President’s Letter

November 22, 2022

2022 has been a “returning to normal” for Search & Rescue, with more in-personmeetings and training occurring, rather than remotely as was the “norm” for 2020and 2021. Motivated volunteers have always been the lifeblood of our organization,and we are always looking for a few good men and women to join us. We also do notcharge for rescues, but we do rely on donations to meet our financial obligations. Volunteering with SCVSAR has been our family’s response to this amazing organization,following the rescue of our son and his friends off Three Fingers Mountain back in What would be your response if your life were saved, or the life of a loved one? SCVSAR volunteers attend monthly meetings with their “home” Unit: Alderwood,Everett Mountain Rescue Unit (EMRU), Explorer (ages 14-18), Marysville, OperationsSupport Unit (OSU), or Snohomish. Anyone with any skills at all, and with the right heartand attitude, can meaningfully support this wonderful organization. We need fieldqualified personnel to go on missions; one of our most common missions is a “packout” of an injured hiker from any one of our very popular trails. We need motivatedfield qualified personnel to be trained for special operations units and teams, such asEMRU (technical & snow […]

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Helicopter Rescue Team (HRT) – Recent Rescue & Team Capabilities

Taylor Isabell, SCVSAR, Snohomish SAR Unit Member On a sunny Monday afternoon in August, Ryan Mueller and his party began to work their way tentatively across a snow and ice field at 5900 feet of elevation on Three Fingers Mountain. It was day two of what was supposed to be a three-day backpacking trip that, so far, had gone almost perfectly. The day before, some light rain had blown through, clearing the mountain air of lingering wildfire smoke, making for breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. Ryan, leading the group, moved into an exposed area of the snow and ice field and assessed the conditions. A seasoned hiker, backpacker, and climber, having logged some thirty years of experience in the mountains, he made the call that the snow was too slick and the remainder of his party too inexperienced to attempt the summit of Three Fingers that day. As he turned to relay the news to the group, standing over 2000 feet above the valley below, his left foot slid out from under him. The slip sent Ryan tumbling and sliding downhill where, a hundred feet below where he started, he slammed feet-first into exposed rocks, stopping his fall. After […]

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Where the Rope Ends (formerly known as Be Like Water) Film Update

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. The in-progress film, Where the Rope Ends, (formerly known as Be Like Water) is a feature-length documentary about Nichole’s accident and recovery, with an element highlighting SCVSAR’s amazing rescue mission. The goal of the film is to grow the search and rescue “fan base” and increase funding for SAR organizations. The film got started after Nichole and Director Baylee Sinner met in yoga teacher training in 2017 in Seattle, Washington, when Nichole was still in a wheelchair, recovering from her extensive injuries. For the past five years, over 50+ professional filmmakers have donated their time and resources to help bring this documentary to life.Prior to rolling out the red carpet for opening night, a heavy focus has been placed on growing the film’s fan base, gaining sponsors, and attaining resources for an impactful launch. A new website (www.wheretheropeends.com) has been developed, where fans and partners can learn more about the film and potential […]

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SAR Academy Training

August 29, 2022

Mike Loney, SCVSAR Vice President On August 27-28, Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue held its semi-annual SAR Academy. It’s a weekend full of training for new and returning SAR members to learn and practice the myriad of skills they will need. We cover grid searching, splinting, litter packaging and handling, compass navigation, radio comms, GPS, SARGAR safety, and overnight survival skills among others. Please be prepared for your outdoor adventures. Don’t forget to bring the 10 essentials and always leave a trip plan at home with someone reliable and trusted. Rest assured, whether you’re prepared or not, we will be…

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2022 Terry Tibke Award Recipients

August 15, 2022

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash.On Saturday, August 13, Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR) announced the annual Terry Tibke Award recipient. This year’s recipients are Nicole Donohue and K9 Zane, who received this award for their dedication to Search and Rescue missions. Of the over 400 Search and Rescue team members, in the past year Nicole and Zane are by far our most frequent mission responders within SCVSAR. Nicole and Zane also spent untold hours in training, helping to mentor other members, and doing the not-so-glamorous work of maintaining our rescue equipment. On Saturday, SCVSAR members, families, guests, alongside Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputies and staff gathered for our annual picnic to honor the Terry Tibke Award recipient. Guests enjoyed BBQ hamburgers, hotdogs, and a potluck buffet, along with a bouncy house, water play area, and the Kids Copter for the children. The award was created in honor of Terry Tibke, a dedicated SCVSAR volunteer in the 1960s and 70s, who set the bar very high, and much like Nicole does now, was just always there for every mission and all the training, mentoring, and equipment upkeep. While in his prime of life and SAR volunteering, Terry, tragically, was stricken with […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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