A select group of 2022’s most outstanding search-and-rescue teams are about to get a boost.
There’s the inherent risk in mountain sports, and then there’s the fact that they grow more and more popular yearly. What does that mean for search-and-rescue (SAR) operators?
More missions. Rescuing people who find themselves in dire straits in the hills is not easy or cheap — yet many SAR squads work on a volunteer basis.
So to recognize 2022’s most “exceptional and inspirational” SAR efforts, the American Alpine Club (AAC) and Rocky Talkie are teaming up to dish out $36,000 in grants for this year’s Rocky Talkie Search and Rescue Awards.
2023 Search and Rescue Awards Details
If you’re part of an SAR team that performed above and beyond the call of duty last year or know one that did, Rocky Talkie and the AAC encourage you to apply. Applicants should submit a brief report on an operation that “illustrates the team’s skill level, passion, and dedication.”
Denver-based Rocky Talkie will then divvy up the $36,000 evenly between three winning teams. Each team will receive funding and numerous opportunities to showcase its story to the SAR community at large. The award’s sponsors will also share the news online, and the AAC will publish it in the 2023 edition of Accidents in North American Climbing.
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“The goal of this award is to drive greater awareness of the incredible contributions that volunteer SAR members make to our mountain community. We believe that this awareness is the first critical step towards increasing the support of SAR teams and ultimately the safety of everyone who recreates in the mountains,” the joint sponsors said.
How to Apply
Rocky Talkie and the AAC will accept applications until 11:59 p.m. (no time zone specified) on Jan. 31. Notifications to winners will disperse in February, followed by publicity interviews in March and April. Jon Glassberg, Louder Than Eleven studio founder and cinematographer for Free Solo, will produce a documentary on each selected team.
Community participation kicks in this July when the stories go live. At that point, voting begins for which story Rocky Talkie and the AAC’s audiences find most inspiring. Voters become eligible to win prizes for participation, and the SAR team that wins the “People’s Choice Award” will win an undisclosed extra prize.
Eligibility includes any SAR team registered in the United States or Canada as a nonprofit. The submitted rescue must have occurred in the 2022 calendar year, and volunteer SAR members must have participated.
Check out last year’s winners below, and start writing your rescue reports — $36,000 will not award itself.