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Wilderness Chaplains

Crisis Response Services

Wilderness Chaplains & Crisis Response Services was established by and for first responders. Our services are available to everyone, regardless of religion, faith, or spiritual preferences. Our mission is to help all first responders provide and receive compassionate crisis care in remote environments.

Wilderness Chaplains & Crisis Response Services strives to support our first responders in accessing the psychological, spiritual, and emotional resources needed to survive and thrive with the demands of their chosen fields. Through training, we aim to ensure that the outdoor community has access to Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) knowledge, skills, and tools. This will better enable responders to help their teams as well as the victims and survivors they serve.

Wilderness Chaplains began with the loss of our beloved friend, Stephen Kornbluth. Stephen died in a climbing accident on Dewey Peak in Mount Rainier National Park on August 14, 2018.

Stephen's climbing partner and "mountain wife," Katja, was one of the first to receive the news. In the midst of grief, Katja drew on a decade of experience as a chaplain, ski patroller, and mountaineer. She responded as a chaplain and cared for her beloved climbing community.

As the dust settled, people asked "how did you do it all?" Friends began asking for tips and resources to use in a tragedy. Soon members of local wilderness rescue groups began requesting Katja's "mountain chaplain" services. It became obvious that wilderness crisis response resources were few and far between.

Inspired by Stephen's memory, Katja resigned from her position in state government. With a handful of notes and unstoppable enthusiasm, she went to work. In the wake of tragedy, Wilderness Chaplains emerged.


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