"Ignorance kills" search and rescue team warns unprepared hikers

Couple preparing for a hike
Proper preparation is essential for a successful hiking trip (Image credit: Getty)

A search and rescue team has warned hikers of the potentially fatal consequences of being unprepared after saving a pair of campers suffering hypothermia from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Lake Como.

The visitors had travelled to Colorado from Texas to spend time under the stars, and badly misjudged the weather conditions.

"Ignorance kills,” a spokesperson for Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue said after saving the pair. "These hikers were highly unprepared. They had no extra clothing and no way to stay dry in their tent, with no rain fly."

The pair said they hiked in Texas all the time, and didn't understand why it was so cold and wet in Colorado when it was so hot in their home state. "They never checked any weather forecasts and did not have any extra food, water or layers for the intense hike in or the night to camp," said the recue service. "This is an extreme example of how ignorance can kill people suddenly in these mountains.”

As KDVR reports, both hikers were found on a trail suffering from hypothermia, and one was dehydrated and vomiting. Rescuers gave them hot water bottles and sugary drinks, then took them to the trail head for medical attention.

How to prepare

When embarking on any trip, it's essential to know exactly what conditions you're going to be facing and prepare accordingly. That's particularly true in the mountains, and even if you're an experienced hiker, planning and preparation are essential.

It's wisest only to hike Colorado's 14ers in July and August, but even then conditions can deteriorate quickly at altitude, so make sure you check the weather forecast so you know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Thunderstorms are particularly common in Colorado, so it's a good idea to head out extra early so you can be back below the treeline by midday before the storms tend to roll in.

Wear appropriate footwear, such as your best hiking boots or hiking shoes, and dress in layers with extra clothing to keep you warm at higher altitudes. It's also essential to take plenty of water, as you'll sweat while hiking even if you don't realize it.

For more tips, see our guide to hiking 14ers: how to stay alive when you're bagging peaks.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.