Santa Clara University

Room number: 45

Volunteering for the Portland Mountain Rescue

Christopher Muldoon '02

Christopher Muldoon '02 been a member of the all volunteer Portland Mountain Rescue unit for the last six years.  After living in Prague teaching doctors medical English, Chris moved back stateside in 2005. Having been a climber all his life, he was looking for an active mountain rescue community and opportunity to combine his love for climbing with volunteering. Portland Mountain Rescue provided just the program. 

Chris went through an exhaustive training program to make sure he was well versed in everything from avalanche prediction and rescue to how to extricate a patient from the mountain safely, how to retrieve a victim from a crevasse or rescue a climber off the side of a vertical wall. He has also undergone significant wilderness medicine training and is also a member of a small 911 medical team trained to provided Advanced Life Support in the alpine environment, or in the water, or on fires - really anywhere no one else can go!  His volunteer team has been tapped out for various other counties to assist in search and rescue operations due to the high level of skill in difficult, high angle terrain.

While Chris has been on many of the high profile rescues over the last few years, most never make the news. Sometimes he'll get off work at 9pm and get to the mountain by 11p, deploy to the field as part of a night search and come back ragged the next morning. It's often a lot of long hours, but there is a lot of ground to search on a big mountain. Chris is motivated by the feeling he gets when he helps bring a lost or injured subject home. Seeing the look on a loved one's face, the relief, the joy and overwhelming emotion is why he volunteers for the long hours. Bringing home the body of loved one to a family is also so important. They put in just as much work, with the same level of compassion, when it's a body recovery as when it's a rescue. In 2009, they searched for a missing trio on Mt. Hood. After one body was found and brought down, he noticed that the victim’s family opted to stay and support the families of the other two who were still missing rather than return to the city to grieve. Moments like that keep him motivated to continue heading out into the cold and snow.