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Crag Rats Search & Rescue | about the organization


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Who are the Crag Rats?

Formed in 1926, the Crag Rats are the oldest mountain search and rescue organization in North America. They are also founding members of the Mountain Rescue Association.

Before the group was formed, climbers from the Hood River Valley were called on in 1926 to search for a lost boy, joining the Forest Service, US Army, and groups from Portland. After several days, the Hood River climbers found the boy and returned him to his parents.

Reporters covering the search asked the men the name of their group. One man remembered a comment one of their wives made when they had discussed forming a search and rescue group. “You ought to call yourselves the ‘Crag Rats’ because you’re nothing but a bunch of rats who play in the crags,” she had joked. “We are the ‘Crag Rats,’” he declared. And so the group was born.

The Crag Rats were formally organized that August. They still wear the signature black and white checkered shirts that they have worn since 1926. The Crag Rats remain active in search and rescue operations on Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, and elsewhere.

Members of the Crag Rats are residents of the Hood River Valley who share a love of the backcountry, the mountains and skiing. Their members come from a wide and eclectic mix of professions. Some members are third generation members.

The group maintains and has substantially restored the historic Cloud Cap Inn, located on the north side of Mount Hood. The Inn has been used as the Search and Rescue base for several significant operations.

The Crag Rats are registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are always welcome. All donations are used for purposes consistent with the Crag Rats 501(c)(3) status. All donors are sent a letter, thanking the donor, and appropriate for tax purposes. Federal Tax ID: 93-60330654

Donations and inquiries should be sent to: P.O. Box 1159, Hood River, OR. 97031


2016 Officers & Committees

Pip Squeak - Secretary/Treasurer: Christopher Vantilburg
Little Squeak - Vice President: Joe McCullough
Big Speak - President Tom Russeau
1st Year Trustee: Stefan Guemperlein   (hut work party)
2nd Year Trustee: Gavin Vanderpool (Cloudcap supplies & wood party)
3rd Year Trustee: Beth Hukari    (annual banquet)
Treasurer: Bernie Wells
Investment & Finance: Bill Pattison (Chair), Ken Lambert, Keith Sheppard, Bernie Wells
Medical Advisor: Chrisopher VanTilburg, MD
Training & Recertification: Kirk Worral, Rick Ragan
Mt. Hood SAR Council: Craig McCurdy
OMRC Delegate: Jay Sherrerd
Hut Manager: Tia Wells
Snowcat & Trackster: Cam Axford, Dennis Klein
Historical: Paul Crowley & Bill Pattison(Co-Chairs), Craig McCurdy, Ned Marshall, KirkWorrall
Cloudcap Restoration & Stewardship: Bill Pattison (Chair), Bernie Wells, Todd Wells, Kevin Slagle
News Rat: Christopher Van Tilburg
Web Rat: Stefan Guemperlein


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