Search And Rescue Helicopter

If you get lost in Yosemite, the Yosemite Search And Rescue helicopter and trained team will come looking for you. Each of the United States National Parks have a way of rescuing you if you get lost, hurt or in some kind of pickle. The men and woman on the Yosemite rescue team are some of the very best in the world.

They are trained extensively to climb and repel the mountains, the waterfalls and the granite cliffs. This team goes on over 250 rescue missions each and every year.

With over 4 million visitors a year to this National Park, it doesn't take very long for a visitor to get lost, hurt or stuck and require help. Climbers and hikers get stranded, motorists get in accidents on the two way roads in and out of the park, tourists get to close to the edge of waterfalls and out of shape people take on more hiking than their bodies can handle.

Hikers lose site of the trail and people do have encounters with bears. Tired muscles do get pulled and ankles do get twisted. People also get careless with fires and children wander off when adults are not paying attention, the water is colder and faster than people realize and the hang gliders really do crash into the trees!


Photo by David Pope

There are as many reasons for the Yosemite Search And Rescue helicopter and team to be deployed as there are visitors to the park. A search and rescue helicopter can be called any day and at any time. The most busiest time is summer and fall. Fatalities and serious injury are as common as lost children and trees really do unexpectedly fall down.

Yosemite National Park has its own helicopters, fire truck, ambulance, medical clinic, search and rescue dogs, a trained swift water team and a team that is excellent at climbing and repelling. This team of high sierra search and rescue workers are not National Park Service employees.

They are trained specialist who are on call 24/7. They are paid and hourly wage and make on the average of $4,000 a year. They pay for much of their own specialized training in learning rope systems, climbing techniques and furthering their skills. You may make donations for them by clicking here.

60% of Yosemite's Search and Rescue helicopter missions involve hikers. Hikers who get lost or injured. The duration of a rescue can last for hours or a month. 10% of rescue missions involve those that rock climb.

See Yosemite Rescue Workers Blog



For more Yosemite search and rescue photos click here! Then click on start slide show.

My interesting fact for you: Swift water rescue is 470 times more dangerous than fire fighting.


If you know that you're going on an extensive hike, there are some measures that you can take so that you will reduce your chance for being the center of a rescue.

Here is a list of 10 essential things that you should carry with you in your pack:

1. GPS or map
2. Compass
3. Flashlight or headlamp (bring extra batteries)
4. Extra food (one extra days worth)
5. extra clothing
6. Rain gear (pack waterproof pants and waterproof jacket)
7. First aid supplies (take an extra day of any medication you take)
8. Pocket knife
9. Matches (put in a water proof container)
10. Fire starter (chemical fire starter)

I think you may want to consider these items as well:

  • Space blanket (some kind of reflector or signaling device)
  • Sunglasses
  • Toilet paper
  • Extra socks or liners
  • Head covering (bandana or hat)
  • Duct tape
  • Insect repellent
  • Iodine tablets or water pump (water may not be available)
  • Trash bags
  • "In case of emergency" card (list important names, drivers license, medical card, numbers and medical information)

Hikers Have Some Responsibilities:

  • Acquaint yourself with where you are going and verify with the scheduled leader that the outing is within the participant's capability and experience.
  • Arrive on time at the designated meeting spot
  • Show up for the outing properly clothed and equipped.
  • Leave all trails, camps and surrounding areas in as good or better condition than found.
  • Completely extinguish campfires before leaving your site.
  • Remain in the trip area until all party members have returned unless otherwise agreed upon with the leader.

***Thank you to the Fresno County Search And Rescue team member Dave Calvert for supplying me with pictures and information.


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