COLORADO SPRINGS — Fall hiking is fast approaching, and the El Paso County Search and Rescue team is offering tips for new hikers as well as seasoned hikers.
The crew says they have seen new hikers, as well as those who are well trained, find themselves in awkward situations. The way to avoid this is to make sure you pack well and are prepared. They recommend packing snacks, sunscreen, water, and extra layers of clothing if you’re climbing a mountain. The rescue team says to always make sure you are aware of your surroundings and make sure your dog is on a leash. It’s also best to stay on the trail to avoid getting lost and getting into a dire situation.
“Three things we will see all year in a patient are hypothermia, dehydration and altitude sickness. They’ll have one of those three or a combination of those, and you can get hypothermic even in the middle of summer,” said Skee Hipszky, mission coordinator, El Paso County Search and Rescue. “We’re not a five-minute response like you’d expect from an ambulance or a city fire department. It takes us a while because we are talking about wilderness. It can take up to forty minutes in places along the slope, which is relatively close, or even hours depending on where you are in the backcountry and if you need our help.
He says one example is above the treeline on Pikes Peak, you get caught in a big thunderstorm, get soaked and hit by 60mph winds. You will become hypothermic. Skee says expect to drink a liter of water for every hour you spend on the trails at this altitude. We have a high altitude climate here in the springs.
Skee also wants to remind people to do their research first, instead of relying on their cell service once they hit the trail. He says the service is limited and it’s best to have an understanding before heading into the backcountry.