Distressed Mountain Hiker: Who finds you -- and how

Valerie Cavazos

Deputies David Conto and Brenda Schupbach live on Mt. Lemmon so they are the first to be called when someone needs help in the Catalina Mountains.

Distressed Mountain Hiker: Who finds you -- and how

CREATED May. 1, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- No matter the temperature -- hikers take advantage of all the trails around Pima County. But not everyone goes prepared.

That's where Pima County Sheriff's two deputies come in.

Deputies David Conto and Brenda Schupbach are ready -- at anytime -- to find lost hikers in the Catalina Mountains. The deputies live on Mount Lemmon so they're the first ones called when someone is in trouble in this tricky terrain.

They often search for distressed hikers in this valley -- seen from the Lemmon Rock Lookout. Deputy Conto shows us the areas on a map. "This where some of the trails converge back here in the wilderness rocks area."

It's not that the terrain is necessarily difficult -- it's just deceptive on how long hikes take. And without enough food, water, and daylight -- a hiker can end up in danger.

Valerie Cavazos asked Deputy Schupbach, "They are stuck. How can they signal you? How can they get your attention? If it's night and they have a flashlight. They can flash their lights. If we yell down to them. We can usually hear them call back to us."

Cell phone coverage is spotty out here, but if a lost hiker is able to make a call "we want them to stay where they are. because with cell phones, they send out GPS coordinates," said Deputy
Schupbach.

A starting point for the deputies. After grabbing the  necessary rescue gear and gadgets -- and they have it all to handle any situation. "I have emergency climbing gear for rescuing people off the mountain. i have an automatic defibrillator and I have first aid equipment," said Deputy Conto.

The deputies start their trek on the trails -- on foot --- or on wheels to find you.

Both deputies stress people should never hike alone and they should tell their friends and family -- where they're going -- and when they'll return.

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