3 Dangers I Learned While Hiking and Climbing in Utah

If you’re planning a hike in Utah, there’s a lot to consider aside from where you might find a post-workout cocktail. (Just for the record: Utah is not, in fact, a completely dry state, although its liquor laws are among the strictest in the country; for more details, visit the Wikipedia page.) Here’s a look at some common dangers faced by those who choose to lace up their hiking boots in the Beehive State, and how best to avoid them.

Acute mountain sickness

This condition, also known as altitude sickness, is sometimes abbreviated as AMS and occurs when the body is exposed to rapid changes in altitude. Although it is most prevalent in elevation changes of 5,000 feet or more, the effects can be noticeable even in more gradual changes, as anyone living at sea level can attest. The reason is simple: as altitude increases, oxygen levels decrease, which can lead to symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath. In the most extreme cases, vomiting, confusion and lack of motor skills can result.

The best way to avoid AMS is to prepare well before the hike. If you are traveling to Utah from a lower region, allow yourself 24 hours to acclimatize before beginning your ascent. Once on the trail, maintain a gentle pace and if any concerning symptoms develop, slow down or stop until they disappear. If symptoms persist, immediately fly to a lower altitude. There’s no shame in stopping and attempting the climb another day; MAM can affect even people in excellent physical condition.

Another way to ensure a healthy hike? Drink lots of water — about 1 liter every 2 hours. This is important not only because staying hydrated will help ward off MAM symptoms, but it will also help prevent dehydration, which can be just as devastating.

Flash floods

In a 2001 survey, flash floods were named leading cause of weather-related death in the USA. The Rocky Mountain range is rich in slickrock – sandstone that becomes dangerously slippery when wet. After a thunderstorm in the desert, precipitation pours off the slickrock and into the canyons, causing flash floods and posing a threat to anyone unlucky enough to be trapped in the crevices. The risk is highest during the summer months, especially from late June to mid-September, which makes this period a good time to choose mountain hikes over canyon tours.

When planning canyon hikes, religiously check the weather reports before setting out. Watch the sky for increasing cloudiness and listen carefully for thunder. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for footholds in the canyon wall, in case you need to climb quickly. If it starts to rain, reach the heights as soon as possible.

Finally, if all else fails and you get caught in a flood, remember to keep your feet pointing downhill. If so, be sure to visit a good personal injury lawyers salt lake city.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

It is important to recognize the difference between the two, as the latter is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention. keep these guidelines practice both before and during your hike, so you know what to look for.

Heat exhaustion is characterized by pale, clammy skin; profuse sweating; nausea; dizziness or fainting; headache; and cramps. If these symptoms occur, find shade, drink plenty of water, and apply a cool cloth to pressure points. Do not continue until symptoms improve.

Heatstroke occurs when body temperature exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include rapid heart rate, confusion, and disorientation. If heat stroke is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

While these dangers should always be considered, it is nonetheless possible to have a wonderful time hiking in Utah – or anywhere – with the proper preparation. Good tracks, and here is a safe and memorable trip!