WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe)- Hikers should be cautious in the wilderness, according to Washoe County Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel.
Randy Malm is a member of SAR’s Hasty Team.
“Being able to be out and helping people is great,” he said. “A day for us usually means eating dinner with our family and then Sergeant Fisher reaching out at dinner time saying that there are people lost or stuck up on Mt. Rose.”
Other calls typically include an injury or someone who was unprepared for the weather.
“They often get to the place where now they’re cold, their cell phone may have died because of the temperatures out and that’s when things turn from what could’ve been a nice day to a dangerous situation.”
It’s so deadly that it might kill you. After being caught in exceptionally cold weather while hiking in Utah’s Zion National Park, a lady died and a man was rescued and treated for hypothermia.
Also last week, Washoe County’s SAR team executed a weather-related rescue.
“When you get in a situation that you just can’t get out of it might be a little too late, about the time when you feel that feeling in the back of your head, it’s about the time you need to call,” said Sergeant Joshua Fisher with WCSO.
Fisher and Malm both advise not always trusting what’s on your phone because what appears to be perfect weather at a lower elevation can be a completely different story in the mountains.
“It says on the internet that you can be in and out of this trail (Thomas Creek Trailhead) in 45 minutes and when you throw a few of those bumps along the way whether it’s conditions or your attire, it can turn into hours,” said Malm. “You can start in a spot where it’s warm and it’s nice, it feels sunny but then you get right over our ridge and those winds pick up and that’s often the situation that now it’s cold.”
The first piece of advice is to let a friend or family member know where you’re going and where you want to enter and depart.
“Also, make sure that their batteries are charged and that they do have a spare battery packed,” said Fisher. “We tell people to make sure that their phones are on. All of our abilities to find your location if you are injured usually have to do with a phone ping or some geotag program.”
It is also critical that you dress in layers, wear boots or waterproof shoes, have food and a Garmin In Reach, and turn back if you face any issues on your trip.
Another suggestion is to prepare for hiking before hitting the trails. Fisher advises that if you need to contact 911, be persistent even if your phone indicates “no service” and patient once connected.
During the winter, SAR anticipates an increase in rescue calls. They suggest utilizing reputable programs such as Caltopo and Gaia.
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