Rescue dogs at Yosemite

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

YOSAR is the common name for the Yosemite Search and rescue team. They have socres of dedicated women and men who are often called to pluck a stranded climber off a big wall or help an injured hiker bck to safety. Did you know they use dogs in their search routines?  For over 10 years YOSAR has used about 25 dogs and their handlers for searches.   “YODOGs” can search as much ground as a team of eight people and thus maximize the chance of quickly finding lost people. The of eight people and thus maximize the chance of quickly finding lost people. The dog/handler teams must be at Yosemite within about three hours from the first call for assistance. The dogs train least ten hours a week for two years before a team is approved.

Handler Jeff Wait with YODOG Baron

“Trailing dogs,” follow a person’s scent from the point where he or she was last seen. The search area is divided into segments assigned to each team that seeks any human scent.    YOSAR members “run the trails,” sometimes literally, within the search area, and set up “confinements.” These are trail blocks, lights, and sometimes even lines to contain the lost person. Sectors are identified to confirm that a lost person was NOT in to keep from repeating searches.  Dog teams find victims quickly which minimizes the footprint of a search. This helps reduce unneeded helicopter flights and the large groups of people who might otherwise have to search. This allows more resources to be spread around the park. The dogs are intensively trained not to annoy wildlife. Next time you see a dog with a red Yosemite vest you’ll know “the rest of the story.”


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who, who? Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who, who? “ – The Baha men

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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