Bellingham Mountain Rescue Council History
The Bellingham Mountain Rescue Council was organized in 1955 after two mountaineering accidents occurred on Mount Shuksan within a very short period of time, demonstrating the need for a responsive rescue capability. The original twenty man team has grown to forty members, who since 1963, have been affiliated with the national Mountain Rescue Association. Bellingham Mountain Rescue works with the Whatcom Sheriff’s Office on a volunteer basis. Their primary area of involvement is northwestern Washington State, from the Canadian border to the North Cascades Highway.
A call to 911 is connected to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s office SAR Coordinator and sets in motion an organized series of events. The Sheriff’s coordinator contacts BMRC Operations Leaders, who in turn organize the operation. Unit members are paged using the latest technology and a team is committed. Team members provide all otheir own equipment and arrange their own transportation or coordinate at the Search and Rescue Building on Smith Road. An operation base is usually established at a trailhead, where the SAR vehicles are waiting with radios, first aid supplies, litters and other specialized rescue equipment.
In addition to rescue activities, Council members conduct outdoor safety education programs and train extensively.
Bellingham Mountain Rescue Council’s annual budget comes entirely from individual donations and United Way funding.