On the Memorial

Entries in West Valley SAR (24)


2015 MRA Re-Accreditation

To be a fully accredited member of the Mountain Rescue Association a search and rescue team must pass a test in each of three disciplines: Technical rope rescue, snow and ice rescue, and wilderness search and tracking management that includes an ELT search. To maintain accreditation, each team must pass a re-accreditation test every five years. The California Region of the MRA has chosen to follow a re-accreditation cycle of every three years, so each year California teams test in one of the three disciplines. This year was technical rope rescue, and it was hosted by Sierra Madre Search and Rescue in Joshua Tree National Park. Next year it will be snow and ice, and Inyo County SAR is hosting.

In San Bernardino County there are two fully-accredited SAR teams: West Valley SAR and the Cave Rescue Team. There are two associate member teams who are progressing toward full accreditation. Wrightwood SAR has completed the search and tracking accreditation, and San Bernardino Mountain is preparing for their technical rope rescue accreditation.

My team improved dramatically during our quest toward full MRA accreditation. We firmed up our leadership, honed a few new skills, and became a more effective resource for our region. I highly recommend accepting the challenge. It will be difficult, and time consuming, but you will be better for it. Broadening your SAR involvement with teams throughout the state and country is an inspiring endeavor. You learn that many teams struggle with the same issues, and may have helpful solutions. It is an extrememly helpful network. Also, if you think you are too small, keep in mind that we did it with a roster smaller than 15.


Cave Team and West Valley SAR Complete Snow/Ice MRA Reaccreditation

On March 2nd, the California Region of the MRA came together in June Lake, CA to re-accredit member teams in alpine rescue (snow and ice). This year the event was hosted by Montrose SAR on the slopes of the closed-for-the-season June Lake ski area. West Valley SAR and the Cave Team successfully completed their reaccreditation that included an avalanche beacon search and technical litter evactuation of an injured person.

Each year the Califonia region of the Mountain Rescue Association meets to complete the re-accreditation of its member teams. A fully-accredited MRA member team has completed an accreditation test in each of three disciplines: search and tracking, snow and ice rescue, and technical rope rescue. To maintain accredited status, each team must successfully re-accredit every five years in each of these disciplines. The California Region re-accredits member teams every three years. That is, every year there is an accreditation in one of the disciplines, and this continues in a rotating manner. This allows for events such as those last year where there wasn't enough snow to complete the snow and ice test, but still enables teams to maintain their five year accreditation.

Associate member status is also available. As an associate member, a team must complete and maintain accreditation in at least one discipline. For example, the Cave Team was an associate member in technical rope rescue for nearly a decade before pursuing full accreditation. The only differentiation between associate and full membership is the patch and the ability to vote. I highly recommend that every team pursue accreditation in at least one discipline, as my team greatly improved as part of this process. I think the search management and tracking accreditation is the best first step for most SAR teams.


Run for Rescue and Safety Fair

Only a few more weeks left to train for West Valley SAR's annual "Run for Rescue". The USTAF-sanctioned event is April 27 at Chaffey College. There are 5K and 10K courses available as well as a "kiddie" course. For your post-run cool down, you can check out the concurrent safety fair. Registration is now open, and you can find information and an entry form at


David Metzler of West Valley SAR Loses Battle With Cancer

On behalf of the West Valley Search and Rescue Team I am writing to inform you that our long time teammate and friend, David Metzler, passed away on Monday, October 1st.  David had been with our team for nearly 15 years and courageously battled cancer for the last two years. 

 David had a knack for always finding the latest and greatest gear at the best possible price. Whenever he found something new, he would always purchase extras that he would bring back and share with his teammates.  David has a special affinity for flashlights, and as such, many of us will be bringing a small flashlight as a tribute.  Please feel free to do the same if you choose to attend.  David will be sorely missed by all.  

 David's memorial service will be this coming Friday, October 5, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church.  9135 Banyan St., Alta Loma, CA  91701 - phone:  909-980-9404.

 There will be a reception at David and Christine’s home immediately following the memorial service. 

 The following was written by Christine Metzler:

 I am requesting in lieu of flowers, if anyone wishes to donate in David's memory to the West Valley Search and Rescue Team, you may do so at the address below.  These men and women have been a tremendous support to both David and myself over the last few weeks (as all of you have) and I know this would please David tremendously.  Those that knew him - knew this volunteer organization was near and dear to his heart.

 Thank you again for all the love, support and prayers.

 Much Love,


West Valley Search and Rescue
8780 19th St., PMB 475
Alta Loma, CA  91701

You may also donate on their website.

If you can attend Dave's memorial service this Friday, Dave's wife Christine would appreciate it, if you could wear your SAR uniform.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  Robert Gattas


West Valley SAR Member Quoted in Local Paper

Colleen Alton of West Valley SAR is quoted in a recent piece in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Read the details.


TRBC 2011 Weekend #1

!2 SAR members representing SB Mountain SAR, West Valley Posse, West Valley SAR, Wrightwood/Phelan SAR, and the Cave Team spent the first of two weekends deeply entrenched in the art and science of technical rope rescue. The next weekend session includes plenty of rescue scenarios followed by a written and practical exam. During the interim weeks, the students are busy studying and practicing for these events.



West Valley SAR: Run for Rescue

West Valley SAR's "Run for Rescue" and Safety Fair is April 30, 2011 at Chaffey College. This is a USTAF-sanctioned event. Download the flyer for more info.


Recent PVS Graduates Demonstrate Rope Prowess

SB Mountain SAR , along with members of the Cave and Technical Rescue Team, and Wirghtwood/Phelan SAR, hosted a 6 evening personal vertical skills course. members from Rim of the World SAR, West Valley SAR, West Valley Mounted Posse,  and Dave Nicolet himself, also attended the course. 

West Valley SAR and The Cave Team Successfully Complete Recert

On Saturday, March 6, all MRA-accredited rope rescue teams in California converged on the Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine to demonstrate their rope rescue skills. The Cave Team and West Valley SAR participated in the event as part of their annual MRA recertification. Fully-accredited MRA teams must pass an annual recertification in one of the three disciplines: technical rope rescue, search and tracking, and winter/alpine rescue. This year's event was hosted by Ventura County SAR.

View CRMRA 2011 Recert in a larger map

Each team provides two evaluators and a victim, who are used in the evaluation of other teams. For example, one of our evaluators proctored the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit's test, while the other evaluated Sierra Madre SAR. After an hour-long evaluator training session, there was a short briefing, and the teams made their way to the testing locations.

The typical scenario involves a patient raise and lower with careful attention to the medical care provided. Due to the terrain in the region, it was necessary to perform a number of operations to move the victim to an appropriate location. The evaluators assess 6 areas: Leadership, Operational Plan, Communications, Safety, Medical, and Technical. Each of these areas are assigned a score of 1-3, and a minimum passing score is 12. At the conclusion of the scenario, the evaluators debrief the team, and provide the score. If a passing score is not received, then the team must re-test at a later date.

Ventura County SAR finished the day with a barbeque of tri tip and chicken, which tasted great after a day in the field. Organizing such an event is a lot of work, and they did a great job. I am continually amazed at the number of well-trained, dedicated, SAR resources that are available to the residents of California. It is truly a sight to behold.


Two Missions on Baldy

West Valley SAR received a call Friday night for some overdue hikers in the Baldy area whose family said that they were going to "walk the creek". The missing 21 and 13 year old were to return at dark, and when they failed to show, their family notified authorities. Sheriff's Aviation was also on scene and was successful in locating the missing hikers in Stead Canyon. Throughout the night, a ground team attempted to locate the hikers, but due to the brush, and lack of response to their shouts and whistles, the searchers were not able to establish contact. At first light, Sheriff's Aviation launched a rescue ship which was successful in hoisting the two hikers and their dogs. After a chilly night, and a short helicopter ride, the two hikers were released to their family.

View Two Baldy Missions on 11/27/2010 in a larger map

Just as the air crew was gathering their gear, Baldy Fire caught a call for an unconscious hiker on the hut trail. The report said that by-standers were administering CPR, and that the patient was not responsive. Members of Baldy Fire, San Bernardino County Fire, and AMR made their way up the trail, while members of the Cave Rescue Team and San Bernardino Mountain Rescue Team quickly joined them after gathering a litter, litter wheel, backboard, and oxygen bottle. 
Rescuers continued CPR and employed an AED, but the collapsed hiker never regained a heartbeat. Sheriff's Aviation returned to the Baldy area after fueling, and lowered a medic and litter. One member of San Bernardino Mountain Rescue Team and one Baldy Fire crew member walked the deceased hiker's girlfriend down the trail, while the remaining SAR members and fire crew packaged the hiker, and assisted in the hoist.