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Safety at High Altitudes

There are many trails that require you to consider the problems encountered with high altitude. During the summer months, storms can move in very quickly. For instance, if you are planning a summit of the many high mountains in the desert southwest or Colorado, you should plan on doing so early in the morning before any afternoon thunderstorms roll in. If you see a storm approaching, immediately head back down the mountain as these storms come in much quicker than you might think.

Hiking at a higher altitude is also more difficult and demanding than hiking at sea level. You may experience shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness, and tire faster than you normally would. Take it slower on the higher altitude trails. Temperature changes are also much more pronounced. For example, the temperature at the top of Mount Humphreys is much colder (10-20 degrees!) than at the trailhead, so make sure you pack along additional layers of clothing to keep warm at the top.


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