Following two rescue missions on Mount McLoughlin in the last week, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office search-and-rescue officials sent out a safety reminder Thursday for hikers.
The change of seasons means unpredictable weather, colder nights and an earlier sunset.
On Sunday, Oct. 21, a hiker called 911 at 8:30 p.m. to report a man in her party had become separated during their descent. The lost hiker had only 5 percent battery remaining on his cellphone, so he was able to call 911 just once. SAR volunteers hiked for five hours in the night to reach the man, who had become dehydrated. They provided aid and hiked out together.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23, a woman called 911 at 5:02 p.m. to ask for assistance after becoming lost on her descent. She had a full cellphone battery so SAR officials were able to speak with her and help her find her way to Highway 140, where SAR was waiting for her — essentially allowing for a self-rescue. The hiker was equipped with necessary food, water and gear.
SAR officials say most people who become lost while hiking Mount McLoughlin run into trouble during the descent; the trail can be difficult to see in the scree.
SAR officials offer the following tips to stay safe on the mountain:
• Tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.
• Be aware of the weather forecast and prepare for unexpected changes.
• Carry adequate supplies (“The 10 Essentials”) for an overnight stay, even if you’re planning a day hike.
• Make sure your cellphone is charged; carry an external power source. And remember that even with a way to summon help, it can take hours for help to reach you.
• If you are lost, call for help as soon as possible. Don’t call a friend or family member, call 911.
• When hiking with others, stay together.
• Avoid “shortcuts” off the main trail.
• If you become lost, stay in one place.