Hiking safety, preparedness reiterated after hiker's death at Red Rock

LAS VEGAS - The hiker who was reported missing Sunday and found dead Monday at Red Rock Canyon has been identified by the Clark County Coroner's Office as 27-year-old Annabelle Follosco.

Officers first started searching for Follosco on Sunday afternoon when they received a call that she was overdue from her hike to Turtlehead Peak Trail.

Her body was found on Monday.  Rescuers say it appears she died from an accidental fall.

The latest death underscores the dangers that can come with hiking. 

Hiking experts warn, hiking at Red Rock can be as dangerous as it is beautiful.  They say no matter what the conditions are when you go hiking, you have to always be prepared for anything and know your limits.

"We try our best to come out at least once a week," said Carrie Boswell, a weekly hiker that hikes at Red Rock.

"Getting away from all the business of the city -- you come here to get away from all of that and escape," said Francisco Villa, a Red Rock hiker.

Branch Whitney, the Las Vegas 52 Peak Hiking Club founder and safety expert, said conditions can change rapidly at Red Rock.  Whitney says easy trails can quickly transition into dangerous and challenging paths in an instant.

"The routes aren't marked; there aren't any trail signs; there aren't any rangers out there, so you've got to know what you're doing," Whitney said.

The rapidly-changing conditions and challenging Terrain are perilous for even the most seasoned explorers.  Whitney showed 8 News NOW video of winds whipping through the canyons, pushing Whitney and his fellow climbers to their limits on Saturday.

"It was not windy at all, and then an hour later, you can hear the wind and stuff so it can change," Whitney said.

Hikers said the challenging situations that can arise is one of many reasons why it's important to hike in groups.  It's also important to never go beyond your skill level.

"Be very careful, and don't be afraid to take it slow, you know, it's more about the journey and just enjoying it out in nature, and having a good time," Boswell said.

Experts say it all boils down to being prepared because while exploring can be fun, simply knowing where you're going can make a big difference.


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