HISTORY OF CAMRA/MCSO-MR
We are extremely proud of, and humbled by, our origins.
We owe our existence to three predecessors: the "Climbing Kachinas", Phoenix Explorer Post #1, and the Arizona Mountaineering Club. The collective experience and lessons of our predecessors are invaluable as we continue to build our reputation in the ever-changing world of search and rescue.
In the mid-1940s, a group of veterans returned from WWII and formed a climbing community known as the Kachinas. The group included Ralph Pateman, Wynn Akin, Lee & Ben Pedrick, Dick Hart, Ed George, Ray Garner, and Bob Owens. They made many of the first ascents in and around Phoenix, including several at Camelback Mountain. Because of their expertise, the Kachinas were called upon to rescue those in need in the mountains and on the rocks.
Kachinas Reunion Phoenix Explorer Post #1 The Kachinas begat the Phoenix Explorer Post #1, which taught its members self-reliance and personal growth through climbing. Today, this tradition survives via the PAK (Pateman Akin Kachina) Foundation.
Arizona Mountaineering Club
The Kachinas also begat the Arizona Mountaineering Club (). To this day, the AMC remains a major force in Arizona climbing and mountaineering. Early on, the AMC established a formal committee under the name of the Arizona Mountaineering Club Rescue Team (AMCRT). CAMRA is Born By 1969, search and rescue was changing in the U.S. and becoming more formalized. With the encouragement of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, members of the AMCRT and the Kachinas formed the SAR-specific Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association (CAMRA). The signing CAMRA Founders were: Dick Aleith (authored one of the first books on basic rock climbing), Doug Black (a second generation Kachina and a great welder), Doug helped develop and build early litter wheels and two-piece litters, Marilyn Black (became the first ever female Operations Leader in the U.S.), Floyd Theobald, Ed Helein (developed original equipment and systems) Cathy Helein (sewed harnesses for team members, adapting climbing harnesses to rescue work), and Bill Forrest (formed one of the rare early climbing equipment manufacturing companies). Mountain Rescue Association In 1969, upon incorporating as a non-profit IRS 501c(3), CAMRA applied for full accreditation and membership in the Mountain Rescue Association. CAMRA passed the certification test, and has maintained its credentials as a full-service mountain rescue unit ever since.
MCSO - Mountain Rescue Posse
In the early 1970's, Sheriff Paul Blubaum (1973-1976) asked the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association (CAMRA) to be the official Technical Rescue Team (Posse) for the Maricopa County Sheriffâ€™s Office. Several years later, in the 1990's, CAMRA was asked to use the identity of MCSO-MR for all Sheriff's Office functions. Meanwhile, CAMRA remained as the non-profit 501 c(3) organization, so our current "dual identity" status was launched. All field members of CAMRA are required to be members of the MCSO-MR Posse.
Phoenix Fire Department
In 1987, MCSO-MR performed its last sole-provider missions within the City of Phoenix, and the torch was passed to the Phoenix Fire Department Technical Rescue Team. Since that time, MCSO-MR has been the non-urban Rescue Team for the county, yet continues today to provide mutual aid in Phoenix for searches and rescues, when requested. Present and Future The MCSO-MR Team remains the technical rescue service to the citizens of Maricopa County and Central Arizona. We will go anywhere, anytime for anyone. We will continue to adapt for the improvement of SAR services to the community.
Citizens of Maricopa County and Arizona
We thank you for your donations, your grants, and your support of our Team. And a special thanks to those employers who allow our members to leave work, to help someone in need.