Welcome to the Mitch Underhill Mountain Fund! The Fund’s mission is to provide scholarships and funds that support exploration and learning through adventures in the mountains.
In September 2013, at 34 years old, Mitch Underhill unexpectedly passed away. His family, friends, and the Lake Tahoe community lost a great man—a father, son, husband, brother, and public servant. Mitch was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe and was well known and loved by his community and beyond. In turn, Mitch loved Lake Tahoe and its people, and after traveling the world, he always said his favorite place to be was in the Sierra Nevada mountains—his home. He left Tahoe briefly to earn his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Westmont College in Montecito, CA and to become a licensed Paramedic. Upon his return home to Tahoe, Mitch was hired as a U.S. Forest Service backcountry ranger for a season, then ultimately as a paramedic firefighter with Lake Valley Fire Protection District in the Fall of 2005.
Mitch loved his job as a paramedic firefighter and he felt honored to serve his community. He was compassionate, gentle, and kind on and off the job. He enjoyed the camaraderie that the fire service provided and was close to his Lake Valley family. His favorite calls on the job were in the backcountry—aiding a dehydrated hiker at the top of Horsetail Falls, a lost skier out in Hope Valley, or an injured climber on the side of Lover’s Leap. As a skilled climber, Mitch led the district’s rope rescue program, and even when not on duty was called for advice on climbing or cliff rescues. He was exceptional at navigating the wilderness. He not only knew these mountains like the back of his hand, but he also had an incredible sense of direction, intuition, and endurance.
Mitch loved sharing his passion for Tahoe and the mountains with his young sons, Mason and Cedar. He often said he wanted to teach youth “the ways of the mountains” and helped instruct fire science/academy and rock climbing courses through Lake Tahoe Community College.
For all of these reasons, Mitch was a true inspiration to all who knew him. The goal of Mitch’s fund is to continue this inspiration by providing opportunities to those passionate about their field and Lake Tahoe. This vision would be made possible through scholarships to Lake Tahoe Community College students enrolled in the Wilderness Education or Fire Science Programs.
Thank you in advance for your support and to all who made the fund possible: David Safanda, Hanna Bernard, Darcie Goodman-Collins, Todd Offenbacher, Damion Estrada, Leona Allen, and Nancy Harrison.