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Outdoorsman Moose Mutlow talks to us about his work as an instructor, expedition leader, Search and Rescue expert and Family Liaison Trainer for the USA’s National Parks

Moose Mutlow

March 16, 2022

From instructing, teaching, Search and Rescue to family liaison with a smattering of street entertaining along the way, Action Man Moose Mutlow has definitely been there and done that!

Born in Birmingham, Moose spent some years living in Australia, South Africa and Europe before settling in the United States. Like many future adventurers most of his childhood was spent outdoors in nature exploring and building dens, but it was a trip to Scotland to take part in a survival course that changed the course of his life. Watching the instructors at work was a lightbulb moment as he realised he could actually make the outdoors his career.

Since then he’s directed Outward  Bound training courses in Appalachia and been a deputy Headmaster in the Kalahari Desert, taking middle school students on expeditions through the Australian rain forests and beyond. He’s also worked as a ski instructor and has recently returned from teaching a canoe program to Veterans in the Gulf of Mexico.

Moose has been a senior trainer for Search and Rescue at Yosemite National Park for more than a decade. And if that’s not enough he’s also Lead Trainer for Family Liaison Officers for the National Park teaching services – phew!

Amongst that little lot he’s also found the time to write a couple of books based on Search and Rescue and his work as a Family Liaison Officer. Listen in to hear more about Moose’s amazing and diverse career.

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show notes

FULL transcription

calltoadventure

Just check your levels and make sure it's all coming through loud and clear so looking good on my mic and then can you just tell me what you had for breakfast.

00:07.46

moose

Hello hello I had a fantastic organic eggs from our chickens out the ranch 3 3 brilliantly hardheld rich oat organic eggs.

00:22.36

calltoadventure

For epic breakfast I actually had the same and kept me feeling strong all day. Okay, yeah, looking good on your side. So we're all good I'm just going to press record on the Dslr.

00:28.74

moose

Oh yeah.

00:41.26

calltoadventure

Not forget on Bookie Oaks that's recording levels look good on that one. So let. Off with all that water that I've got left.

00:54.00

moose

Um.

00:58.51

calltoadventure

I could hope so hello hello and welcome to another episode of the call to adventure pod with me George b before we kick off just want to remind you that you can watch a video version of this podcast over on Youtube if you're so inclined search call to adventure podcast moose. So next week I'll be off on the intro to ski touring trip in shamani which is going to be epic I've been looking forward to this one for ages and we'll basically just be learning everything that we need to to go out on our own hut to Hut Trips so lots about avalanche training transceivers glacier travel skinning up all that good stuff. So I'll take loads of snaps and some videos and if you're keen you can follow that on our socials call to adventure official on insta and call to adventure on Youtube if you like the look of it and you want to book on. Unfortunately, there aren't any spaces left for 2022 but we'll be putting on some dates for 2023 so get in touch head over to call http://toadventure.uk if that floats you boat but now on to today's pod so today we're chatting with moose muttlow moose probably has one of the most diverse backgrounds of any of the guests. But we've had on so far when I was doing a bit of research for this I was pretty impressed just how many fingers he's got how many pies he's got his fingers in. So um, here are a few of the highlights. So mos has been part of search and rescue in national parks for nearly twenty years from 2002. He's been a member and. Senior trainer of the yosemite search and rescue he's worked as an outdoor instructor a fishery officer social worker bar manager and principal at an elite sporting academy as if that wasn't enough moose is a nationally recognized family liaison trainer officer trainer and Swift Water Rescue Practitioner more than two thousand days of outdoor instruction under his belt and he's also the author of 2 books when accidents happen and searching for his full-time job now though he project manageages the construction of a $52000000 school for environmental science in Yosemite. So I'm sure you'll agree 1 hell of a resume so without further ado.

03:07.88

moose

Oh thank you very much for having me on the show. Um, it's It's fun to be to to someone back in the old country.

03:07.99

calltoadventure

Moose Welcome to the show.

03:15.70

calltoadventure

Yeah, definitely we were having a little bit of a chat beforehand so you live out. Ah so you're obviously part working in Yosemite but you grew up here right? So how long were you were you back in blighty four before you fled to fresh pastures.

03:30.51

moose

I grew grew up in in Birmingham Northern Birmingham and around 18 I started traveling and then went backwards and forwards with college I was down in the southwest at Plymouth and then at Bristol and. Then pretty much didn't come back just kept moving between Australia Southern Africa and Europe and ah and then ended up in the United States

03:56.56

calltoadventure

Very cool. Yeah, you've got a really interesting accent as like a bit of everything like when you said Birmingham you sounded a little bit bromy. But then it's like generally aussie and like a few north american twangs. So real good mix. So um.

04:08.96

moose

They call it mid-atlantic actually that I'll have brits here who will meet me and be like you're not english and aussies are like what are you kiway and south african be like what's going on there and it's Midatlantic. It has no identity. It's just out in the middle of the ocean.

04:26.80

calltoadventure

Okay I like that mid-atlantic very cool and we move normally we kick off with some quickfire questions that either listeners send in or just some quickfire questions that I come up with but today we're going to try something different and this might be an absolute train wreck. But we're going to go for it. So. I have these cards and there's loads of different questions on them and I'm going to pick some randomly and these are just kind of very very random. So some of them do with culture art all sorts of weird stuff. So we're we're gonna give it a go I'm go pick out some random ones. We'll just do them fairly quickly sound good.

05:02.33

moose

Okay, great.

05:05.66

calltoadventure

Okay, cool. So so question one is what music has influenced your attitude to life.

05:15.33

moose

Ah, anything by elgar because it just stirs you I Love I like music that that hits you at the chord and then ah midnight oils blend of of. Aggressive music with Activism That's the thing that I was really stirred by back in 88.

05:38.87

calltoadventure

That was a tremendous answer. It feels like we we rehearsed this beforehand but I assure you that was off the cuff. So what? So what? what type. But you said it's progressive like is there anything that I'll know that that it sounds a bit like.

05:55.86

moose

Feds are burning is like it was their biggest hit and it and it talked about aboriginal land rights and the idea that the the first people the indigenous people had lost so much and that's the story about wildland it's the story about conservation is. Talk a lot about animals. We took a lot about forests. There were people living there and quite often. They're removed from that landscape and then we go in this great but those cultures have lived in harmony with that wildlife for thousands of years and a part of the system and I like the fact that the writers in midnight oil were unafraid.

06:13.83

calltoadventure

M.

06:25.68

calltoadventure

M.

06:31.72

moose

Tackle something That's very very hard in a way that people from other countries could actually it resonated with them.

06:39.58

calltoadventure

Really cool I'm gonna that I'm glad that that question came up actually I'm gonna take a listen after the show. Okay number 2

06:51.15

calltoadventure

When do you feel shy.

06:54.27

moose

Oh any party I'm a very gregarious person who likes a good story but I'm a total warflower and I just would just move off to the darkest corner and just sort of sit there and then hope that the. Social tide will wash somebody up next to me that I can engage with a lot of my job right now is I have to be very forward and talk with contractors and negotiate things and when I have an opportunity to just shut down I'll become introverted.

07:25.50

calltoadventure

Well I'm going to ask you for some of your best stories later ones that you you mention you like telling a good story so we'll we'll delve into those last one.

07:39.40

calltoadventure

Are you good at saying you're sorry.

07:43.56

moose

Oh I can be better I think I think but I can always be better. There's this saying sorry and meaning it ah is about letting letting go and being able to listen to the other person and sometimes. Something can be so egregious that you that I can't let go and it takes time So it's It's a practice I think we assume that you can say those words and everything's better, but it's There's a much deeper emotional ah aspect of it that you you can you can Harbor stuff and as you get older. I Think you realize it's not worth it and you work through those things.

08:24.87

calltoadventure

Yeah, it's kind of part of the maturing process of life isn't it like when you realize that you can let go of those things and that it doesn't aid you to hold onto them I can't remember what it is that there's ah, there's a buddhist saying about something like not not forgiving people. Is a bit like trying to burn them with a coal that you're holding I've done a terrible job and really paraphrased that maybe you know it. But um, but you kind of know what I mean it's ah somebody will be listening to like that just like you Idiot that is not what it says at all, but it's it's something similar and the point is that. You know you might hold onto this thing but it's really doing you a lot more damage than it's doing the person that you're holding it against. So yeah, it's ah it's an interesting one but certainly easier said than done. So.

09:09.72

moose

I actually apologized to an employer once probably 15 years after an event had happened and I'd been ah, a total totally out ofline and I apologized this person and it was great because they just let me in I have no recollection of that incident and I had held onto it. 15 years and I was sitting in their carpolog and being I was so unfair they they literally and no red. They didn't register at all and I carried that for 15 years and they had successfully just moved on because it was a not. It was nothing.

09:42.15

calltoadventure

There we go that was the perfect illustration of what I butchered what I was trying to get at. So yeah, so move you obviously have spent kind of your life in the outdoors. How did you get into it So you mentioned that you grew up here. Um, and then. So yeah, what was your kind of like journey into the outdoors.

10:03.10

moose

So well a we had a garden. We had a big garden when I was growing up and and lots of places to play in that garden have let your imagination run wild and then we were right next to a place called Sutton Park which is one of the largest protected parklands in Britain. And it had lakes and places to ride your bikes and rhododendrons and forest and it was a place that we grew up playing as kids and so you had that introduction really early to being around water or to open space and then it I was in the cub scouts and I learned how to. Cook and camp and then as it just kept going. There was a moment I was at survival camp up in the northwest of Scotland ah and found out that you could have a career in the outdoors I met these people who were actually instructors and that ah flashbulb really went off at that point and I realized that's. That's kind of where I wanted to go was to be always in the outdoors. It was a good introduction once you once you have some level of mentorship like with your parents who say oh you need to be outside. Ah that makes it a lot easier and we didn't have technologies so there wasn't the distraction of a digital reality who you had. You had real reality and I'm very I feel very fortunate to have had that.

11:26.56

calltoadventure

Yes, it's really interesting now like coming of the age of having kids and I'm quite ah I guess adamant about letting my kids have a upbringing that is kind of in the real world. And um I I think it's about treading that balance but I do think that a lot of kids miss out on so the best part of my kind of childhood growing up being outside all the time playing with other people like really experiencing nature and. Being able to just go and play and yeah I was before I was young before mobile phone so I didn't have that I think it's ah it's difficult because you don't want your kid to be the only one or kids to be the only ones that don't have access to you know technology and then the weird kids in school. So I do know some some people some old colleagues. Who sent their kids to school where there was kind of like all the parents had agreed and there were school rules where none of the kids would have a mobile till they're 12 for example and then and then I don't think they even had to then but you know it's like and they didn't use computers before them. So I think that's a really good way of getting around it because then they're not kind of ostracized. But you also can't nerf the world for your children either. So it's um's a really I think it's a difficult and interesting question but it feels like um they will miss out on the best part of being young in I mean maybe it's just my view but what? what? What do you think? moose.

12:58.99

moose

I I think you embrace technology because they think it brings wonderful. It can bring wonderful review and analysis and data collection. It's just figuring out the the best avenue for that because kids. Kids naturally inquire and they have wonder and they have imagination and if you can figure out a way that they're seeing a bug and they're recording where it is and then they're using a search to see what the bug is and then they feed into a national database of oh this is the first time it's seen this year because we've got climate change and it's coming out in February instead of April. That makes technology really relevant to the outdoors but to fight it is it and to ignore it means you're actually setting your kids up being 18 and stepping into a technology world that they're not prepared for and I think everybody is trying to figure out what the balance is I like the idea with.

13:37.72

calltoadventure

M.

13:50.42

calltoadventure

Mm yeah.

13:54.67

moose

With with young people are saying if you if in Instagram are you taking a picture of you or you taking a thing you're seeing and quite often. We fill the view with them and actually we have to get them to flip the camera and take the view of the ah of the thing that's fascinating. What's fascinating isn't them. View of the of the cliffs or the river or the animal that's fascinating and that's mentorship and and I've said it a couple of times the idea that you you help to guide people in that their discovery of how to use something.

14:25.21

calltoadventure

Yeah, yeah, it's ah I think it's a difficult needle to thread because um, it's a bit like anything isn't it technology is just a tool It's like a knife can be used to cut a birthday cake or end somebody's life. So um, it's. It's ah it's not that the technology is inherently bad. It just may it's becoming increasingly difficult to tread that line. Well when there's things that are purposefully engineered to be highly addictive and they're already massive so you're fighting it if if you. I think if people are going to use technology platforms I mean it's never really, there's some people that it doesn't really work on either I I don't find Instagram addictive at all I can do about 2 minutes and then I can't stay on it any longer but it must just be you know for most people they find it very addictive and the algorithm works and it keeps them on it. So it's it's not even just that we're using this tool that's kind of neutral. It's that a lot of it has been optimized by some very smart people and behavioral specialists and behavioral psychologists to make it purposefully addictive and we know that it's. Not productive and at least to a lot of um, there's a great documentary. The social dilemma I don't know. Did you ever see that one. Yeah did a brilliant job. Really good expose on it. But um, yeah, it's ah it's it's a difficult question and I don't think there are any easy answers. but um but I mean

15:42.21

moose

Yeah, yeah I know I'm more about.

15:52.51

moose

Well, but an easier answer is what social media and those pieces Fulfill is a void whether it's community genuine experience connection the outdoors if it's if it's. Appropriately offered can fill that void for a lot of people because it becomes interesting. It becomes fulfilling it becomes rewarding and it's and it and you do it with lightminded people. It's it's about opening up experiences to a point. Where people have the confidence to step in and put their phones Away. It's It's just a might measure of society that we're we're disconnected ah from the from that world and and we've gone to this connection in Digital. We need to flip it and get back in touch with.

16:33.42

calltoadventure

Yeah I Love that. M.

16:45.10

calltoadventure

M.

16:49.14

moose

Being outside and being safe and kids having playgrounds aren't shut down for liability reasons and landscapes that are designed to enhance play. Not stop people from playing there are societal changes that have to happen.

17:00.75

calltoadventure

Yeah, yeah, I couldn't agree more I love that and we'll we'll move on but 1 last thing that I've got to say some technology that does look really cool is the soloist in vr ah Alex Hunel's new film. Gran's turks made it and I mean I've just talked about you know how we need real experiences and and get away from technology but that looks incredible. The the experience looks so much more real because most of us will never free solo anything and rightly so but to. See what it must be like and the additional kind of depth that you would get from looking around and having a vr ah monitor on and being able to see what it's really like to solo something some of these huge walls must be incredible. I'm really looking forward to seeing that.

17:49.14

moose

And that the the scale of what they're doing as athletes. Ah is it's I I don't do well with height I you know Yosemite is world is world renowned for massive bits of granite and I climbed a little bit I cragged some did alpline roots. But drop me off the edge of one of these big drops and you got two and a half thousand feet looming below you and you're stuck on a little rope and you're doing a rescue training I am not interested in that that level of exposure gives me the willies it just I'm not a happy person.

18:23.95

calltoadventure

I think that's very normal right? Where what? what do they say? we're born with fear of falling and loud noises and being dangled off something very very high like a thousand meters is you're unnatural if you're kind of fine with that.

18:30.68

moose

Yeah.

18:41.73

calltoadventure

and and Alex Honold is probably that real outlier with only a couple of other people out one side but it um it looks incredible if people are interested. There's also a non-vr ah version where renan oz turk films the making of it that's really good. Made by red bull four part miniseries. So ah, yeah, go and check that out. It's called the soloist. So moose. Um, yeah, we talked about kind of growing up and then getting into the outdoors. But then how did you get into the search and rescue side of things.

19:11.36

moose

So just working in outdoor ad like the Lake District and in North Wales you you end up seeing accidents or being around accidents with just people out in the fells or out in the mountains and so you you have that exposure with a balanced team to help. Supplement search and rescue and then when I came to the states we got integrated more into the counties search and rescue set up as outward bound instructors in North Carolina and did a lot of technical carryouts and raises and working around vertical ah incidents. And finally ended up in yosemy national parker in the national park system in the us and once you're in there. There is amazing opportunity. You get to do a lot of stuff if you say yes and really early on in Yosemite I started to have my skills particularly in Swift water as. Something that I could teach in and around and it just tracked me into a multi decade role within the search and rescue team.

20:15.55

calltoadventure

Very Cool. So I mean I would love to work in search and rescue one day I think it seems like a really fascinating Job. What's it actually like I mean the idea of it from the outside sounds amazing. Get to spend all your time outside um doing a very kind of exciting and meaningful Job. Ah, is it really like that. What's was the actual experience like of working in sa.

20:39.35

moose

So it depends like when I used to be on call living in the valley where you have a little pager and you just wait for this thing to go off and you do your job. You just do whatever job you do like I work for a nonprofit and environmental education and then the page goes off and you run. Down to the sacache and you get dispatched out. It's really exciting I loved it. I loved the sort of running out and lights and sirens and grabbing gear running at the trail. Ah, that was really fun and then it's it's sort of got a bit more senior now I just get called in for specific things particularly swiftwater. Recoverers and working with instant command in family liaison work and working with families affected by an accident. Ah, but it's a real adrenaline rush and the thing I love about search and rescue is in this in a bureaucratic world or whatever we deal with There's all this complexity that's going on. And in such an rescue There's 1 thing you have to do like you're completely focused on helping someone and I love the way everybody sucks in on that. So the person getting the pizza the person doing the logistics with a helicopter the person drive and the person cat you're all on the same goal and then you complete it and you leave. And you've done this thing and I love that part of it and the the fact that it it's very ordinary people at times doing something extraordinary but it's it's you can help on search and rescue on so many levels if you could bake a really good cake. You can help because that's ah.

21:58.87

calltoadventure

M.

22:15.82

moose

Fundraising piece if you can if you know how to do social media please replace the 6 year old currently posting because they're just putting pictures up for cats. You know, like that idea you can all contribute is really important and it doesn't have to be out on the fowlet in your uniform. 0 visibility helping somebody out of a car because they made a bad decision going over the top of the past it's there's places for everybody and because so many teams of volunteer. That's they need that injection of new volunteers.

22:47.46

calltoadventure

Yeah, it's really interesting and something that I haven't really thought that much about the kind of ancillary services that go along with it. Um, So yeah I think that might peak Some people's interest if you do want to be a kind of actual mountain rescue though. What what kind of. Path Would you recommend people follow like how do you get in what skills. Do you need.

23:10.56

moose

I well you got to be a good practitioner the more you've been on the water or on the cliff or in the cave the more useful you are if you've done everything within the context of a search and rescue training you haven't built out your own experience. I I think you're. You're limited in what you can offer because it's always seen in the search and rescue context and actually it's going out and having your own a benches which builds the real risk management and the intuitive skills. So I encourage people not necessarily to chase the certification but just chase their own adventure to go out there and. Do a really long hike or go out and do some class 2 boating or go and explore a cave with a local caving group that is more of a social event than aertification. The only certificate I say to people go and get and in the United States is kind of the most valued is some level of. Ah, first aid like a wildness first responder which I think it's a 40 hour class we have a wilderness emergency medical technician which is a month long program. Those actually gives you good skills to help when you're dealing with somebody who's down and you're doing compressions on the trail and trying to run the aed. That's one that I the most valuable certificate ever got was that but everything else its experience because that's that's that's what you rely on to make good intuitive decisions.

24:26.24

calltoadventure

M.

24:36.73

calltoadventure

Yeah I would love to do wilderness first aid course actually do you know what? it's called in the Uk.

24:43.12

moose

I think there's a wilderness first responder in the uk and there's wilderness advanced first aid it's and you look at the length of the course like an eight day course is kind of the is the responder and the four days the advanced first aid and I ended up writing ambulance and.

24:48.30

calltoadventure

Yeah, yeah.

25:00.80

moose

The reason I got through theance qualification was because of my eight day willness first responder because it taught me triage so figuring out who's got the most injury. What I what can I do and it taught me really good patient care and that that's your. If you can if you can make a connection with a patient who's injured and have them have confidence in you your ability to manage them through a rescue is much greater. They need to know that when you're just starting to pump and full of drugs and they look at you and they go is this gonna make a difference. You're like it makes a difference to 90% of the people because.

25:24.91

calltoadventure

M.

25:34.90

moose

Morphine has a really good effect on most people on pain management but they might be that person who it doesn't work on you. You need to figure out where your option is going forward after that.

25:42.79

calltoadventure

Um, so you've obviously seen lots of things go wrong in the outdoors. What things do tend to go wrong and what should people be aware of when they're going out and about.

25:55.33

moose

I there's I think people overestimate their ability and underestimate the challenge I think that's quite often where it goes wrong is somebody has a but they yeah they've they've they've looked at this thing on the tv Andre like I'm gonna give that a go that looks great and it is great until it goes wrong and.

26:03.56

calltoadventure

Story of my life. Ah.

26:15.14

moose

I I think that the it's that it's the idea of cascade effect is very little things early on the add up quite often to the cause of the injuries so you might for us in yoseite people come from sea level and they come up to four thousand feet and then they try to go to 7 and eight thousand feet in less than 24 hours and they wonder why they feeling weak and lightheaded and it's a combination of not getting enough sleep not acclimatizing and then becoming dehydrated so it's it's really simple things go from either completing the hike or being helicoptered out and then there's the.

26:50.19

calltoadventure

M.

26:53.85

moose

Just people because they're they haven't had the exposure to the outdoors don't necessarily think through the consequences of if they fall in the river what's going to happen. They got it. They've reached down to touch the water because it was snow a few hours ago it's just pumping and it's it's a great location for a photograph and they slip in and they're gone because they're in a class 6 water. It's snowel. They went straight underwater. They took a really big hit that knocked all of the air out of them and they're drowned in 30 seconds and pinned and we get them out two weeks later and they. They would have no concept that what they did was dangerous because they they've been so divorced from that that outdoor exposure.

27:39.28

calltoadventure

yeah so I think yeah I think it's really interesting to see this trend I think more people are getting into the outdoors now which is amazing. Maybe partly. Um. Who knows how much like due to kind of social media and people wanting to get out there and also just other types of media as well popularizing for example, climbing's become a lot more mainstream lot more popular and see more and more people getting out. Um and even just hiking lockdown I think was probably a bit of a spur back here in the uk anyway for a lot of people going to. And doing Ben Nevis and we've just unfortunately had some more fatalities last week on on Ben Nevis I think 3 fatalities and 2 different events. Um and a lot of people sleep on the mountains in the uk because they're not very high right one thousand three hundred meters it's um and ah Ben Nevis and that's kind of our highest 1 and people are watching 14 peaks and people are going up to 8848 meters and thinking like wow this is this is a walk in the park and it can be a lot of the time it is walking up but it's knowing that variability and how quickly weather changes. And the hypothermia is really the big thing that you've got to be careful of here. Um, because and kind of weather changes and visibility as well. So yeah I think your ah your advice kind of or your observation around not overestimating your abilities and also not underestimating. The object. Is certainly something to keep in mind even with what can seem like a very very doable small objective right here in the Uk.

29:18.13

moose

And I think it's also important when people are out there as Users. They're all constituents for these places long term they're gonna be the voices that say these places have worth if you want to preserve the peat district. You need people to be voting. Say Yeah, we need to have strong protections for our national parks and so sometimes there's a rush to judgment on when people are being unlucky or they made poor decisions or you see somebody on the trail struggling and you choose not to do anything because we want to hang back a little bit. Sometimes it it needs us to speak up and be like and essentially set to guide people to help people and I I don't think we should be shy about that up on the mountains. It's somebody can be belligerent and a bit off key you go Oh that person's kind of being rude actually that they. They've essentially got the start of Hypothermia. They've started to be a bit irrational and and dangerous and they need a hand and I I think our natural British Reserve holds us back and doesn't necessarily get involved whereas in the surf line.

30:23.63

calltoadventure

M.

30:33.87

moose

When you're in water. It's really obvious when people are in trouble and think of all the people who rush into help without any question Boom they go in and help there's something about that terrestrial piece because we aren't struggling for breath that actually allows us to hang back a bit in water people are fast to try and help and quite often get themselves in trouble.

30:44.67

calltoadventure

M.

30:53.17

moose

But that's where we need to. We talk more about swimming and making sure that swimming pools still exist in every community not just in rich communities that everybody has equal access to be safe. There's no reason why any child in the Uk is not allowed not not in a position to learn how to swim or to float. It's it's it's simply politics and economics that that mean that they don't have that opportunity and that's obscene no child should drown. It's preventable.

31:17.83

calltoadventure

So yeah yeah I couldn't agree more we had ah also there think record number of fatalities from cold war to swimming this year lot of people getting into that. But again it's it's really fun. It's exciting. There's something. Um, way more special about swimming in cold water. But again you can't sleep on it. Ah if you if you haven't done the training I think the bit the big thing that's often missed is that we see people who do incredible objectives and achievements. But what we don't see is like the years and years of training and adaptation and if you see Wim half climbing the highest mountain and. Czech republic in his in his underpants and then you think well if he's doing that I could definitely like stand outside in some snow and go in for 2 minutes but he's had 30 years of doing that madness and um, that's I think what we kind of miss from maybe the social or the online life versus in person where you would perhaps have more of a chance to. Meet that person hear a bit more of their background and and all that good stuff. So I think all that to say get out there on adventures but just don't bite off more than you can chew.

32:21.89

moose

And I and I think when we look at frivolous challenge people doing stuff with less or or comedic value quite often as you said they've got a load of experience behind them to be able to do that and that. 99% of the people don't have it out there and there is There's a seriousness in the outdoors like when you've when you sat with somebody and you've you've told them their child is dead. Everything becomes very serious. And and if it's because of a terrible tragedy and X Y Z happened.. There's some explanation there but if they were simply doing something because they had few beers inside them and they were doing something incredibly dangerous that that that frivolous approach. Is what cost them and the the families will never get over that they'll It'll always feel like a waste.

33:20.96

calltoadventure

Do you have training in how to deliver that news to people.

33:29.69

moose

Why I I give the trainings now it's it's something that's learned. It's learned through experience. So I've dealt with 60 deaths in the national park system in the last ten plus years and I've done notifications in in a quarter of those probably. And you you you talk to a lot of people who've been around emergency services and you do a bunch of reading. Thank the internet's fantastic. Um, and you you go in with a script that you're willing to be flexible on depending on someone's reaction.

34:06.30

calltoadventure

Yeah.

34:07.90

moose

But's there's no way to sugarcoat a loss. There's no way to say oh you Cat's on the roof we tried everything to get the cat off the roof. You had the Fi Brigade Calm and you go to this long extensive thing about the cat but the cat just fell off the roof and died. You know, no matter how you spin it the same outcome happens.

34:24.30

calltoadventure

M.

34:27.61

moose

When you're talking about a person you've got to get to that point really quickly so people know exactly what's going on So there's no hope you're you're coming in with a cold reality this empathetic and compassionate.

34:35.75

calltoadventure

Yeah, so just just um, so to backtrack for one second like so this is your part of your work as a family liaison officer right? but I meant specifically in search and Rescue. Do is that part of the training that people have and and then can you talk about I hadn't heard the term family Liaison officer Before. So Can you talk a bit about what that is and and what work you kind of specialize in there.

35:05.10

moose

So the family liaison officer is the instant commander's direct representative to the family involved ah in a rescue recovery or or search and you interface directly with the most connected next of kin. And inform them what's going on figure out how to give information the way they can process it when they're in crisis and you're shepherded than them through that that the challenge of either loss or the unknown and this all falls under the instant command system which is an international hierarchy. Way of responding to accidents and the the family liaison officer is increasingly used in our ah jurisdiction because it removes the emotional challenge that the people trying to respond to the incident. Like just focus on the incident an idea with the emotional challenge of the family so they feel listened to respected and they get timely information and they're never confused and I've done that work probably for more than 15 years

36:19.10

calltoadventure

How do you find that that work impacts you emotionally because it seems like it would be incredibly emotionally draining to be dealing with that on a long-term basis for.

36:30.75

moose

So about 3 years in like I went a bit crazy and emotionally went off the deep end because I did 7 or 8 deaths in really fast rotation and a couple of them were young and you. It starts to build up. So now. It's recognized that we see this this. It's called the stress continuum and the idea of exposure to trauma over a long period or short period of time or long period of time has an cumulative effect and you end up in a position in which you're unable to deal with complexity. You get to a point where I had a pretty bad stress reaction where I couldn't I open the refrigerator and there was so much choice in the refrigerator that I couldn't make a decision what to put on a sandwich so I would shut the refrigerator and go hungry because I couldn't deal with that level of complexity. That's trauma and so for a lot of family liaison officers. We're really aware of trauma with family and with peers and ourselves and we work to facilitate conversations that put us in a healthier place. Continually you talk with people continually in your team.

37:42.84

calltoadventure

So do you have like internal counseling then or how do you take the take the the lid off the pressure cooker when you've dealt with a lot of that.

37:47.55

moose

Yeah.

37:54.13

moose

So we there's something. There's a group over here called the responder alliance. That's just launched something called 3 3 3 which is a traumat a way to approach trauma and process trauma with first responders and it's it looks at three days three weeks three months and has a series of questionnaires that you fill out and they're very easy and it just looks at where you are and what's called the stress continuum you're either performing or you're injured or compromised and it's a peer tool. You can recognize how others are doing and how you're doing and then you can be referred up to a higher level of care and the the keeping the stiff upper lip and denying this things's happening is part of the problem because we have a culture that says that's weakness and it isn't It's it's it's a human reaction. It's good to feel emotion when someone's traumatized because while it shouldn't get in the way of you doing your job. It's it's not a weakness. It's it's you being humor and so we work a lot with individuals making sure they're making healthy choices. So if you see someone who's continually drinking straight after incident. That's probably a problem and if every single one of your activities on a social level is alcohol based that's a problem because you're compensating and it's a lot of what we try to do in the intensity of search and rescue is is. De-escalates come off of that adrenaline high and actually get to a place where you know you're safe. We call it hyper aousal where you're just ready to go ready to go ready to go ready to go because at hyper aousal is but we just crash and that's where you have dysfunctional relationships you lose your job. You start having addiction. You have an unhealthy lifestyle all of those things add up and then you're dead at 52 with the chronic heart attack because you've been carrying this trauma this the impact physiologically for the last twenty five thirty years

39:56.37

calltoadventure

Are there any other tactics that use for other than kind of talking to others like how do you deal with that stress kind of practically.

39:59.95

moose

It's sobering.

40:07.77

moose

So you identify where you are in the sort of green and ready sort of setup. Um over here I just held up a card that said green ready and you see all the healthy things you do so I know I'm being healthy if I'm laughing a lot and if I've gone on the water. In my boat and I've just brained out for 30 minutes just going up and down paddling in a pool or just going across an eddy line for 30 minutes that's my mental reset that's where I just become obsessed with the foot with the bow wave and my forward stroke and I lose myself in the thing I love or it's bikee riding. So you identify what you do and you can kind of see when you need a reset because you you used to do those things you used to go and find fresh powder on the back runs and shoot the trees and now you don't bother or I used to do this run in the evenings and now we don't bother. That's a sign of you not dealing with complexity. So you you have a bottom line that recognizes where you're being healthy. So for me if I'm if I'm eating regularly I'm exercising every day I'm getting on the water 3 times a week I'm laughing with my friends and I'm regularly checking in with these guys on on our expedition. Thirty years ago that I'm in a healthy place. It's when I withdraw lie in bed close the curtains and cry I don't want to get to that position again.

41:33.67

calltoadventure

And if somebody does get there. How do you build them back up.

41:39.74

moose

Ah, what you professional care because one of the things is. It's easy to think you have the the skills to ah help someone process but actually therapists and counselors are there for a reason and so we have for our search and rescue team. We have access to counselors and therapists for people to process really involved ah macabb events ah in a healthy way because yeah, ah in trying to fix as an amateur you quite often break unintentionally and. We used to do something that was ah a stress management piece where they would come in for an hour and you'd talk about the sensations of a body recovery and then after an hour the facilitatorsors to stand up and be like oh everybody's done. Everybody's been healed I'm going to head back to my job and and that was far from the truth. You'd actually surfaced all this trauma. And then I go home and crack a beer and wonder what was going to do next It's you as a peer you have a responsibility to recognize where you're where your teams at and people around you and as an individual you need to be in a position to. Recognize where you're at because you have a bottom line um understanding where you are to be healthy and your friends like if I've if I've done something. That's a really disturbing mission I taught to my family I call around 2 or 3 friends I have.

43:01.47

calltoadventure

But.

43:16.13

moose

And the next day I have ah I step back and I just go' and do something I love like mountain biking I'll go for a really big big mountain bi ride or I'll go and grab the rescue board and I'll go surfing and it's it's fine the time to process. In a fast world to slow down is the thing that heals.

43:34.42

calltoadventure

Yeah I think that and it's I can see the kind of crossovers not just from. Obviously it's extreme stress but a lot of people are struggling with similar symptoms or in similar positions but not because they've had seen stressful things on search and rescue. But I think that. Advice will be powerful for a lot of people who've maybe found themselves in a ditch or a difficult situation. So um, yeah I think kind of seeking professional help or helping others do that is ah is a really good strategy to deal with it.

44:05.14

moose

and and I think recognizing that ah the definition of trauma I like is trauma stops us from living the life. We want to live and ever it's been through covid and we've all had different impacts of that. It's a traumatic experience and. 1 person's trauma isn't more valuable than your trauma. We're all you have a level of trauma and there are things that you could. You're not alone and that you have options and talking to someone is the start recognizing where you're at.

44:34.50

calltoadventure

Yeah, so moves to switch gears a little bit you mentioned at the start that you ah but a party you might like to be the fly on the wall see what's going on and hope that somebody brushes up next to you who's kind of fairly interesting and has a lot in common with you but that you also like. Tell some stories. So What are some of the is there a story that you really like to tell or a couple of stories that you like to tell can be about anything.

45:01.14

moose

I I was in the kalahari teaching in a school um in the 90 s and ah we had a land rover at the time and I had a group of other expats came to the school. And we had a ah, really fun party where I probably wasn't ah sort of on the wall so to speak. Um and at some point we decided to to invent sandskiing out the back of the Landrover and so we built we we sat we we got these large pieces of roofing metal and. Fashioned a ski and then we tied a shovel to the back of the landrover as well and then we drove through the Kalahari on a moonlit night and up and down the road surfing behind the vehicle and we would have these big crashes and we'd laugh and and it was amazing because. Guys the starlight and Southern Hemisphere was so much brighter and the desert was beautiful and we're on this sand road and we get up the next day and all of us are ah, really banged up so we've got horrible sand rashes from crashing because we hadn't really thought about it. We were out in shorts. People had impacted sand in their ears and people had like eyes were messed up and it just it was just chaos. It was just everybody was messed up and 1 of the locals came over and said what was going on last night and we said oh we invented this sport It's absolutely fantastic. And we all went out and explained it to him and I remember the look on the guy's face because he was like he looked at us and he has. There's an international look on someone's face that when they're looking at a people people explain something that isn't a good idea that says you're all jackasses and he had that look. And I realized that we have been. We've been having a good time but we kept the village up and people we've we've been disruptive and we were just out of it. We were just not thinking through being polite and I've thought about that moment a lot is that when you have. Shenanigans when you have like good natured shenanigans. It shouldn't affect other people. It should. It should be purely your little group that's affected and I I that's my sort of that's one of my reference stories for making what I would call good. Bad decisions.

47:31.67

calltoadventure

Do you have any advice on how to make better decisions.

47:35.37

moose

Yes, have bad experiences, poor petz old talked about it the whole time bad experiences lead to good judgment and I think the idea is you you? you? if you if you if you have someone at 18 who's been so coted. When they staff out for the first time as an adult on their own. They're going to make massive mistake because they have no experience to base their good decision making on so it's going to be a lot of falling really violently and I think you build risk management early in kids. Ah, you let them fall and you let them fail and not everybody gets a trophy and you build this compendium of experience as young adults. They start making really good informed decisions and eighteen they make really good balanced risk assessment in decisions around their life. So they're not scared of risk. They embrace it and use it appropriately.

48:31.80

calltoadventure

More good advice for getting out about so Mus. You've also written a couple of books when accident happen and searching so searching is your most recent one so searching finding purpose laughter and distractions through search and rescue so who might enjoy. Searching and and what's there. What's the big overarching story.

48:53.93

moose

So searching is is a series of search and rescue stories from working in the United States and it looks a lot about the impact of being out on protracted searches and the harder stuff of dealing with recovery. And interspersed in there are ridiculous stories. Ah for me I one day I was diving on recovering ah a black bear carcass out of the river in order to unsn snap a radio collar off it and the ridiculousness of me diving on this dead bear. And what happens around that and I think the books for people who have been around the outdoors and maybe have some exposure to such a rescue or people are curious about what happens out in such a rescue is it's ah it's an honest account. A very ordinary person who gets to do some really cool stuff and America is is an interesting place in that I don't have mount leadership I don't have bcu I don't have ski instruction and yet I've been as as a patroler. Ah, been a high level guide I've guided in the arctic I've done trips up on Denali. It's it's their experience talks very loudly in the us and as a result you get to drive ambulances. You get to go out and recoveries. You get to go up in helicopters because. There's this ah openness that I didn't find necessarily anywhere else in the world and that's that's what I've been benefited from that's been a wonderful, wonderful journey.

50:38.27

calltoadventure

Yeah, well I'll look forward to digging in and if listeners fancy taking a read where can they pick it up.

50:47.82

moose

Um, you can put it up at any bookshop now because it's digital if you look at our on Kindle or on Amazon Moose muttlow on my author page. You can see both the books. And I encourage people to go to their local bookshop and say hey how do I get this enough figure out a way to get you a copy.

51:06.14

calltoadventure

Brilliant. Great stuff. Well we'll also link to it in the show notes as Well. So um, Moose Thanks so much for coming on the show. It's been amazing to chat I'd love to catch up again at some point in the future and hear more about your wild and wonderful stories out on search search and rescue and search and. Out and about and the outdoors.

51:25.15

moose

Well thank you I'd love to come back on and stay safe and have a good outdoor time in shamany a fantastic destination and enjoy our winters while we have them if you don't enjoy them think about preserving them.

51:43.29

calltoadventure

Couldn't agree more? Yeah I'm really excited first time to shamany. So yeah, it's it's gonna be great, but we do need to hold on to these winters and they're certainly getting more tricky. Everyone may have seen the new ipcc report if you haven't seen it. It's very depressing but it's probably good to go and read it. Yeah, it's It's about 3000 pages long just read the abstract. Um, but ah yet we certainly need to do something about it. So responsible travel call to adventures mission happier people in a healthier planet. We need to do both parts of those to be able to keep the world ripe for adventuring so moose. Thanks again for coming on the show listeners. Thank you for tuning in. So until next time. Thanks very much bye bye.

52:26.40

calltoadventure

Moose. Thank you that was that was great. That was brilliant that was really really good.

52:26.76

moose

How did that go good.

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