SAR; dangerous conditions on region’s highest peaks

MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. — “It requires some experience and some knowledge to be able to hike to the top of the mountain,” said Deputy Mike Burns, Siskiyou Co. Search & Rescue.

Planning a hike up Mount Shasta attracts people from around the world, each with different experience levels.

Siskiyou County Search and Rescue says this climbing season was especially busy.

Deputy Burns says they had over 80 calls, nearly half were on Mt. Shasta.

“Our day hikers that go up and fall and brake or twist an ankle or our folks that go hiking and get heat exhaustion,” he said.

When you’re unprepared for a trip up the mountain, Deputy Burns says it can have life-threatening consequences.

The same goes for Jackson County’s Mount Mcloughlin.

Jackson County Search and Rescue’s Sgt. Shawn Richards says they’ve had 11 missions to the mountain this year.

“Is that a lot of missions in one spot for just the summer, it is. However it doesn’t surprise me that we don’t have more just because of the use,” he said.

Sgt. Richards says a lot of calls they get are from people who are lost. At the top of the mountain and past the tree line, the trail disappears.

“It’s just rock… it’s out of the tree line and it’s pretty much just solid rock,” he said. “Just below that is scree which is broke up rock which is a little easier to walk in, so people go there and they think they can just cut down that big bowl.”

Jackson County is working with the U.S. Forest Service to clear up the confusion.

“Whether that be people up there or some sort of trail markings,” he said.

But with climbing season officially over, both agencies say you should postpone the hike for now.

“It’s getting into freezing temperatures and if you do get in trouble… definitely hope you’re prepared,” said Sgt. Richards.

“Obviously the snow has melted off so the snow we have is fresh, so it’s not going to be safe to be on,” said Deputy Burns.

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