Rescues On Mount Hood: What Happens When You Call For Help

Rescues On Mount Hood: What Happens When You Call For Help

Page Type Page Type: Article
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Mixed, Skiing

When you call for help

Being lucky enough to have cell service on a large portion of Mount Hood, a lot of rescue calls are called in to 911 via cell phone. When this happens, if you are on the South or West side of the mountain, you will be connected to Clackamas County 911 Dispatch.

Upon giving you location and status one or two things will happen. If someone in your party is injured, a call will immediately go out to the American Medical Response Reach and Treat (RAT) team. If there are no injuries, the sheriff is dispatched and decides the course of action to be taken. The RAT Team is stationed on Mount Hood at Government Camp during the day from 8am till around 10pm, and in Sandy during the rest of the night. The RAT Team will begin climbing towards your location to begin medical treatment.

At the same time this is happening, the county sheriff is also notified of a Search And Rescue (SAR) Event taking place. They will send the SAR Deputy to set up and coordinate operations. The SAR Deputy will then order resources to assist in the evacuation of the patient. Since the AMR RAT Team does not have to manpower to evacuate a patient down the mountain, their main goal is to access and begin treatment for the patient. The RAT Team usually consists of at the minimum an EMT-Paramedic and EMT-Intermediate, sometimes two Paramedics.

While treatment is taking place, other resources are on their way to the patient as well. Usually Portland Mountain Rescue will effect the ground evacuation. They are a MRA Group that serves the south and west sides of Mount Hood as well. If the patient is critical, the RAT Team may call for a helicopter evacuation by the 1042nd Air National Guard out of Salem, Oregon. This is a rare event, and also a highly dangerous one, as was demonstrated by a rescue helicopter crash in May, 2002. After being evacuated back to Timberline Lodge, the patient will be transported to the appropriate hospital by the RAT Team Ambulance.

Other resources that may be called by the sheriff include Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, SAR Explorer Posts, Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club, Mountain Wave Communication, CARES, Oregon Humane Society Technical Animal Rescue, and many others.


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dkantola - Feb 13, 2006 3:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Nice article

Interesting, but you didn't mention the Hood River County sheriff, the Crag Rats, or what happens on the east side. Another question: are the AMR people technically qualified to reach somebody anywhere on the mountain? Also, on nice days PMR people are sometimes already on the mountain, recognizably attired in PMR-logoed outerwear and equipped with radios tuned to SAR frequencies.

Correction: the helicopter crash happened in May, 2002.


ReachandTreat - Feb 14, 2006 4:34 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice article

I don't know the process for what happens on the east and north sides, so I havn't yet put that info up. The RAT Team is trained at a minimum to be able to climb Grade II, Class 2. Many of our members are trained for much harder routes. We can scrub at any time conditions become too dangerous. This may sound harsh, but my safety comes first and foremost, then my partners, then my teams. Yes, PMR does have ready teams on the mountain on most weekends, and sometimes during the week. They are a great resource, and we are quite happy to work with them. Here at AMR, we like to say we access the patient, then wait for others to come rescue us and the patient. I have noted and corrected the article in regards to the crash date. And I will continue to update the article as more information becomes available to me. If you have info about the crag rats and Hood River Sheriff, please forward it to me in a PM so I can make the updates.



Andy - Feb 13, 2006 7:11 pm - Voted 9/10

Nice Work!

This is a very good article to start out the new version of SummitPost. I was curious to see what type of stuff people would post and I think your article makes a very nice example of an applicable/interesting/well-written article for future posters. Thanks.


jdavies212 - Feb 23, 2006 5:12 am - Hasn't voted


Amazing amount of resources, effort and manpower. Who pays?


ReachandTreat - Feb 24, 2006 8:26 am - Hasn't voted

Re: $

Most of the resources are volunteer. AMR's Reach And Treat team members are already on shift as ambulance providers, and are payed by AMR through the SAR event. They do not charge for rescue, however, they do charge you to be transported in the ambulance if you need it. I believe if you are found to be negligent, you can be charged for your rescue, but i'm not positive on this. I know you can be fined for climbing without either a cell phone or Mountain Locator Unit. We are very lucky to have so many volunteers willing to drop everything to help others.


firewriter - Jul 29, 2012 7:16 pm - Voted 8/10

RAT teams Rock

As a volunteer firefighter, I deal with RAT crews on a regular basis. I don't get up on the technical routes anymore, but I have seen them in action on many backcountry rescues. They are great guys with great skills, and climbers are lucky to have them as a resource in case of emergency.

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