About Bellingham Mountain Rescue

Bellingham Mountain Rescue is a first responder agency comprised of roughly 70 volunteers in Whatcom County that come from a variety of backgrounds but share some common threads. We are all expert outdoorspeople that believe in helping others during times of difficulty. We are skiers, climbers, mountaineers, and first responders.

Bellingham Mountain Rescue is dispatched by our Sheriff’s Office to provide first response and rescue in our rugged corner of the North Cascades. This includes areas such as Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, the Twin Sisters range, and the remote Picket Range. This also includes more frequented venues along the Highway 542 corridor, such as the backcountry immediately adjacent to Mt. Baker Ski Area. We are mission ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in all seasons and weather conditions. We can be reached by simply dialing 911, or activated by request from a partner agency such as North Cascades National Park or local fire districts.

Other regional agencies we work with include Mt. Baker Ski Area, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Customs and Border Protection, and Skagit Mountain Rescue, among others…

Our Equipment

We currently operate with two rescue-ready vehicles stocked and stored in the Whatcom County SAR Building near Ferndale, WA. These vehicles are equipped to respond in all weather and road conditions and contain essential equipment for rescue such as medical gear, ropes, mountaineering equipment, and our rescue litter. Each vehicle can transport several team members, too, although we can also respond with personal vehicles as appropriate. Personal equipment, such as backpacks and harnesses, is owned and maintained by our volunteers at their own cost. 

Our building stores other specialized equipment such as Starlink, RECCO, as well as extra wheeled litters and 600′ rescue ropes.

To learn more about our building upgrade, please visit: www.wcsar.org/newbuilding/

History of BMRC

Bellingham Mountain Rescue was organized in 1955 after two back-to-back accidents occurred on Mount Shuksan, demonstrating the need for an organized and responsive rescue team in the area. The team was developed alongside Seattle Mountain Rescue and Everett Mountain Rescue. 

Dr. Charles Eichenberger and Dave Jenkins formed the earliest Council, devoid of any rules or regulation but modeled off of European methods at the time. As time went on and technology increased, the team slowly grew and expanded to match the popularity of recreation in the region. The network of local Mountain Rescue teams in the region also grew and strengthened, eventually forming the nationwide Mountain Rescue Association.