Usually when people call us, it’s through the emergency number, and when it’s for Snohomish County, we respond with the permission or by request of the Sheriff’s Office. Snohomish County has a lot of trails without cell service, so if someone needs rescue service by either us or regular search and rescue, there’s a long hike and often a drive involved.
In the case of German Shepherd Mason’s owners, one of them was a ham radio operator and was able to radio for help and request search and rescue assistance from about three miles up the Greider Lake Trail. Mason, who was on a leash, had slipped about 50 feet down a steep slope and was unable to get back up to the top.
The sheriff gave us a call and we headed out. The first set of volunteers arrived in time to head out at 7 pm. They split into two teams. The first were WASART technical rescue team (TRT) members and the second were WASART support members who helped carry equipment. A third team departed from base at 8 pm and consisted of a WASART TRT member and one member from Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR). She was also a technical rescue-trained volunteer.
The Greider Lake Trail is about two miles of mostly flat surface broken up with some dips where large culverts are buried. After the two miles you get to the official trailhead which then heads up into a series of switchbacks. We made it up in about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The first team was able to set up a simple rappel to reach Mason, who had made his way back up a bit, but was unable to go farther due to the terrain.
One of the responders is a vet. He had a quick look at Mason, who appeared uninjured.
We departed the rescue site at about 9:45 pm, and got back to base at about 11:45 pm. We went slower on the way down for safety since it was dark and slippery in places from moisture.
Mason and family headed out. We debriefed and head home with all responders home by 2:15 am.
A big help with this rescue was a ham radio operator who was otherwise not involved as a responder. Thanks to his help, we were able to relay and receive information with our call coordinator, who is the person responsible for making sure we have the resources we need and that we all get back home and are accounted for. Thanks again to SCVSAR, who have been good partners to us the last three rescues for sending out one of their most experienced rope rescue technicians. Thanks to the SnoCo Sheriff’s Office for their continued support of the work we do. Not mentioned here yet is another WASART member who assisted with the maps from afar.
(The photos aren’t great — it was dark, we were occupied with rigging, and sweet Mason isn’t the sort of dog to pose for a photo.)
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