snowboarding and winter activities, participants must bring all items from our Winter Equipment list. No equipment, no activity!
- Before our guided activities our staff will ask their group if they have any physical conditions or medication which they should be aware of before starting. The group leader (i.e. Scout leader) should know of any issues and be able to help our staff during the activity check-in.
- Participants must have adequate insurance for any activities that they are taking part in.
In the interests of safety, all groups going out hiking, climbing, mountain biking, snowshoeing, etc. must complete a Route Card and leave it at reception to record their intended route, group details and return time. Route cards can be downloaded or picked up from Reception in several different languages. The Programme Staff can offer advice on equipment, weather and route condition.
Once the Route Card has been completed, it must be signed by the leader in charge of the activity and checked by a Staff member to make sure that the route is possible, suitable for the group and can be completed safely. If you are taking part in a guided activity, then your guide will look after your route card. When you return from your trip, be sure to check in with reception and let us know that you are back.
If a group has an overdue route card, our obligation is to start an immediate search and put our Emergency Procedure into operation to locate the group.
Route Cards must be completed for the following activities:
- For all adventurous activities above the valley floor in the Kandersteg area. Examples are Hiking, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Ice Climbing, Snowshoeing, Ski Touring, Via-Ferrata and Alpine Routes.
Route Cards are not required for the following activities:
- Not when skiing in a controlled area. For example piste or resort skiing
- Not when hiking or mountain biking in an accessible area on the valley floor. For example KISC to Blausee.
- For activities outside the Kandersteg area a Route Card is not required. However, it is strongly recommended that a responsible person (e.g. hut warden) is informed of your intended route.
mountain safety guidelines
The mountains are very beautiful, but they can also be very dangerous. Any group hiking in them must be prepared for possible danger. The safety guidelines below are intended to help you in making sure that your group is prepared for taking part in activities in the Alps. They are not there to restrict your enjoyment; they are to help you to do activities safely.
For more information also read our How to Hike in the Alps guide on how to safely experience in the Kandersteg region. UK groups should also refer to the UK Terrain and Water Classifications document to check their regulations before planning activities.
1. BE PREPARED:
Before your group sets off on an activity:
- Check with the Programme Staff for information about routes, weather and footpath conditions.
- Make sure all the group have the correct clothing and equipment and know how to use it.
- Plan your route carefully, taking into account the people in your group - be confident that they will be able to cope with the terrain.
- Make sure someone from your group has knowledge of First Aid and emergency procedures.
- Make sure you have booked any overnights in mountain huts. Camping is forbidden in the Alps, except at recognised campsites.
- Fill in a Route Card with all the details requested and have it checked by a member of staff.
- Make sure you have enough food and money for normal use and emergencies.
2. BE SENSIBLE:
When on the hike:
- Stay on the route you have planned; if it changes inform KISC
- Always be aware of the weather and watch it very carefully. Don't be afraid to turn back.
- If someone in your group has an accident, take the necessary action to solve the problem. Prevent the situation from worsening, treat the casualty and then summon help from the nearest location. Use the International Distress Signal if necessary - 6 quick signals (whistle, torch etc.) repeated at minute intervals.
- Do not drink from mountain streams.
- Enjoy yourselves - safely.
3. BE KIND TO THE ENVIRONMENT:
- Keep to the well marked footpaths as this helps to prevent erosion.
- Do not pick wild flowers or damage other plants. Alpine flowers are protected by law.
- Bring back all litter and dispose of it correctly
- Do not pollute the water.
- Guard against fire by making sure all fires are raised off the ground in metal buckets and are fully extinguished before you leave them
- Do not prevent other people from enjoying this beautiful Alpine area.
4. BE INFORMATIVE:
- When you return from your hike, please come to Reception so that we can cancel your Route Card. If your Route Card has not been cancelled by the agreed time we will have to start the necessary rescue procedures.
- Inform the Programme Staff of any useful information about the route you completed - conditions, problems, points to note, etc.
"Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints."