Picture a Day in December

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Head on over to our Facebook page and check out what we have in store!  We'll be posting a photo along with a tidbit of information about our Unit for every day in December.  We hope that you enjoy!
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Balloon Festival a Huge Success!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Wow.  We were floored by the overwhelming support that we received at this year's first annual Balloon Festival!  The intent is to make this a yearly event, so if you missed out for some reason, keep an eye out for next year's details!

This year's major sponsors:


  • Southern Hills Hospital
  • American Family Insurance
  • SitePen
  • Big Sky Design
  • Thomas
  • Greenspun Interactive
  • 7-Up RC Bottling Company
  • Sunny D
  • HyDrive
  • Carl's Donuts
  • Republic Services


  • And of course a huge THANK YOU to everyone else who came out and enjoyed the carnival, SAR demos, food, and balloon rides.  All proceeds raised during this event will go towards the purchase of vital equipment and training services that are needed to help us support rescue missions in and around Las Vegas.

    Here are a couple of photos from the event:







    We hope to see you again next year!
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    A Little Quiet

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    We must admit, it's been a little quiet on our blog lately.

    As most of our visitors already know, we are mainly comprised of volunteers who not only train twice a month and respond to rescues 24/7/365, but we also manage the website and social networking sites.  We are very happy to let you know that we're in the process of doing a complete re-write of our website.  The plan is to have the new site launched by the end of the year, so keep an eye out!

    In addition to all of this, we have also been busy organizing our first annual Balloon Festival, which will take place this weekend at Southern Hills Hospital.  We are very proud and excited about this event and hope that everyone can make it out.  There will be plenty to do for people of all ages, so come out and support this amazing event.  Click here for the event schedule!

    A couple of weeks ago, our Pilots, Officers, and MR Volunteers were conducting short haul and fastrope missions for our annual certifications at Spring Mountain Ranch.  Here's a picture of the group:


    We received a request on Facebook this morning that we add an archive of team photos to our website. Since we're in the process of doing a re-write, we may just do that!

    Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing everyone out this weekend for the Balloon Festival!
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    Recruitment is OPEN!

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    It's official.  We have opened recruitment and are in search of anyone who may be interested in volunteering for our Mountain Rescue Team!  Visit our Volunteer page for more information and to fill out an interest form.  The cut-off date to be considered for our 2013 Basic's Class is Friday, Nov. 16th, 2012.
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    2012 Flash Floods

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    This year the Las Vegas Valley has been hit hard with Flash Floods due to high amounts of rain. We can't emphasize enough how dangerous flood waters can be. We highly recommend that you stay away from washes during times of flooding, don't drive through water, and stick to dry ground.

    In late August, our Volunteers spent countless hours searching for William Mootz, a Henderson teen who was swept away in a wash on the East side of Las Vegas.  His body was eventually found by rescuers.  William's story can be found here.

    Yesterday, our Unit rescued over 15 people from their vehicles. These drivers drove through water while water levels were low, however, were overcome by water as those levels quickly rose without warning. Video of some of these rescues can be found here.

    Today our Officers and Volunteers are out searching for Calletano Lopez, a Maintenance worker who is believed to have been swept away by flood waters yesterday.   News about this story can be found here.

    When flash floods consume the valley, stay away!
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    First Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012
    We are proud to announce that our Unit is taking fundraising to a whole new level! This year we will be hosting the First Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival to take place Nov 2-4. Mark your calendars and don't miss this amazing event! http://lasvegasballoonfest.com/
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    Exciting New Event

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    For the past year, our Volunteer team has been working on a new event for the Las Vegas Valley. The goal was to not only bring something new and exciting to the local community, but to also raise awareness about the environment that surrounds this bright city along with the safety education that is needed to enjoy the outdoors.

    Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, here's a little hint:


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    Epinephrine All-Nighter

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    On July 3rd at around 8am, two climbers visiting from Ohio made the approach to the base of Epinephrine, a 5.9 route located in Black Velvet Canyon that consists of 15 pitches.  They carried the climbing equipment that they needed for the day along with 5 liters of water and began their ascent.  As the day progressed, they lost the route on several occasions and consumed their last bit of water at 4pm.  As the sun set, they began coming to the realization that they may be in trouble.  By 11pm, they knew that they needed help.  They eventually found a ledge where they were able to get cell phone reception and made the call.

    At 12:30am on the 4th, our Unit received the call and 5 Officers were immediately dispatched to the area.  While they assessed the situation, it was determined that a technical rescue was needed.  Volunteers received the call at 2:30am and met at the Cottonwood parking lot.  Officers began setting up systems while the Volunteers were en route.

    As volunteers arrived, they boarded the helicopter and were flown to Black Velvet Peak.



    One Officer was immediately lowered to the Climbers, which were on a ledge approximately 400 feet below the peak.  After an initial assessment was conducted, one Volunteer was also lowered to help in recovering the two stranded climbers.  Over the course of the next 5 hours, both Climbers were raised back to the peak.  At one point, sleet came down on the team followed by heavy rain.

    The Haul team hard at work raising the last Rescuer to the peak:


    Edge team managing belay and main-line friction:


    The sun rising over Black Velvet Canyon:


    Both climbers were safely delivered to their vehicle and learned that 5 liters of water just wasn't enough and that route planning is crucial, especially in an unfamiliar environment.

    They did, however, do a couple of things right.  They told people where they were going and when they found that they were in trouble, they stayed put and called for help.  Even if they weren't able to get cell reception, their friends knew that they were overdue, knew where they were, and would have been able to call for help on their behalf.

    We're always happy to have a positive outcome!  Stay safe out there!
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    Dehydrated on Mt. Charleston

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Last Saturday, June 30th, two Officers and two Volunteers responded to reports of a 65 year old woman who was hiking the North Loop Trail at Mt. Charleston and was no longer able to continue hiking.  Upon arrival, Rescuers found that after summiting, the woman became extremely exhausted and began showing signs of dehydration.  After receiving medical attention on scene, the woman was extracted via helicopter and transferred to an awaiting ambulance.

    While on the rescue, a Bystander captured the following shots of our team in action and shared them with us on our Facebook page.  We love it when people send us pictures of our missions!

    First Rescuer being lowered to the trail:


    Second Rescuer on their way down with the litter:


    Wrapping up the rescue as the sun was setting:


    Photo credits:  Lois Mills
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    Two Ships in Flight

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    On Saturday, our Mountain Rescue Unit experienced a very busy day at Red Rock.  Not only did we have training, but at one point, our Air Unit helped us with simultaneous missions.  One was the search for a woman and her son who lost their way near Turtle Head Peak.  The other was a body recovery near Jean.

    Here's a site that isn't seen very often.  One of our 500's and the Huey flying back to Vegas side-by-side:



    It's getting hot out there, so don't forget to pack extra water!

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    Ahead of Their Time

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012
    Sandy Young, Shelley Sumption & Donna Fitzpatrick
    There are currently four women on the Mountain Rescue team, which accounts for 5% of its members.  Although it's not uncommon in this day and age for women to be members of rescue organizations such as ours, they often get asked what their role is on the team.

    The truth is that their role is no different than anyone else's.

    All of the LVMPDSAR Mountain Rescue volunteers get trained to do every job.  From working technical systems to going over the edge as a rescuer, all members know what to do and how to handle the situation.  This gives our officers the ability to freely hand out assignments as volunteers show up for a rescue.  Everyone is held to the same standard, so anyone can step in and get the job done.

    In 1987 when the LVMPDSAR Unit as we know it today was formed, three of those original Mountain Rescue members were women.  Sandy, Shelley, and Donna not only knew how to run systems, but they played an integral role in providing medical treatment to each patient that they ran across.  It may not have been as common for women to be jumping in and getting their hands dirty in the 80's, but these women were doing it.

    Thanks for paving the way, Ladies!
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    80 Foot Fall Near Angel Food Wall

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Last night at approximately 6:30pm, SAR Officers received reports of a 61 year old man who had fallen approximately 80 feet near Angel Food Wall.  It was reported that the man had originally lost consciousness, was now awake, and had suffered injuries to his face.

    As the call came in, the Mountain Rescue team was preparing to start one of its monthly training sessions and happened to already be geared up and in the area.

    One Officer and one volunteer, a neurosurgeon, were initially flown by helicopter to the area.  After locating the fallen climber from the air, both officer and volunteer were dropped off about 200 feet above the climber.  As they made their way to the climber, one officer and 7 other volunteers prepared necessary gear to help with the rescue.  Upon initial medical assessment, it was found that the climber had suffered wounds to his face, including his nose and a laceration above his right eye.  Abrasions were also discovered on the lower portion of his back.

    Although winds were extremely high, pilots were able to deposit a majority of the team to the LZ above the climber while two team members were dropped off at a location below.  All teams made their way to the location of the climber where he was treated and packaged into the litter.  From there, the team began a scree evacuation, moving the climber down the Angel Food Wall approach.

    After nearly 4 hours of locating and extracting the climber, the canyon opened up and rescuers were able to find an LZ.  Pilots once again battled winds to remove the climber first, who was delivered to a waiting ambulance located at the Mt. Charleston overlook.  Once the climber was handed off, the climber's guide was flown out along with the rest of the team.  The climber was transported to UMC.

    Here's a video of the night time helicopter extraction out of the base of the Angel Food Wall approach.

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    Mountain Shadow Productions

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Earlier this year, we posted a 1 minute video clip of our Unit that was filmed by Mountain Shadow Productions.  This crew has been following us around for a while now and we have to admit, these guys are incredible!  Not only are they entirely professional and easy to work with, but they've taken up a special place in our little SAR family here in Vegas.  To Nigel and the rest of the crew, thank you for turning out such amazing footage of our Unit!

    Here's the 4 minute version of the clip that was posted:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoZve0ZsNsE

    Follow them on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/mountainshadowproductions
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    SR1 - Gary Sumption

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Help us in recognizing Gary Sumption, SR1, for an incredible career at LVMPDSAR. Gary was a member of the Jeep Posse in '79, was the first Metro SAR Volunteer in '87, and became an Officer in '92. His knowledge, leadership, and character will be sorely missed. We wish you all of the best in your retirement!


    If you'd like to leave a note for Gary or share a story, please visit our Facebook page.  We'd love to hear from each of you!


    UPDATE:  Fox 5 News aired an excellent story on Gary.  You can watch it here:  Fox 5 Gary Sumption
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    Rescue 3 Swiftwater Classes

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012


    LVMPDSAR will be conducting two Swiftwater Unit 1 Classes this year.  This class is open to the public and will be utilizing the Rescue 3 curriculum.  Participants who complete the course will receive a Rescue 3 certificate of completion and NFPA credit (for firemen).

    Classes will be held in Laughlin, NV and will take place on:

    • July 25, 26, 27
    • Oct 4, 5, 6
    The cost of the class is $425/person.  We require a $50 deposit to hold a spot and would like to receive the remaining balance one week prior to to the class start date.

    To sign up, click on the 'donate' button located on the left side of the page and submit your $50 deposit using paypal (if you have an account) or a credit card.  During the payment process, please specify which class you'd like to attend.

    You will receive a confirmation email once your deposit has been collected.

    If you have any questions, please contact us by clicking here and filling out the contact form.
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    Body Identified as Ron Kirk

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Yesterday, the Clark County Coroner's office identified the body recovered by LVMPDSAR on Saturday to be that of Ron Kirk.

    Not only was our Unit involved in this search, but so were hundreds of local residents.  Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ron.

    Further information on this story can be found here.
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    Turtle Head Body Recovery

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    On the morning of Saturday, March 10th, Officers responded to reports of a body found below Turtle Head Peak at Red Rock Canyon.

    A hiker discovered the body while hiking in the area.

    Officers were flown into the area where they located the body, supported crime scene investigations, and packaged the body.  The body was then short hauled to the Charleston Overlook and handed off to the Coroner's Office.

    Although not confirmed, the body is believed to be that of Ron Kirk, a hiker who had been reported missing since mid-January.

    Initial News reports can be found here.

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    North Loop Trail Rescue

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    On Tuesday, February 21 at approximately 1200 hours, LVMPDSAR received reports of a man who had gone snowshoeing up the south loop trail and decided to try to short cut the north loop trail until he ended up on the cliff bands below the ridge.

    Two pilots and three Officers flew in the Huey to the area and located the uninjured victim at 1245.

    One Officer was lowered via hoist to the ground where he was able to prepare the victim in the Bauman Screamer Suit for the hoist into the helicopter.

    Once placed in the suit, the Victim and Officer were hoisted into the Huey where both were secured inside the aircraft. The Victim was then flown to a landing zone where U.S. Forestry and LVMPD Resident officers were waiting.

    The victim was located within the vicinity of N 36 16.825, W 115 41.187 at 9600 feet

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    Two Person Lowers & Two Rescues

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Last weekend, our Air Unit and Mountain Rescue volunteers worked together to conduct a training session on the ridgeline of Calico 1 at Red Rock.  The volunteers were split into 3 teams and were placed in separate locations.  Each team worked on various raising and lowering techniques with both one-person and two-person loads.


    Splitting the Unit into 3 separate teams does a couple of things.  It gives our team the ability to work in a tight-knit group and it allows everyone to practice working at each station.  As you know, it takes multiple people to conduct a rescue, so we strive to emulate real-world scenarios in our training sessions.

    As the Unit was conducting its training session, the Sergeant received information on reports of a fallen climber in Calico II.  Since the team was so close, the helicopter picked up two rescuers from Calico I and headed to the area of the fallen climber.  After finding her and assessing the situation, it was determined that her injuries were minor.  Fire crews completed the assessment and treatment as rescuers left the scene.

    As Mountain Rescue volunteers left Sunday's training session, a second call came in from dispatch.  This time it was reports of a hiker who had attempted to find a short cut down the mountain.  He was attempting to get back to his car as the sun was setting, but instead of finding a short cut, he ended up stranded on a cliff face without a way of going up or down.  A team of volunteers were flown about 70 feet above the hiker where they set up technical systems and lowered a rescuer to the ledge where the hiker had cliffed out.  The rescuer placed a harness on the victim and the rest of the team raised both the rescuer and the hiker to a LZ where the hiker was flown out.  No injuries were reported.


    If you'd like to see what a one-skid helicopter pick up looks like, we've uploaded two new videos.  Same pick-up, different vantage point.  Enjoy!

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    New Items For Sale!

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    We have a bunch of new inventory available and ready for purchase!  Head to our store and check out new t-shirt designs for both men and women along with a new sweatshirt design!

    Don't forget that all proceeds collected from online sales benefit our volunteers.  We can't thank you enough for all of your support!


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    Mountain Rescue in a Minute

    Thursday, February 9, 2012
    video
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    Litter Operations & The International Sportsmen's Exposition

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    This month's Mountain Rescue training was conducted at Red Rock and the focus was litter operations.  It was the team's first big training session of the year, so it was time to shake out the cobwebs and get back to work.  For the entire day, team members rotated through the numerous stations that it takes to conduct a mission.  Main line, belay line, haul team, edge person, litter attendant, victim, etc.  Volunteers rotated after every evolution, which meant that everyone had their hands on each station at least twice throughout the day.


    Days like these are always fun.  It gets the team working together.  Skills are refreshed and so is team comaraderie.

    Here's a shot of the entire team at work.  The haul team can be seen on the far left with the main and belay stations located in the middle.  To the right, the litter attendant is working his way over the edge transition with the help of edge people.  Conducting technical rescue missions is no small feat!


    Volunteers are securing a mock victim into the litter and attaching both the main and belay lines to the litter.  Before the victim is sent over the edge, a safety officer runs through everything to ensure that everything is attached correctly.


    Belay station attendant ready to start the operation.


    Members of the Mountain Rescue Unit will be manning a booth at the International Sportsmen's Exposition this Thursday through Sunday.  The Expo is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is located at 3150 Paradise Dr.  Come down and say hello!

    It's $12 to get into the Expo (free for children and military), however, here's a link to receive $2 off of the ticket price.  Use the promo code BLACKDOG when purchasing tickets here.  

    We look forward to seeing you this weekend!
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    Not Enough Info!

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    We do our best to keep this website updated with the latest and greatest at least once a week.  However, sometimes we get really busy and convenience trumps a blog post.

    Not to worry - we'll continue to post information here, but we thought that we'd clue everyone in on alternative sources of information.

    If you're on twitter, follow us!  If you're on facebook, like us!  We tend to send out small bits of information that not only pertain to our activity, but the Search and Rescue community as a whole.

    This information should have you doing a snow dance in no time.  We sure are!
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    We Fly at Night

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Did you know that we are one of the very few teams that will conduct night-time rescue missions? Not only are our Officers and Volunteers ready to roll 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but so are our Pilots. We're able to support these types of missions because of the countless hours of training and dedication that it takes to make it happen.

    In the last couple of weeks, we've responded to a handful of rescue missions that have occurred at night. From a woman falling 30 feet to a pair of climbers with their ropes stuck on a multi-pitch climb, we've been on scene. Most of these rescue missions have occurred while the sun was down.

    Although we're trained to respond at night, we encourage everyone to be prepared while they enjoy the outdoors. There are instances where we're unable to respond in the dark for reasons like terrain challenges or bad weather. For that reason, get outside and enjoy this gorgeous weather, but take enough food, water, and clothing to spend the night in the outdoors in a worst case scenario.
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