Submitted by TCISAR
This piece was originally published in the July 28, 2016 issue of the Teton Valley News as part of the weekly Nonprofit Spotlight presented by the Community Foundation of Teton Valley.
It’s a beautiful evening for a late summer full moon hike to Oliver Peak. The 8.4-mile trail near Victor cuts through swaths of wildflowers and offers uninterrupted views of neighboring mountains. Two well-equipped hikers head up the hill. The hikers reach the top, but lose the trail on the way down. They can see the highway, but they just can’t figure out a safe way down. Luckily, they have enough cell phone reception to call 9-1-1.
It is about 3 a.m. when dispatch issues a call out to Teton County Idaho Search and Rescue. Per protocol, this call goes out to all TCISAR members, all volunteers. Available personnel reports immediately to the armory building in Driggs, where TCISAR is based and where rescue vehicles and equipment are stored. Just after 3 a.m. on this morning, four Search and Rescue members gather at the base, then head to the Oliver Peak trailhead. Two members set up an incident command — a station where they can remain in contact with the lost hikers, county dispatch, and the rest of the TCISAR team — and two others set out to hike the trail.
Near the top, TCISAR crewmembers run into a sheep herder and his flock of sheep. He points to where he believes the lost hikers to be, and soon the TCISAR team makes voice contact. When the rescuers find the hikers, at around 7:30 a.m., the travelers are cold but in good enough shape to follow the Search and Rescue team back to the trail and down to the trailhead. Crisis averted.
Rescues like this one on Oliver Peak highlight how much TCISAR means to this community. TCISAR has been serving this valley and surrounding areas for 17 years, and they are the reason quite a few people are home safe with their families today. From serious injury evacuations to disoriented hikers, TCISAR responds to them all. The organization averages 12 rescues per year, which may not seem like much, but for those 12 groups of people, it can be the difference between life and death.
Teton County Idaho Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer team that relies on donations for capital equipment purchases, member equipment purchases, equipment maintenance, and training. The community’s continued support of Teton County Idaho Search and Rescue will enable us to be there when you need us most. Connect with Teton County Idaho Search and Rescue on facebook at fb.com/tcsarid.
If you are affiliated with a Teton Valley nonprofit, we want to hear from you! Help us share why Teton Valley nonprofits matter. Each week, the Community Foundation will highlight a local nonprofit in the pages of the Teton Valley News. Email Dawn Banks, Marketing and Programs Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 208.354.0230. We look forward to helping share your story!