Mountain Rescue

The Western Mountain Rescue Team strives to provide exemplary mountain rescue services, including but not limited to, large-scale wilderness search, high angle rope rescue, low angle rope rescue, avalanche rescue, winter rescue and mountain safety education. These services are offered to the county of Gunnison, the state of Colorado and anywhere mountain rescue services may be needed. 

About Mountain Rescue

No one is too small to help someone else.

The Western Mountain Rescue Team (WMRT) operates under the Gunnison County Sheriff as the primary search-and-rescue (SAR) team for Gunnison County. The team was established in the 1960s by a group of Western students after organizing a search for a missing professor. WMRT was the first college-based, nationally-accredited Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) team in the United States and has continued to be the only collegiate team since 1987.

Team members work with several agencies including, but not limited to, local and state law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, fire crews, the National Park Service, and other SAR operations throughout the state. WMRT is also a club of Western. As a result, the team is considered a nonprofit group under The Western Colorado University Foundation’s 501(c)(3) status. Donations cover a large portion of the team’s operating budget and are greatly appreciated.

Field training

New members commonly put in more than 200 volunteer hours their first year on the team and hours only increase as team members train for higher certifications and participate more in the general function of the team.

Learn more

Join the Western Mountain Rescue team.

Interested and new members should be aware of the following:

  • Membership is not specific to students and community members are welcome.
  • Training includes classroom lectures and field training and scenarios between September and April.
  • Training takes two years minimum, but new members will be called for missions as early as the second month of their first year.
  • New members commonly put in more than 200 volunteer hours their first year on the team and hours only increase as team members train for higher certifications and participate more in the general function of the team.
  • At times, classes and workdays are missed and normal lives interrupted, but it’s a sacrifice that all members acknowledge and wholeheartedly accept.
  • The team averages 40-60 calls a year.

As a club of Western Colorado University, students who join WMRT gain lifelong skills that are rarely achieved through involvement in other clubs on campus. Members have the opportunity to be an active voice on a voting board and are responsible for their personal position and developing a voice on the team.

Gain lifelong skills

Team members work with several agencies including, but not limited to, local and state law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, fire crews, the National Park Service, and other SAR operations throughout the state.

Scholarships

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant. For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Department Information

Mountain Rescue

Contact Information

970.943.7051

westernmrt@gmail.com

Campus Location

1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81230