Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Be Prepared When Hiking at High Altitude or Suffer!

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It's June in Las Vegas with the thermometer cracking the dreaded triple digits. Let's take a hike in Mt. Charleston. A bottle of water, tank top, shorts and sandals will do, right? In the best scenarios that's under prepared. Take last Saturday, June 12th. Those photos are from member Paul K's Griffith Peak ascent. Doesn't look like tank top and shorts weather to me. Now Paul knows what he is doing. Look at how he is dressed and the equipment he has with him.

Hiking and mountain climbing is fun, but you need to be prepared. Sure you can get away with not being prepared many times, but that one time it catches up with you might change your life forever. The odds are low, but the consequences can be severe. Take a few minutes and prepare. Now I am not talking about going overboard and carrying a tent on a little two mile hike on an established trail. As always common sense, something that seems to be in short supply lately, should always be used.

Las Vegas is unique in that there are three very different hiking areas within one hour of the Strip. Hike around Lake Mead in August and you could literally die of heat stroke. Try Charleston Peak in January wearing shorts and a T-shirt and you could die of hypothermia. There's almost a 10,000 foot difference in elevation from Lake Mead to Charleston Peak. You need to know where to hike and what to bring when hiking in these areas. Where's the best place for this information? Hiking Las Vegas, of course.
Here are the links to the individual pages for each area:
Mt. Charleston
Red Rock
Lake Mead

As always you can email me questions.
Happy hiking,
Branch Whitney

All photos by Paul K.