Experts offer life-saving tips for hikers - Tucson News Now

Experts offer life-saving tips for hikers

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Search and rescue experts are weighing in tonight after a man from Texas was lost for three days on Mount Lemmon.

He was finally air lifted out yesterday, but rescuers probably would have found him sooner if he had done a couple of things differently.

The Pima Canyon Trailhead off Ina Road is another popular place for hikers.

Tucson News Now talked to some of the experts tonight about what this 54-year-old from Texas did right and what he may have done wrong.

Scott Bertrand set out for just a three hour hike on Mount Lemmon on Thursday, but three hours soon turned into three long days.

One of the first things he did wrong was not tell someone exactly where he was going.

Then when he did lose the trail and get lost, he kept moving, basically from sun up to sundown each day he was out there.

Richard Kunz, an expert hiker and who has been a part of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association for 49 years, says in this case, and most, Bertrand may have been rescued much sooner if he had stayed put when he lost the trail.

"The philosophy is the minute you get lost, stay still and wait to be found," Kunz said. "The waiting time would have been a whole lot less. Or hike back up hill, even though it's hard because of the altitude and the terrain; hike back up hill because the highway is on top of the mountain."

Kunz also says in order to reduced your chances of needing an airlift from the middle of nowhere, bring a cell phone with you, but make sure you save the battery. Bertrand ran out of juice after day one.

Also bring plenty of food and water, and basically pretend you will be out there overnight: bring a flashlight and at least a trash bag for shelter and to stay warm, and never go hiking alone.

At the Pima Canyon Trail Head Monday night, one hiker came out, prepared for the worse case scenario.

He told someone where he was going, ate, and brought a survival pack even though he was only planning on a half-mile hike.

He brought plenty of food and water in case he got lost. He also has a rain jacket, a rope, a pocket knife, a water filtration pump and water tablets, plus a cell phone, and extra cell battery, and a walkie talkie.

He is on business from California said he's not too familiar with the area and wanted to be safe, just in case.

"You have to kind of over compensate for your lack of knowledge of the area. I tried it, read the sign at the beginning of the trail head and see what kind of animals would be out here if there any rattlesnakes or if there's any other wildlife. I tried looking at the map. I even took a pic of it with my cell phone just to have it as backup."

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