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Fall hiking tips from the El Paso County Search and Rescue team

Hiking the Crags
Posted at 7:26 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 12:38:18-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Fall hiking is right around the corner and the El Paso County Search and Rescue team is offering tips for new hikers along with seasoned veteran hikers.

The crew says they have seen new hikers, along with those who are well-practiced, find themselves in uncomfortable 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 clothes if you are climbing a mountain. The rescue team says to always make sure you are aware of your surroundings and to make sure your dog is on a leash. It is also best to stay on the trail to avoid getting lost and in a dire situation.

“Three things that we’ll see year-round in a patient are hypothermia, dehydration, and altitude sickness. They’ll have one of those three or a combination thereof, and you can become hypothermic even in the middle of summertime,” Skee Hipszky, Mission coordinator, El Paso County Search and Rescue, said. “We are not a five-minute response as you’d expect from an ambulance or a fire department in town. It takes us a while because we’re talking wilderness. It can be up to forty minutes in places along the incline, which is relatively close by, to potentially hours depending on where you are in the backcountry and needing our help.”

He says an example is being above treeline on Pikes Peak, you get caught in a big thunderstorm, you are soaking wet, and you get hit with 60 mph winds. You will become hypothermic. Skee says to expect to drink a liter of water for every hour you are out 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 service is limited and it is best to have an understanding before hitting the backcountry.