• Injured Skier on Mt. Rainier – Mission Report

    Injured Skier on Mt. Rainier – Mission Report

    TMRU Mission Report November 21, 2013 The rescue of an injured skier in the Panorama Point area above Paradise on the night of November 21st was made more complex when word came to rangers that a snowboarder was… Read More

  • Newsletter Archives Restored

    Newsletter Archives Restored

    All of the historical newsletters which go by the name Rescue Rucksack have been brought back to life on this site. See what TMRU have been up to for the past 20 years by visiting the new Newsletter… Read More

  • Donate through Qgiv

    TMRU now accepts donations through Qgiv

    TMRU is now set up with a Qgiv form** and TEXT to DONATE features. This allows anyone anywhere the ability to help us cover our costs of Training and Equipment expenses from Missions. With our new service you can… Read More

  • Skamania County Search for Missing Hiker- Mission Report

    Skamania County Search for Missing Hiker- Mission Report

    October 5th, 2013 TMRU was asked to assist with the search for a 31-year-old hiker who had been missing since the previous Sunday. He became separated from his partner while looking for caves in the Big Lava Beds… Read More

  • Fallen Climber at Spray Falls – Mission Report

    Fallen Climber at Spray Falls – Mission Report

    TMRU Mission Report September 20, 2013 Friday afternoon the call came in for assistance in rescuing a fallen climber at Spray Falls in Mount Rainier National Park.  Mark and Roger diverted from their trip to Blewett Pass.  Fran… Read More

  • Editorial: Behind the happy smiles on Mount Rainier

    Editorial: Behind the happy smiles on Mount Rainier

    A special thanks to the Seattle Times for taking the time to post an editorial recognizing the work put in by all of the volunteers who dedicated time and effort into the rescue of two lost snowboarders on… Read More

  • Paradise

    Snowboarders stranded on Mount Rainier- from KIROTV.com

    Two snowboarders are stranded on Mount Rainier. The two, ages 20 and 21, called 911 around 4:30 p.m. Sunday to report they were stuck in blizzard-like conditions. The men had winter gear a smart phone and a compass… Read More

  • MRNP – Update for Shakedown missions

    MRNP – Update for Shakedown missions

    Originating report from the Tacoma News Tribune: Body found on Mount Rainier identified as Michelle Trojanowski A spokesman for the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said this afternoon that the body of a woman found Friday on Mount… Read More

  • Berndt Bittlingmaier approaching Camp Muir on an MRA Patrol

    Muir Snowfield Search- Mission Report

    TMRU Mission Report August 16, 2012 Mark Cooksley, STL We were contacted early in the week of August 13, 2012 by Mt. Rainier Nat. Park to participate in an ongoing search for climbers/campers missing since January 2012. Increased… Read More

  • MRNP Search- Mission Report

    MRNP Search- Mission Report

    TMRU Mission Report August 16, 2012 TMRU was contacted early in the week of August 13, 2012 by Mt. Rainier Nat. Park to participate in an ongoing search for climbers/campers missing since January 2012. Increased search efforts had… Read More

  • Mt. Adams from Pikers Peak.  Photo Andy Knell

    Lost Hiker on Mount Adams- Mission Report

    Mission Number: 12-2398 TMRU was contacted by Pierce County DEM to assist in the search for a missing hiker on Mt. Adams. Peter Baciewicz, a 55-year-old cardiologist from Seattle, had separated from a friend near the Lunch Counter… Read More

  • Topo map of Green Mountain and surrounding area.

    Missing hiker at Green Mountain- Mission Report

    Mission Report Missing hiker, Green Mountain, WA July 9, 2012 We received a page from PCDEM on the evening of 8 July to help search for a missing hiker on Green Mountain near North Bend. He had last… Read More

  • Fircrest Walk-Away – Mission Report

    Fircrest Walk-Away – Mission Report

    Mission Report June 28, 2012 Submitted by Chris Berryman STL Fircrest Walk-away Three members responded to search request for an Alzheimer patient who was overdue from a walk in the mid afternoon. PCSD received to call at 1820…. Read More

  • The Inter Glacier from Glacier Basin.  Photo Andy Knell

    Mt. Rainier Support- Mission Report

    Mission Report June 23 and 24, 2012 Mt. Rainier Support Submitted by Chris Berryman, STL As part of the Rainier Stand-by Support, three members where to help on the White River side. Randy Brake, Alan Givotovski and myself… Read More

  • Gib Rock

    Gib Ledges MRA Patrol

    Submitted by Berndt Bittlingmaier climbing with Steve Showalter I imagined being on the North Face of the Eiger with all the snow, ice, and rock coming off Gib Rock above us. We got off the ledges just as… Read More

  • probe-line

    Snow Training- April 2012

    Mt. Rainier National Park, April 21, 2012 Members of  TMR trained on avalanche response and snow rope systems near Paradise at Mt. Rainier National Park. The unit is accrediting in May 2012 on the subject. Many small avalanches were… Read More

  • April Training and Planning

    April Training and Planning

    About a dozen members attended this month’s classroom session at the Cache. Much of the time was spent planning and coordinating for the upcoming snow accreditation in early May. Next training is 6:30 p.m., April 25th at the… Read More

  • Morning Star Peak

    Why am I involved in Mountain Rescue?

    The following article was written by Alan Givotovsky in January 2000. All the incidents he mentioned were all actual TMRU missions. Two climbers are overdue from a winter ascent of Mt. Rainier. You are on a search team halfway up… Read More

  • HAT-Kit-Web

    TMRU Launches new product

    For over 30 years, NASAR’s Hug A Tree program has given young children the tools and knowledge to survive getting lost in the woods. The program was developed to educate children in a select few of the most… Read More

  • Steamboat Prow

    Ash Climb

    Written by Andy Knell When a fellow skydiver dies, skydivers will typically take his or her ashes up on a jump and scatter them in the skies above the dropzone. We call this honored event an “ash dive”… Read More

Injured Skier on Mt. Rainier – Mission Report

TMRU Mission Report
November 21, 2013

The rescue of an injured skier in the Panorama Point area above Paradise on the night of November 21st was made more complex when word came to rangers that a snowboarder was reported lost in the same area.

At 3 p.m., word was received that a 36-year-old skier had fallen down a 200 foot ice field and had severely broken his knee. By the time rangers were able to reach and assess him, waning daylight precluded the safe use of a helicopter as a means of extrication, so rangers began setting up a technical raising.

As they were doing so, it became apparent that to conduct this operation safely, additional outside resources would be needed. Six members of Tacoma Mountain Rescue and six members of Olympic Mountain Rescue, all trained volunteers, responded from various areas around Puget Sound to help conduct the rescue. In the meantime, a tent and sleeping bags were sent up to the site to protect the skier from the elements.

Although skies were clear and calm overnight, temperatures were in the 20’s throughout the ordeal. The laborious task of carefully raising the injured man and sledding him down to Paradise in darkness took most of the night.

Around 9 p.m., while this rescue was underway, the park received a report that a 36-year-old solo snowboarder was lost in the Pebble Creek area above Paradise. The man had texted his girlfriend and reported that he was trying to get back to the parking lot, but that he was unable to do so because of the darkness. This area is on a ridge with steep ice fields and gullies along the way. Freezing weather had created a hard, slippery ice crust throughout the area, and a slip or fall could have proven deadly.

Ranger Kevin Ross, the incident commander for the rescue that was already underway, directed several of the rescue volunteers to begin a hasty search in the area of Pebble Creek. As they searched for the man, they called out his name. Around 12:20 a.m., they got a response.

The snowboarder was found near Pebble Creek.

Newsletter Archives Restored

All of the historical newsletters which go by the name Rescue Rucksack have been brought back to life on this site. See what TMRU have been up to for the past 20 years by visiting the new Newsletter page. Stay tuned as we will once again be publishing new editions of the Rescue Rucksack in the coming months.

TMRU now accepts donations through Qgiv

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TMRU is now set up with a Qgiv form** and TEXT to DONATE features. This allows anyone anywhere the ability to help us cover our costs of Training and Equipment expenses from Missions. With our new service you can set up a recurring donation of any amount per month or a one time donation as well. Simply text TMRU to 50155, they will return a text with “how much would you like to donate”, enter  any amount and be taken to our Qgiv Secure Server to complete the transaction where you can make it a one time or recurring donation.  Or if you prefer to donate online, simply use our secure Qgiv form** from any web browser.

We are a 501c3 Non-Profit, we are 100% unpaid, unfunded, and all volunteer. You won’t believe it, but a small donation from a lot of people each month goes a very long way. We thank you in advance for any help you can provide!

** Text Giving Donations are collected for the benefit of this organization by Qgiv, Inc. Terms and Conditions at qgiv.com/t. Privacy policy: qgiv.com/p. Text STOP to 50155 to stop; Text HELP to 50155 for help. Message and Data Rates May Apply.

Skamania County Search for Missing Hiker- Mission Report

October 5th, 2013

TMRU was asked to assist with the search for a 31-year-old hiker who had been missing since the previous Sunday. He became separated from his partner while looking for caves in the Big Lava Beds area about 10 miles north of the town of Cook. Poor weather and multiple missions in the area had hampered the prior search efforts.

Berndt, Jeff, and Fran drove down to SAR Base located at Goose Lake, WA early Saturday morning. There were multiple teams ranging from local SAR teams to the military deploying from the crowded base. The subject had been hiking with a friend when they got separated in the Big Lava Beds. The friend searched for the subject but after a period of time, called authorities.

Our team joined a team of 5 from Olympic Mountain Rescue (OMR) on a search of the very southern end of the Lava Beds (approx 11 miles from the point last seen). We spread out about 200’ apart and headed north into the beds. The terrain had difficult footing, loose rock and many holes and small caves. POD for the area was low due to the amount of small caves. We completed the search area and headed to the boundary road after about 2 hours of searching.

We then moved north and were going to search an area at the southern end of where other search parties had covered. While parked on the side of the road, the family requested we search the sides of the road. After confirming with SAR Base, we went north and OMR headed south and covered an area about 150’ in from the road. No sign of the hiker was found.

At 1630, we returned to Base and headed back to Tacoma.

Fallen Climber at Spray Falls – Mission Report

TMRU Mission Report
September 20, 2013

Friday afternoon the call came in for assistance in rescuing a fallen climber at Spray Falls in Mount Rainier National Park.  Mark and Roger diverted from their trip to Blewett Pass.  Fran and Jeff picked up the Unit Truck, while Tim and Tyler headed out in their own rig.  Communication and some initial planning between the team members was made possible via a nearby amateur radio repeater.  As he was the first to arrive at Mowich Lake, Mark became the Strike Team Leader (STL).

Mark and Roger reached Mowich Lake around 6:00 pm and found the Park ranger designated to remain at the trail head.   This Park ranger conveyed what sparse information was available; that one female hiker had taken a serious fall near Spray Falls and that another Park ranger was on scene assisting her at that moment.  He also shared that some rescue equipment was already on its way down the trail in the hands of other Park staff but was unable to provide a complete list of what all that included. While Mark and Roger got their personal gear together, the rest of the team arrived.

The TMRU team moved quickly down the trail, meeting several people along the way who were familiar with the accident scene/area.  Additional information was gathered from them and while many offered assistance, due to lack of needed experience, it was suggested that they all return to the trail head and wait to help when requested.  It was approximately 2.3 miles to the junction of a spur trail leading to the vicinity of the accident scene.

The subject had fallen while climbing on the rocks around the falls.  Wearing only flip-flops on the slimy rocks she had lost her balance and fell 10-15 feet; luckily sticking on a very narrow downward sloping ledge.  Her injuries included broken ribs, face lacerations, and a shattered knee.  Through all the pain she was able to be coherent and carry on a conversation with the rescue team. The subject had fallen at about 2:00 PM and had been in the precarious position sprayed by the falls for over 6 hours. Park rangers had done a good job of securing her and providing her with additional clothing to stay warm.

A very complex and technical rescue ensued when the team got on site.

Just getting up the slope around the falls was difficult as it was extremely steep, wet, and wooded. An anchor was established above the subject and she was packaged on a litter. This was obviously the most painful part of the rescue for the patient and she let everyone know it. Using this upper anchor she was moved over a slight raise and then laterally over to a flatter and drier location.  At that location, the subject was moved out of the litter for a moment while a full body vacuum splint was put inside the litter to better stabilize her and then she was lowered back into the litter.  Air was then evacuated from the body splint and the subject was much more stable.

While this first lower and packaging of the subject was occurring, a second lowering system was established down lower.  This one included another steep lateral traverse over to the top of a downward slope. These first 2 lowers got the subject off the high angle rock, but the second lower system was needed to safely move down less steep but still very dangerous rocky terrain

The last section included input from the Park ranger who had developed a series of systems for evacuating the subject before TMRU ever arrived.  But, he wanted to defer to our team as we had the complete resources and experience to pull off a system of our own.  This cooperative effort showed a strong example of both Park and TMRU resources working together. A single line friction system involving a huge tree was implemented and the litter team assisted the litter on a slow progression down the hill while Jeff monitored the other end of the rope to provide a controlled and steady but efficient descent to the trail.

All those still up the hill, including several Park rangers and TMRU members, were responsible for cleaning all gear and bringing it down to the trail.  Total time from arriving at the base of the accident site to the point where the litter was starting to move down the trail was nearly 6 hours.  The litter started moving down the trail toward the trail head using the wheel at approximately 2:00 am Saturday morning.

The route down the trail was rough but manageable.  Several very narrow bridge crossings required extremely careful movement as there was only room for one person at either end of the litter while a slip would have meant falling  several feet to the rushing creek underneath.  As the night wore on, several other parties began to meet us on the trail and join in on the rigorous effort of lifting and maneuvering the litter down the trail.  TMRU member Rick was one of those late arriving but fresh resources.

The litter arrived safely at the trail head around 5:30 am and the subject remained in the litter while it was moved into the back of the TMRU truck.  Here, further warming and other aid were provided.  The medic unit arrived approximately 30 minutes later.  The subject was transferred to their stretcher and transported to HarborView Medical Center (per the subject’s request).

TMRU and Park staff completed a debrief and Unit members then either went to sleep in the truck, drove a short distance then pulled over to get some sleep, or made the drive home.  The mission was completed at approximately 6:30 am Saturday morning.

Despite the complexity of the rescue and extremely dangerous terrain, there were no injuries reported by or to any Unit members.

Following the mission, it was amazing to see the immediate financial support we received from several friends of the victim. We sincerely thank them for their generosity.

Editorial: Behind the happy smiles on Mount Rainier

A special thanks to the Seattle Times for taking the time to post an editorial recognizing the work put in by all of the volunteers who dedicated time and effort into the rescue of two lost snowboarders on Mt. Rainier in November 2012.

Editorial: Behind the happy smiles on Mount Rainier

Snowboarders stranded on Mount Rainier- from KIROTV.com


Two snowboarders are stranded on Mount Rainier. The two, ages 20 and 21, called 911 around 4:30 p.m. Sunday to report they were stuck in blizzard-like conditions.

The men had winter gear a smart phone and a compass but no overnight gear.

They hunkered down for the night and called Mt. Rainier again Monday morning and described local landmarks.

Twenty-eight searchers are on the mountain looking for them, including members of Tacoma Mountain Rescue and several search dogs.

The snowboarders are likely near an area called Panorama Point, near Paradise, at about 7,500 feet.

Mount Rainier officials tell KIRO 7 there has been 20 inches of snow and rain overnight.

MRNP – Update for Shakedown missions

Originating report from the Tacoma News Tribune: Body found on Mount Rainier identified as Michelle Trojanowski

A spokesman for the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said this afternoon that the body of a woman found Friday on Mount Rainier is that of Michelle Trojanowski.

The 30-year-old Atlanta resident was reported missing Jan. 15 after she and Mark Vucich, a 37-year-old resident of Agoura Hills, Calif., failed to return from was originally called a planned snow camping trip on the Muir Snowfield.

Trojanowski’s body was discovered Thursday [September 7, 2012] by a helicopter crew on a supply flight to Camp Muir. Her body was hanging over the edge of a large crevasse on Paradise Glacier southeast of Anvil Rock at about 8,200 feet.

The medical examiner’s office has not yet identified the body of man found near Trojanowski’s body.

Both bodies were recovered on Friday [September 8, 2012].

Muir Snowfield Search- Mission Report

Berndt Bittlingmaier approaching Camp Muir on an MRA Patrol

TMRU Mission Report
August 16, 2012
Mark Cooksley, STL

We were contacted early in the week of August 13, 2012 by Mt. Rainier Nat. Park to participate in an ongoing search for climbers/campers missing since January 2012. Increased search efforts had been initiated following the early August discovery by a private party of one of the four missing individuals (midway down the Muir Snowfield). I assumed the STL role and Randy Brake joined me as we drove to MRNP early on the morning of 8/13. I left from my house with the TMR truck at 0430 hours in order to meet at Longmire at 0600 hours. We met several members of OMR and CMR (who also brought two K-9 search dogs with them) at Longmire for a briefing from John Meyers (OMR) who would serve as search leader that day. Following this, we traveled to Paradise, where we met members of SMR and gathered together for a final briefing before moving up the paths at Paradise to begin our search.

Teams were divided up and assigned several tasks. Dog teams were instructed to work up slope, eventually ending at the site where the body was discovered. Teams spread out across the Muir Snowfield, beginning their search efforts at Pebble Creek and working up slope. All teams eventually met near the site where the body was found. Dog teams worked that area, triggering digging from searchers and an eventual course then fine probe of the area. No furthers clues of significance were found throughout these search segments. One search team did render aid to a solo hiker who had started to become tired due to intense sun exposure and dehydration. That team eventually escorted that individual back to the Paradise parking lot.

Once it was established that the dogs were not ‘hitting’ on any other clues, all teams turned around, and proceeded downhill, searching additional segments along the way. Again, no clues were discovered. All teams met up at the Paradise parking lot, and several members traveled to Longmire where a short debrief occurred with the Climbing Ranger on duty.
Randy and I drove home and I dropped him off at his house (where I had picked him up that morning). I returned the truck to the Cache, arriving there at 1900 hours.

MRNP Search- Mission Report

TMRU Mission Report
August 16, 2012

TMRU was contacted early in the week of August 13, 2012 by Mt. Rainier Nat. Park to participate in an ongoing search for climbers/campers missing since January 2012. Increased search efforts had been initiated following the early August discovery by a private party of one of the four missing individuals (midway down the Muir Snowfield). I assumed the STL role and Randy Brake joined me as we drove to MRNP early on the morning of 8/13. I left from my house with the TMR truck at 0430 hours in order to meet at Longmire at 0600 hours. We met several members of OMR and CMR (who also brought two K-9 search dogs with them) at Longmire for a briefing from John Meyers (OMR) who would serve as search leader that day. Following this, we traveled to Paradise, where we met members of SMR and gathered together for a final briefing before moving up the paths at Paradise to begin our search.

Teams were divided up and assigned several tasks. Dog teams were instructed to work up slope, eventually ending at the site where the body was discovered. Teams spread out across the Muir Snowfield, beginning their search efforts at Pebble Creek and working up slope. All teams eventually met near the site where the body was found. Dog teams worked that area, triggering digging from searchers and an eventual course then fine probe of the area. No furthers clues of significance were found throughout these search segments. One search team did render aid to a solo hiker who had started to become tired due to intense sun exposure and dehydration. That team eventually escorted that individual back to the Paradise parking lot.

Once it was established that the dogs were not ‘hitting’ on any other clues, all teams turned around, and proceeded downhill, searching additional segments along the way. Again, no clues were discovered. All teams met up at the Paradise parking lot, and several members traveled to Longmire where a short debrief occurred with the Climbing Ranger on duty.

Randy and I drove home and I dropped him off at his house (where I had picked him up that morning). I returned the truck to the Cache, arriving there at 1900 hours.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Cooksley, STL

Injured Skier on Mt. Rainier – Mission Report

TMRU Mission Report November 21, 2013 The rescue of an injured skier in the Panorama Point area above Paradise on the night of November 21st was made more complex when word came to rangers that a snowboarder was… Read More

Learn More

Newsletter Archives Restored

All of the historical newsletters which go by the name Rescue Rucksack have been brought back to life on this site. See what TMRU have been up to for the past 20 years by visiting the new Newsletter… Read More

Learn More
Donate through Qgiv

TMRU now accepts donations through Qgiv

TMRU is now set up with a Qgiv form** and TEXT to DONATE features. This allows anyone anywhere the ability to help us cover our costs of Training and Equipment expenses from Missions. With our new service you can… Read More

Learn More

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