COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- It has been a deadly summer for hikers in Colorado. Just last week, a Denver-area man died in the Sangre de Cristo mountains when he was climbing the Crestone Traverse.
Whether it's a challenging fourteener or an easy hike, it's important to prepare yourself for the great outdoors. Which in Colorado, can quickly turn dangerous.
"Generally speaking for a hike per day an individual should be consuming anywhere from 2-4 liters of water during their hike," says Dr. Donald Setter, a family medicine physician at UCHealth.
Hydration is critical according to Dr. Setter because of the summer heat, physical excursion, and altitude.
"Dehydration and heat stroke can be a deadly condition," says Dr. Setter. "Usually with dehydration, the individual is going to get dry mouth and they are going to have decreased urine output and as it progresses they are going to getting muscle cramps and that will make it hard for them to hike. If it progresses that can turn into heat exhaustion which will raise their core internal temperature to dangerous levels and if they don't seek medical attention they could die."
In addition to packing enough water, sunscreen, high-energy food, layered clothing, a phone, and a map all need to be in your backpack.
Be sure and check the weather before you leave. Thunderstorms this time of year can roll in fast and leave you exposed to lightning and hail. Experts recommend being off the trial by noon and being smart if go alone.
"It is very important to report your location if you are going to be hiking solo because if something happens and you become injured or somehow incapacitated or someone you know doesn't know where you are, you are going to be stranded in the environment which can be a deadly situation," says Dr. Setter.
Colorado's high reaches might make you sick due to less oxygen in the air. Altitude sickness symptoms include headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and sleep issues. If this happens to you, stop and rest. Don't go any higher and be sure to re-hydrate. And seek medical attention if you don't feel better.