Based in Aviemore, the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team (CMRT) covers some of the highest and most inhospitable terrain in northern Europe. The team’s 43 members are unpaid volunteers, giving up their time going to the aid of anyone in trouble on the hills. All members are experienced skiers and mountaineers themselves and therefore understand fully the dangers and difficulties that even the most prepared of individuals can find themselves in. Great kit is vital for the team and we at Odlo are proud to be the CMRT’s baselayer partner.
Earlier in the season we caught up with Willie Anderson the team leader. Find out more about exactly what is involved in volunteering for the Team within our interview:
How long have you been a member of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team?
What lead you to joining the team?
A love for the mountains and the ability to assist fellow mountaineers in difficulty.
Being a member the Mountain Rescue Team must be very time consuming. How do you balance your mountain and family life?
I don't! It makes a big impact on family life. Fortunately my family do not know of any other life.
As a mountain rescuer – how much training do you do?
One Thursday each month and one Sunday each month. Add to that rescues and days on the hill for pleasure it adds up to a big commitment.
Do you have any tips and tricks on how to best stay safe in the mountains?
Be well prepared and well equipped. Have a plan but still be very flexible if the situation dictates that a change of plan is required. Sometime the weather makes decisions for you. Winter is obviously more serious than summer, so try to get a picture of what the weather has been doing in the days prior to going out. Be well aware of the dangers of avalanche and cornice collapse.
What key piece of advice would you give the public to help them stay safe in the mountains?
Try to get out with some experienced mountaineers in your early days on the hill. An apprenticeship in the mountains cannot be done through books and courses alone.
Why is good kit important and how can it affect a rescue?
For Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team it is essential. We very often work in the most violent of weather that the high tops can throw at us. Quite simply we could not perform to the standard we do with substandard gear.
What’s the trickiest rescue situation you’ve found yourself in on the mountain?
Abseiling down a slot between the frozen ice and at the rock face of a waterfall to assist a guy with a broken femur. We had to throw the rulebook out the window for that one!
What is your fondest memory as a mountain rescuer?
As team leader I am on the receiving end of many nice letters from folk we have rescued. Their gratitude is overwhelming at times. Also, I have met so many very interesting team members over the years. It has always impressed me what you can achieve when a group such as ours all pull in the same direction to help climbers in need of rescue from some serious situations.
What advice would you give others looking to become a member of mountain rescue?
Be prepared to give up a great deal of your free time. Sometimes this can be full on adrenalin or other times a complete bore!
What are the Top 3 reasons to visit the Cairngorms?
Great scenery with adventure