SCVSAR New Members

November 8, 2021

Taylor Isabell, SCVSAR, Snohomish SAR Unit Member I first walked into Taylor’s Landing on a Wednesday evening in November of 2018 with no idea of what to expect. I remember looking around the room at display cases full of plaques and trophies, lifesaving awards on the wall, and a big banner, obviously handmade, that read “Thank for you for saving our friend.” I remember that seeing the physical reminders of the sweat, hard work, grit, skill, and dedication made me feel small, but also made me feel grateful for the opportunity to serve with SCVSAR. After three short years with the organization, that feeling is unchanged. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, I spent a precious afternoon out of the house in early spring driving up to local trailheads to see what their utilization looked like. I was expecting them to be busy but was blown away by what I saw. It looked like you’d have to park so far away, you’d double your mileage just getting to the trailhead! If you’ve followed us over the last 18 months, you know this led to an unprecedented and difficult rescue season. But, with call volume way up, recruitment went way, […]

Read More

President’s Letter – November, 2021

The Three Fingers Mountain rescues this year, on October 10 -11 and earlier on August 8, remind our family of our own Three Fingers Mountain rescue back on August 26-27, 2008. Our son was one of the three teens whose life was saved on that mission. The 20 hours we spent at the SAR Base Camp was our family’s first introduction to these amazing heroes of Search & Rescue. What would be your response if your life was saved, or the life of a loved one? Volunteering with SCVSAR has been our family’s response to this amazing organization. The documentary film, Be Like Water, that will be released in the upcoming months, is Nichole Doane’s contribution “towards the unrequitable debt she owes to SAR for getting her out alive”. 2020 and 2021 have been “interesting” years for Search & Rescue. The COVID-19 restrictions have significantly affected how we operate; most of our meetings have been done via Zoom; our in-person trainings were often suspended until we received permission from the State SAR coordinator to resume trainings with COVID protocols in place. While our mission tempo has been significantly above average, with many folks escaping to the outdoors for relief, new […]

Read More

Be Like Water Film Documents a SCVSAR Rescue at Wallace Falls

Nichole Doane was rappelling down the 265-foot waterfall at Wallace Falls when she unexpectedly lost control, free-falling 60 feet. It was then up to SCVSAR’s ground teams and Helicopter Rescue Team (HRT) to safely extract her off a dangerous ledge while providing medical care with limited resources. Be Like Water is a documentary film showcasing the accident, the heroic rescue by SAR, and Nichole’s personal story of resiliency. This film is Nichole’s contribution towards the unrequitable debt she owes to SAR for getting her out alive. A Note from Nichole: “As a trauma nurse, I witness death regularly. So, when I lived through an accident that was unsurvivable in my professional opinion, I was left with this question on my mind: ‘Why me? Why do I get to walk away and so many others aren’t so lucky?’ Surviving is an extraordinary gift that quickly becomes an enormous responsibility because the very next question that follows is, ‘What are you going to do with this gift?’ This question begs more from life and laughs at all excuses for why we might choose not to live fully and deeply. It demands bravery, vulnerability and unabandoned love. ‘Be Like Water’ is me saying […]

Read More

Return to Three Fingers

November 2, 2021

Over the past weekend, SAR volunteers were again on a mission on Three Fingers Mountain to rescue a hiker in trouble who was caught by the foul weather. Simultaneously, other SAR volunteers were on a mission to reach a hiker trapped by rising water near the Monte Cristo ghost town. These two missions are typical during the autumn when the weather changes for the worse. We see a lot of hikers, hunters, mushroom pickers, etc., who overestimate their ability when hiking and carry inadequate equipment to keep themselves warm and dry. And they underestimate the severity of the weather’s effect upon themselves and their surroundings. No matter how strong or fit you are, once hypothermia starts you quickly become incapable of staying warm and helping yourself. Hypothermia is not prevented by being strong, fit, or “tough”, but by staying dry, warm, and “fueled” with plenty of food and fluids. We at SCVSAR urge the public to, please, be more cautious and conservative with your backcountry trips no matter the weather forecast. At this time of year, the weather can change rapidly and even a forecast of mildly bad weather can turn into severe weather in higher elevations. And always remember […]

Read More

Rescue on Three Fingers

October 11, 2021

Last night and into this morning, Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR) Units and Teams, with help from SAR Teams from other counties, successfully completed a difficult rescue in harsh weather conditions. Below is the press release from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office with all the details. This is the second rescue on Three Fingers this year “SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit and volunteers from Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR) completed a 20-hour overnight rescue mission on Three Fingers Mountain. Around 11 a.m. on Sunday, SAR received an InReach Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) SOS activation near 6,800 feet on Three Fingers Mountain. Two hikers were stranded due to a strong weather system that caused whiteout conditions and heavy snow, making the trail too treacherous for them to continue climbing down. It would take ground teams approximately 12 hours to hike up the trail, so SnoHawk10 was launched with two pilots, one crew chief, and two helicopter rescue technicians to attempt to insert ground crews to a higher elevation on the mountain side. Due to weather conditions causing low visibility, the flight mission was cancelled and the helicopter returned to Taylor’s […]

Read More

Lake Serene Pack-out

August 23, 2021

Last night sixteen volunteers from Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR) Units, along with one King Co. SAR volunteer who was hiking in the area, assisted four Gold Bar firefighters in carrying an injured hiker down from near Lake Serene. The hiker was on the trail just below the lake and couldn’t walk on their own. The volunteers and firefighters carried up medical supplies, a litter, and a wheel to help bring the injured person back down the trail. This is a very rugged trail with many stairs, and even with a wheel, it is a lot of work lifting over every rock, root, and step. SCVSAR encourages all hikers to leave a good trip plan at home with someone reliable, who can report to 911 if you are overdue. We also encourage everyone to carry the “Ten Essentials”, so that if you are injured or lost, you can take care of yourself and stay safe and comfortable until help arrives. SCVSAR responds to many leg injuries that leave a person unable to walk and stranded several miles from the road, often without cell phone service. In our region, the weather changes quickly, and it can get cold and […]

Read More

Rescue on Three Fingers

August 10, 2021

Last Sunday morning, SAR received notification of a 911 call from the family member of a person who, along with their friend, was on Three Fingers Mountain trying to get to the old lookout. They had lost the trail the evening before in bad weather and spent the night on a ledge. They reported to the family member that they were very cold, everything was wet, and visibility was very limited. Members from our Everett Mountain Rescue Unit, along with members from Seattle Mountain Rescue and Tacoma Mountain Rescue, our SCVSAR 4X4 Team, and our SCVSAR Operations Support Unit, responded to the remote location. By use of electric mountain bikes for the first team, and a 6 wheel ATV and Jeep for the following teams, they were transported the 8 miles of closed road to the trailhead near Tupso Pass. The Mountain Rescue teams eventually located the subjects in the difficult weather conditions beyond Tin Can Gap. The stranded hikers were given some hot drinks and food, and additional dry clothes before being helped back to the trailhead and the waiting 4X4 teams, who returned them to the road and to their waiting family members. Our Operations Support Unit, who […]

Read More

Rescue at Barclay Lake

August 5, 2021

Around 1 p.m. yesterday, Search and Rescue (SAR) responded to Barclay Lake for a 40-year-old hiker who suffered a serious ankle injury. SAR coordinated a 20 person pack out team to carry her back down to the trailhead. Once she arrived safely down the trail, she was transported by aid to Providence Regional Medical Center for treatment of her injury. These types of rescue missions occur regularly in the summer moths and they would not be possible without our on-call volunteers with Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue. A HUGE thank you to every volunteer who responded to this mission and thank you to Sky Valley Fire Department for their assistance.

Read More

SCSO Honors Bill Quistorf, Chief Pilot, for 20 years of service

August 2, 2021

On August 2nd, the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Office (SCSO) honored Bill Quistorf with the following release: A huge congratulations and thank you to Chief Pilot Bill Quistorf for 20 years of dedicated service to the residents and visitors of Snohomish County. He has flown hundreds of life-saving rescue missions in the backcountry. We are very grateful to have such an experienced and knowledgeable pilot on our Search and Rescue team! Please join us in honoring Chief Pilot Quistorf for his 20 years of service to our community!

Read More