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Winter visitors hit the trails, end up in harm’s way

PHOENIX — Winter visitors are flocking to the Valley where many are taking on the mountains and finding themselves in danger.

An average of three hikers a year die on Valley trails.

Phoenix Fire carries out more mountain rescues than any other agency in the United States and it has had several rescues recently because of above normal temperatures.

“They’ll climb it and think they can get to a certain point. Think they can push to the summit and that’s where they get in trouble,” said Phoenix Fire Capt. Larry Nunez.

Out-of-staters in particular jump to the conclusion that many of the area mountains will be a piece of cake to climb.

“Or they thought they could push themselves further and now they realize it’s that much harder getting back,” Nunez said.

Hikers should know their physical limitations before hitting the trail.

“You really have to look at what you’re wearing and your physical condition,” Nunez said.

And if a hiker has any doubt about climbing a trail or a mountain, Nunez offered one word of advice: Don’t.