Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nordic Patrol Wraps Up 2012-13 Winter Season

Phil Hertzog resetting a trail pole, photo by Barry Shepherd

On March 31, the Mount Rainier National Park’s Nordic Patrol wrapped up its 2012-13 winter season in the Park.  The Nordic Patrol is made up of volunteers supplied by the Washington Ski Touring Club (WSTC). Our volunteers patrol the backcountry trails of the Park on weekends and holidays.

On a typical weekend, we reset all of the trail poles on the marked backcountry routes and then head out to make visitor contacts.  Our primary mission is to be the eyes and ears for the Park’s Rangers and to conduct PSAR (Preventative Search and Rescue). We often assist visitors with directions, provide trail maps, educate backcountry users on Park rules and check overnight camping permits. Occasionally we also help on searches and rescues. In addition to the marked winter trails; our volunteers can be found up on the Skyline trail, Panorama Point, Mazama Ridge, Reflection Lakes, Edith Basin, Tatoosh Range and Cowlitz Rocks. This season we had 47 volunteer Nordic Patrollers out in the backcountry who put in over 1,081 hours. 

If you are interested in volunteering for Nordic Patrol, visit To join Nordic Patrol, you must be competent in companion avalanche rescue, a member of WSTC, and able to ski and navigate the backcountry high country mentioned above.

A big thank you to the volunteers who came out on Nordic Patrol and made this a safe and uneventful winter season in the Park’s backcountry.

Phil Hertzog,
Nordic Patrol Co-coordinator

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