Looking for Those Volunteer Adventurers

Photo by Steve GOLDSWORTHY MSR Team members suit up for a training exercise in the Angeles National Forest.
Photo by Steve GOLDSWORTHY MSR Team members suit up for a training exercise in the Angeles National Forest.


If you like to rappelle out of helicopters, hike through dense vegetation in rain, snow and/or sleet, or climb an ice wall, then, boy, does Montrose Search and Rescue have a place for you.

On March 28 at 7:30 p.m., Montrose Search and Rescue will be hosting a recruitment event at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“We have had these [recruitment nights] before but they aren’t an annual event,” said MSR Capt. John Camphouse. “We feel this is a good opportunity to reach out to the community.”

The MSR Team has about 25 team members, which is fewer than their goal of over 30 members.

The team is comprised of men and women who, on a volunteer basis, respond to calls for help from not only local areas like the Angeles National Forest, but from other areas in California. MSR has distinguished itself as a team that is trained in mountain rescue as well as specialized areas like ice and mining rescues.

“I am honored to be associated with Montrose Search and Rescue,” said Capt. David Silversparre, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, CV Station.

The team members are required to go through the LASD Reserve Sheriff’s Academy, level two, be certified in Emergency Medical Training and trained in mountain rescue.

“At the  [recruitment] meeting we will let [people] know the requirements of becoming a reserve sheriff’s rescue team and the training that is required of them. [Applicants] must also go through a background [check],” Camphouse said.

This June, Camphouse will be with MSR for 30 years. He grew up in Glendale, had read about the team when he was younger and wanted to join.

“I think you get to experience things that the average public does not get to do, like rappelling out of a helicopter,” he said.

The acceleration of the physical challenge is one of the draws for Lynda Daniels, a MSR member for eight years.

“And the satisfaction of finding people and giving families closure,” she said.

Recently MSR members were called out for a missing hiker in his mid-70s. He was missing in Angeles National Forest, his body was found down from a trail in some vegetation. The man’s body was found after sundown, which made it unsafe for an airlift. Team members stayed with the man until the next morning.

On any given weekend team members are called out to respond to missing hikers, or accidents where cars, or motorcycles, are over the edge of the mountainous road.

“I can call upon them and they are on [their way] to the mountain in minutes,” Silversparre said.

He reminisced about a call that came into the station concerning an accident at Big Tujunga. A call went out to MSR and within 10 minutes two members had arrived at the station, prepared their equipment and truck and headed to the scene.

“Within 20 minutes there were 10 more members,” Silversparre said.

Those who become members of the MSR not only get the adventure that most only see on their television, but they become a member of a team.

“It’s the camaraderie and the satisfaction of working with [such professional] people,” Daniels said of her commitment to the team.

There is no obligation to join MSR for those who attend the recruitment meeting. Those who apply must be 21 years old or older.

Silversparre invites anyone who is interested in joining this “amazing” team to attend the meeting.

The meeting is being held at the CV Sheriff’s Station, 4554 Briggs Ave., in La Crescenta.

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