A hiking expert has warned the public to be extra-cautious when venturing out onto the Mother City’s mountain hiking trials. A 21-year-old Cape Town woman is in a serious condition in hospital after she fell 13 metres while hiking up Lion’s Head. It’s believed that CPUT student Mieshka Dollie fell near the second ladder as she lost her balance on a slippery section of the mountain. Emergency rescue services used advanced life support on the patient.
Hiking is one of the most popular activities to do in Cape Town and Lion’s Head attracts hundreds of locals and tourists each day. As much as the challenge of tackling the mountain can be rewarding, the public needs to keep in mind that there are safety precautions and ways of hiking especially if it is your first time.
Hiking guru Tim Lundy explained the importance of hiking and the risks and hazards of hiking trails.
“Mountains can be very dangerous when you are not paying attention, people take it for granted. Many people don’t prepare for the hike properly,” said Lundy.
Cape Town is synonymous for its unpredictable and often changing, weather each day. In order to be prepared, you need to check the weather before the time. It becomes extremely difficult to hike when the weather isn’t co-operating.
“The most important equipment is your boots, not sneakers. Get a good pair of walking shoes. Wear warm clothes in order to regulate your body and to keep your body temperature where it needs to be,’’ said Lundy.
Lundy emphasised that when going on a hiking trail, there is strength in numbers. He has conducted 18 recoveries of people who have perished on the mountain. Out of the 18 people, there were 12 who were on their own.
“When you are on your own you tend to make bad decisions, we try to convince ourselves that it’s going to be okay. Although, the further in you go, the more dehydrated you become and start making bad decisions. It can result in your life being taken,” he said.
Lundy is busy working with people with disabilities, to bring awareness of being outdoors. People who are hearing impaired can venture into the mountains if they have someone to guide them. Also chose your route properly.
Silvermine Dam has a boardwalk all way around and has beautiful scenery. Table Mountain is ideal as they have a concrete path for someone in a wheelchair. Red Hill is one of the hotspots that he encouraged hikers and walkers to avoid.
“The people who do attack hikers usually do it at the entrance and exits to get out of the mountain quickly. Make as much noise as possible so that people can hear you when you are in danger. Most guys are high on drugs, so when they are threatening you and on top of you, do not resist, as they tend to attack those who resist. Walk in numbers and don’t do hikes on your own,” Lundy stressed.
When visiting a mountain, the golden rule is to go there, take pictures and the only thing is to leave footprints behind. Lundy pointed out to the serious problem of littering on the mountains.
“The mountains need the same respect you would give your own home, don’t litter and leave it the way it was before. The most common thing is the writing of names on rocks which is a form of vandalism. Respect the mountains and be safe while enjoying your hiking experience,” Lundy concluded.
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