Reporting an Overdue Climber

What is an overdue climber, and what should family/friends do if you do not return on scheduled day.

Climbs are often long and strenuous, take place on Mother Nature’s terms, and are done with safety as the foremost concern. As a result, on some climbs the party may be late returning home. Occasionally, climbers must bivouac for an additional night and do not return until the following day. For this reason it is important that you advise your spouse, parents, close friends, or co-workers of your plans and the proper procedure for reporting an overdue climber. Do not promise to return by a certain time; people have been known to panic when a climber fails to return on time.

Climb leaders have been chosen for their technical ability, reliability, and leadership qualities. They can perform or assist with proper first aid and mountain rescue procedures. They designate someone to notify club officials if the party will be late returning or does not return by a designated time and day. Therefore, if a party is overdue or if the climbing party sends someone out, the proper rescue procedures will be initiated and the families of the party members will be notified.

Family and friends should not call rescue authorities directly if a climber is overdue on a basic climb.  If the climber has not phoned or returned home by noon the following day, they should call the following:  Seattle Mountaineers Emergency Line:  (206) 521-6030.

Please be assured, there are always enough people monitoring the basic climbs and activities that should rescue personnel be required, the student’s family or friends need NOT initiate the rescue process.

For each climb, you may wish to make a copy of this page, fill it out, and leave it with your designated contact. Please discuss this procedure with your contact person prior to going on field trips or climbs.  

Climb date(s):______________________________________________________________                                                                                                                                         
Expected return date/time: ____________________________________________________                                                                                                                                         
Mountain/Route:  ____________________________________________________________
Trailhead:    ________________________________________________________________
Ranger Station:  _____________________________________________________________

Mountaineers Climb   or     Private Climb (circle one)

Climb leader ____________________________Phone Number    _______________
Carpool with ____________________________Phone Number    _______________

Family and friends should not call rescue authorities directly if a climber is overdue on a basic climb.  

If the climber has not phoned or returned home by noon the following day, they should call the following:  Seattle Mountaineers Emergency Line:  (206) 521-6030