While returning from a mission recently, a member of our SAR team mentioned the Mountain Rescue Association. The name rang a bell, and I recalled including their site in the SARstories directory. My teammate said he supported the idea of our team applying, training and testing for membership. So, when I returned home, I went to the MRA website to refresh my memory.
The Mountain Rescue Association, established in 1959 at Oregon's Mount Hood, is the oldest search and rescue association in the US, now comprised of more than 90 member units in the US, Canada and abroad. Membership is not available to individuals, only to SAR teams, most of which are made up of volunteers.
According to the MRA website, in order to qualify for membership teams "must pass three different tests based on guidelines drawn up by the Association. These tests are conducted on appropriate terrain by at least three current MRA teams working together to evaluate the applicant group being tested. The tests involve high-angle rescue (rock rescue), Ice and snow, and wilderness search." Accredited teams have to be re-tested every five years to maintain their membership.
While perusing the website, I came across some recent mission reports by MRA team Portland Mountain Rescue, including one about a recovery on the Elliot Glacier Headwall. Click here to check it out.
There are eight Mountain Rescue Association regions in the U.S., including twenty-four states and the District of Columbia. To find out if your state is included and see a list of member teams in those areas, go to http://www.mra.org/teams/index.php.