PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Looking ahead to warmer spring days and hiking season in the Pacific Northwest, experts warn the outdoor adventures come with potential dangers.
Two of the biggest dangers include not being prepared for the outdoors and getting lost, according to Dr. Christopher Van Tilburg, medical director for the Hood River Crag Rats Mountain Rescue.
Established in 1926, the Crag Rats are the oldest mountain rescue team in the nation, according to Van Tilburg. The crew is composed of volunteers including mountain bikers, skiers and hikers who want to give back to the community, Van Tilburg said. The organization relies on donations.
For outdoor adventures, Van Tilburg recommends having “enough things in your backpack that you can at least spend the night out in an emergency situation. So, might be an extra puffy jacket, a little bit of extra food and water, mittens, hats.”
He added, “most of the time, we run into people who have problems in inclement weather because they’re not prepared with the proper clothing.”
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With snowmelt in the spring, Van Tilburg warns that hikers can lose the upper thirds of the trail as they reach snow.
“Because we live in such a great place, the Columbia River Gorge, all of our trails are uphill and they’re very steep,” Van Tilburg added.
In 2022, the Hood River Crag Rats saw a record number of rescues, which Van Tilburg says was mostly due to weather.
“We anticipate that as soon as the spring weather comes – might be a week or two, might be three weeks – that people would be flocking to the outdoors,” Van Tilburg said. “We expect to be very busy very soon.”