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#292244 - 05/03/19 01:25 PM Picacho Peak fatality
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6997
Loc: southern Cal

This really sucks! Picacho Peak is a very prominent spire, highly visible just west of I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. The trail to the top is short and steep, but non-technical and rather easy.

First rule of Arizona hiking. Be sure of your water supply and carry sufficient for your endeavor and prevailing conditions. Who, if anyone, was in charge???

Edited by hikermor (05/03/19 01:26 PM)
Geezer in Chief

#292245 - 05/03/19 02:46 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3193
Loc: USA

#292247 - 05/04/19 06:24 AM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Offline

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2380
Loc: Big Sky Country
How awful! They definitely weren't very well prepared.
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

#292248 - 05/04/19 04:27 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2027
Loc: NE Wisconsin
I find carrying water to be one of the most difficult aspects of hiking. Its VERY heavy and the containers are often less than convenient/comfortable to carry. Even worse to hand carry or strap over a shoulder. Plus, placed in a pack/bag they bring a risk of leaking onto other gear.

I never found anything better than using 1 liter Lexan bottles, but always worry about them leaking, so I single or double bag them in gallon size ziplock bags, depending on what else is in the pack/bag. Never found a flexible container I trusted.

#292249 - 05/04/19 04:41 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6997
Loc: southern Cal

A few-more details. A group of boy scouts, accompanied by two adults. It is easy to jump on the BSA, but young kids get messed up in the outdoors all the time, as do many adults, for that matter. But not bringing enough water on an easy hike is an elementary error.

Neither of these articles mentions the weather conditions, which would be crucial.

This incident affects me emotionally, because sixty-one years a similar incident involving Scouts in S Arizona was a life changing experience.

Clearly BSA doesn't have a perfect safety record, but who does??
Geezer in Chief

#292250 - 05/04/19 06:25 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2090
Loc: Colorado
How long is this hike they were taking? Is it multi-day, where they might have needed to cache water along the route in advance?

#292251 - 05/04/19 07:21 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6997
Loc: southern Cal
The hike is trivial - I have done it at least once (maybe twice). There are two trails - one is three miles, the other is two miles and I believe they join near the summit in a sort of via ferrata arrangement with fixed cables. Total elevation gain is about 1,500 feet.

Usually April and early May is a very good time to enjoy the Sonoran Desert - lots of green vegetation and flowers, although things get toasty as May progresses.

I am surprised that there wasn't enough water within the group to prevent any kind of dehydration incident, much less a fatality. A thoughtful group leader would most likely have extra items, mostly FA, but also including extra water.

I assume there will be an autopsy. I wonder if mere dehydration is the only factor in this poor kid's demise. Very sad, indeed!
Geezer in Chief

#292252 - 05/04/19 08:42 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
rafowell Offline

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 219
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
things get toasty as May progresses.

It was 90º, and near noon.
Originally Posted By: hikermor
I assume there will be an autopsy.

One news source said the autopsy was complete, but I've seen no results

Pichacho Peak is a spectacular hike, though.

Here's a nice video, including the shot of the sign recommending 2-3 liters per hiker,
and lots of shots of the videographer using their hydration bladder.

Video of Pichaco Peak Hike

Photo of Picacho Peak

Edited by rafowell (05/05/19 12:04 AM)
Edit Reason: Updated photo
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)
(Ocean Signal PLB)

#292253 - 05/04/19 08:48 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
gonewiththewind Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
Many people with little experience do not prepare properly, regardless of what they were taught. Many also do not recognize the signs of dehydration and hyperthermia. Many, when they do feel something wrong, feel the need to push through, tough it out so they don't look bad in front of their friends. I have seen this many times in many different situations. The adult volunteers should have been more thorough in their pre-hike checks and in their attention to how the kids were doing. Kids don't know, they have never experienced it. Their first instinct is to hide it. Yes scouts are supposed to be learning and taking more responsibility, but even in the military there are certain checks done on troops no matter what their age.

#292254 - 05/04/19 11:23 PM Re: Picacho Peak fatality [Re: hikermor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6997
Loc: southern Cal
One thing about desert hiking - you want to do your activity early before the day warms up. In typical low humidity situations, the evening and early morning temps are quite comfortable.

typical start time would be 4:30 AM, finishing by 9 or so. An alternative would be to drive to high country where you are in a different world. T.he Santa Catalinas rise to 9,000 feet, with many very nice trails available.

What is it they say about mad dogs and Englishmen??
Geezer in Chief

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