Safety Education
 · Brochure Series
 · Safe Climbing & PLB's
 · Climbing Season Tips
 · Mountain Safety Videos
 · Request a Presentation

 Member Services
 · Members Only Site
 · Event Calendar
 · Document Downloads

 Press Room
 · News Headlines
 · Mission Summaries
 · Photo Gallery
 · Mt Hood Virtual Tour
 · Mountain Safety Videos
 · Newsletter

 · Search & Rescue
 · Climbing & Hiking
 · Snow Sports
 · Weather & Avalanche
 · Live Cameras

 About PMR
 · What Is PMR?
 · Our Mission
 · Team Structure
 · Board Members
 · How to Get Involved
 · Application Process
 · Kent Swanson, Jr.
 · FAQ's

 Contact Us
 · Phone Numbers
 · E-Mail Addresses
 · Make A Donation

 Home Page

Locator Beacons and Portland Mountain Rescue's Four Elements of Safety

Weather, snow and avalanche conditions are vital data that you must gather before you go: no exceptions.

Mt. Hood:

Quick forecast for any mountain worldwide:

There is no substitute for awareness of where you are and where you will be. Bring your GPS, map and compass. More info below.

Mt. Hood Route Descriptions from

Oregon Cascades Forum from

Mt. Hood South Side Landmark Map

If you know your trip’s route, conditions, and timeframe, you can determine what you need to bring. Climbers on Mt. Hood, even in excellent weather, should be equipped with the “10 Essentials” on every outing, as their lives may depend on it.

Also learn about The Cell Phone as a Rescue Resource

PMR's 10 Essentials include:
  1. navigation tools (map, compass, GPS, and knowhow)
  2. skin and eye protection (sunscreen, goggles, sunglasses)
  3. extra clothes (gloves, hat, insulated jacket)
  4. extra food and water (for at least one day)
  5. a light source (headlamp or flashlight, extra batteries)
  6. first aid kid
  7. signaling devices (whistle, cellphone, Mountain Locator Unit, PLB or SPOT)
  8. shelter (tarp or bivy sack, closed cell foam pad, aluminum snow shovel)
  9. stove and fuel, weatherproof matches or lighter
  10. and ... common sense

Locator beacons are a part of your 'backup plan'. To increase the likelihood that you will be found alive, bring that beacon, as well as:
-- Leave an itinerary with someone who can contact authorities if you’re overdue.
-- Bring what you will need to keep you fed, warm, clothed and hydrated if you have to stay out for an extended period of time. [Examples of such gear include emergency bivouac equipment (stove, tent, fuel, bivvy sac), flares, extra batteries, and first-aid equipment.]
-- Ensure that those traveling with you are prepared for the trip and know how to safely travel in the backcountry.

See below for information on using locator beacons as tools for backcountry emergency preparedness and read Locating Beacons Explained

Mountain Locator Units: Click here to learn how to get one, how they work and more detailed information about their use, as well as their limitations. MLU's can be rented from the Portland REI store, or from the Mountain Shop.

Please remember:
-MLU’s are specific to Mt. Hood
-An MLU is a homing device, not a means of sending a distress signal.

Personal Locator Beacons: Click here to learn how to get one and how they work. Please note that PLB's must either be purchased or rented online. Use the code MTHOOD any time during the winter season to rent a PLB for $5 from the website we linked to above (, and remember that they must be rented in advance and will be shipped to you.

Home | Safety Education | Member Services
Press Room | Links | About PMR | Contact Us

© 2001- Portland Mountain Rescue
P.O. Box 5391
Portland, Oregon  97228-5391
Phone: 503.222.PMRU (7678)

Important Information: PMR is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and education.  PMR receives no government funding and members are neither paid nor reimbursed for their services.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to our organization, please call us at the phone number above or send e-mail to . Thank you very much for your consideration.

The PMR logo is a Servicemark of Portland Mountain Rescue.  Using this or any material from this site without prior consent from the PMR Board of Directors is prohibited.  All rights reserved.

We welcome comments and questions regarding this website and our operations.

Website is maintained courtesy of MosaikWebMosaik Web.

Privacy Policy


Portland Mountain Rescue's FOUR ELEMENTS of SAFETY:
-KNOW the conditions
-KNOW your route

Locator beacons are a valuable search tool, and Portland Mountain Rescue encourages their use. However, please remember: locator beacons do not guarantee a life-saving rescue. They are not a substitute for training or survival gear. Locating Beacons Explained

At-a-glance information about locator beacons:

MLU's are specific to Mt. Hood, and are activated by the carrier of the MLU in case of emergency. MLU's do NOT notify authorities of your situation. You or someone you know must call to activate the emergency response system.


Personal Locator Beacons (PLB's) use satellite technology and will automatically contact authorities with your GPS coordinates. They are not available locally for rent. Advanced planning for your trip is needed if you wish to use this type of equipment.