Who are the
We are America’s oldest Search and Rescue organization, formed in 1926. We are also a charter and current member of the Mountain Rescue Association, America’s national organization overseeing mountain rescue techniques and certification. The Crag Rats is an all volunteer, non-profit, organization based out of Hood River, Oregon and covers Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge. We also have mutual aid agreements with our regional peer groups in Oregon and SW Washington.
History of the Crag Rats
In 1923, a group of Hood River Valley residents, who frequently climbed together, were called out to search for a lost boy, their first informal search and rescue mission. In 1926, the climbers were again called upon to search for another lost boy on Mt Hood, joining the Forest Service, US Army, and mountaineering groups from Portland. After several days, these Hood River climbers found the boy and returned him safely to his family, whereupon reporters asked the men the name of their group. These men were not officially organized as a group, but under the spotlight of a media interview, they recalled the tag one of the wives hung on the them for their frequent mountain ventures to climb amongst the crags, thus declaring themselves the Crag Rats.
The Crag Rats soon became well-known regionally and nationally for their search and rescue accomplishments, and were a charter member of the national Mountain Rescue Association in 1959. The Crag Rats still wear their signature black and white checkered shirts, adopted in the 1920’s, and remain very active at their primary focus of search and rescue on Mt Hood and in the Columbia Gorge.