Search & Rescue
Search & Rescue operates under the statutory authority of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Founded in 1972, the Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization; their mission is to fulfill the Sheriff's responsibility to provide backcountry search and rescue services to the county.
SCRG is comprised of approximately 65 active members, seven of whom are mission coordinators. SCRG receives 100 to 200 requests for help each year, and these requests usually translate into 50 to 80 “all-call” missions.
SCRG is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are funded almost entirely by donations and grants; there is never a charge for their services. For more information, visit the SCRG website at www.scrg.org.
SCRG’s missions are fairly evenly spread throughout the year. Summer calls involve lost or injured mountain bikers, climbers, hikers, ATV and horseback riders; lost or injured hunters are prevalent in the fall. In the winter, calls involve lost or injured backcountry skiers and snowboarders, cross-country snowshoers and skiers, ice climbers and snowmobilers, as well as avalanche reports; in the spring, swiftwater accidents and other high water-related calls are common. Search & Rescue also responds to the occasional downed hot-air balloon, crashed hang glider, airplane or helicopter accident, rolled four-wheel-drive vehicle and over-the-edge highway motor vehicle accident. An average mission runs for a few hours, but missions can extend overnight or even into multiple days for extractions in challenging terrain or missing parties that take time to locate.
Weather permitting, Flight For Life medical evacuation helicopters, one of which is permanently stationed at the level II trauma hospital in Frisco, are available to assist in backcountry extractions of critical patients. Flight For Life also assists with aerial searches or rescuer transport in time-critical situations, and also plays an essential role in transporting avalanche rapid deployment teams including dogs, dog handlers and snow technicians to backcountry avalanches.
The National Guard’s High Altitude Aviation Training Center (HAATS) in Eagle, Colorado also supplies helicopter support upon request to assist with air search operations and backcountry insertions and extractions.