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Tips to stay safe while hiking in the mountains

LAS VEGAS - Whether at Red Rock Canyon or up at Mt. Charleston, hiking is a popular activity in Las Vegas. 

Hiking can also be dangerous and occasionally deadly if not properly prepared. 

This was recently illustrated by the death of 57-year-old David Malinksy. His family says his body was found near Mummy Springs on Friday.

A friend of Malinsky told 8 News NOW that said it appeared he slipped on an ice patch fell 30 feet. 

“You never know what's going to happen up on the mountain," explained Bryan Zink, Red Rock Search and Rescue.

The volunteer-run nonprofit Red Rock Search and Rescue helped search for Malinsky who never returned home after going on a hike more than a week ago. 

Zink says you never know what can happen when out in the wilderness. The weather can change at a moment’s notice or you can fall and hurt yourself.  

That’s why it’s vitally important to be prepared for anything, even when out on a short hike. 

“Bringing a compass and your map," Zink said. 

A map and compass are just two of the ten essentials for safe hiking. Other items include extra water and a first aid kit.

"We always tell people to plan ahead and to bring gear you might not necessarily think you need. You never know if you're going to end up needing it" Bryan Zink, Red Rock Search and Rescue

If you get lost or become injured and cannot move, a personal locator beacon uses satellites and GPS to send an emergency message to search and rescue crews even in remote locations with no cell phone service. 

Simple technology such as a flashlight and whistle can also be life-saving tools. 

“If you have a whistle, blow the whistle. Three short bursts close together, that's kind of the universal SOS," said Zink.

8 News NOW spoke with several hikers at Mt. Charleston on Sunday who said they were ready for anything mother nature could throw at them. 

"Just in case anything happens, yeah I try to be prepared. Sometimes I feel like I'm a little overly prepared, but better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it," said Allison Palmer, local hiker.

The discovery of Malinsky’s body on Friday made other hikers concerned. 

"You always think about that but never really think until it happens, so it's kind of scary actually," said Tom James, local hiker. 

Zink says there's no reason to fear if you stick to a strategy.

“We always encourage people to plan before they go up," Zink added. 

Another important tip is to always let someone know where you plan to hike and what time you expect to return home. 

As for the ten hiking essentials, they can be found at outdoor recreation stores such as REI or online. 
 


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