AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Rocky Mountain Rescue Group

Rocky Mountain Rescue Group. The group was formed in 1947 by mountaineers who were concerned about the large number of mountaineering accidents in the area and about the way the rescues were performed. For a number of years it was little more than an organization on paper led by a person who had a list of telephone numbers of people who had said they would go on a mission if they were needed.

In 1951, the Group was incorporated under the laws of the State of Colorado for the purpose of protecting individuals within the group and for the purpose of soliciting funds with which to continue operation. In addition to this, it was felt that a central organization might be conducive to the formation of other rescue teams in the Rocky Mountains. For some years nothing was done, however, about starting new units, with the exception of a unit at Leadville, which was formed by interested members and which became a sort of sheriff’s posse and Civil Defense organization.

Boulder, of course, is the oldest unit and has the largest membership. Very recently the board of directors accepted a new unit in Laramie, Wyoming, consisting of 30 or so interested students at the University here. Since it is a corporation policy that each unit member of the R.M.R.G. hold the American Red Cross advanced first-aid card (other than this, each unit may decide its own membership requirements), final action on the Laramie Unit will have to come after a sufficient number of their members have met this requirement.

In the Boulder Unit there are several townspeople, but most members are students at the University. Therefore, there is a rapid turnover in membership. New prospective members come in every semester and the older members graduate. Although accidents in mountaineering in this area seem to be on the decline, new members have a chance to learn rescue techniques through our training program, which consists of weekly lectures and frequent practices in the field. The unit works with the American Red Cross as the Boulder County emergency first-aid detachment, and provides instructors for nearly all of the first-aid classes here. In addition to this, the group conducts a school in rock climbing each semester, which is open to the public. It may be significant to note that since these classes started in 1949, there have been no fatal mountaineering accidents in the Boulder area.

To become a "Qualified” member of the Group a person must, as mentioned above, hold a valid A.R.C. advanced first-aid card, he must have been a prospective member for four months, he must attend three-fourths of the training meetings during the time he is a prospective member, and he must participate in a certain number of field practices which are evaluated on a point system. When these requirements are met, the prospective member is voted upon by the qualified membership, who take into account his experience, skills, and abilities in mountain rescue.

Two of our most recent missions took place on Devil’s Thumb, a rock formation near Boulder, and the UAL plane crash at Laramie, Wyoming. The former will appear in the A.A.C. report on accidents, and the latter has been amply covered in the press and in this Journal.

Raymond M. Batson