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Hiking Safety

 

Safety is a concern no matter where you hike. It's extremely important while hiking in the mountains and canyons around Las Vegas. Since many of the routes travel to remote areas, don't expect rangers or medical personnel to be there if you get hurt. Preparation is the key.

 

Safety Rule:

First Rule:

Always hike in a group of four of more.
If someone is hurt, one person can stay with the victim administering first aid (if they know how) and the other two can go for help or call for help if cell phone reception is available.

Second Rule:

Tell someone where you're hiking and when you think you will be home.
If you absolutely must hike alone and you get hurt, at least the person you told will be able to provide Search and Rescue with information.

 Third Rule:

Carry a cell phone. Virtally all the peaks in Red Rock and many in Mt. Charleston have cell reception now (6-2014).

Real Dangers:

Hiking in southern Nevada does have some natural dangers. The Monsoon season, which runs from late July to mid-September, consists of thunderstorms accompanied with lightning. It's most prevalent in Mt. Charleston. Be off the peaks by noon. Why? Because thunderstorms do not normally start until the afternoon.

red check mark Precautions if caught in a lightning storm:

Get off of peaks and ridgelines.

Stay out of shallow caves.

Stay away from water. If a trail turns into a stream, stay off.

If you're hiking with a group, spread out.

Stay away from tall objects (trees).

If you feel charged, squat down on non-conductive material. Your backpack is normally a good choice.

The best rule of thumb is to watch the sky and listen to the weather forecast the night before hiking. Many times the sky looked threatening, but not a drop of rain fell or a flash of lightning was seen.

red check mark Flash Floods

Although it doesn't rain often in southern Nevada, when it does flash floods occur in the washes in Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead. Stay out of washes when it rains.

red check mark Darkness

Plan your hikes so you do not descend in the dark. If you're on a trail, this is not too big of a problem, provided you brought a flashlight. However, you don't want to descend a scrambling route in the dark. See the chart for the time of day when the sun sets.

red check mark Rock fall

When hiking be careful not to dislodge a rock sending it tumbling down on hikers below. If you do dislodge a rock, yell "rock" so hikers below can get out of the way. Video of rockfall.

Carry The 10 Essentials:

The ten essentials are: map, compass, extra food, extra clothing, first aid supplies, pocket knife, fire starter, matches, flashlight, and sunglasses. Also sunscreen, especially here in southern Nevada. -- Now, with that being said, let's use some common sense. If you don't know how to use a map or compass, then bringing them would be foolish.

Animals:

There are no bears in southern Nevada, but there are five poisonous rattlesnakes. Keep a sharp eye where you place your hands and feet. Snakes are most active during October and April. Snakes are rare in Mt. Charleston due to the elevation. If bitten, get to a hospital.

Mountain lions are said to roam in Red Rock and Mt. Charleston, but I've never seen one. And I've never heard of anyone being attacked. If you do see a mountain lion, don't run.

That's it for dangerous animals and reptiles. Another bonus of hiking in southern Nevada is there are no mosquitoes!

Have fun while hiking in southern Nevada and be prepared.

Hiking Las Vegas: Keeping hikers safe since 1998.