By Dominic Garcia

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Alpine Rescue Team based out of Evergreen has had one busy year. Last year they completed 144 rescues and this year they expect to hit at least 150. Many of them have been on Colorado’s 14ers, and the main problem is some people just don’t know what they’re doing in the high elevations.

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To help, the team has been placing people at the base of 14ers to educate hikers and make sure they’re prepared.

“If you were to come up here expecting a summer hike you could be in a world of hurt,” said Howard Paul with the Alpine Rescue Team.

CBS4’s Dominic Garcia caught up with Paul at the base of Mt. Bierstadt in Clear Creek County. He said the problem partly has to do with Colorado’s population boom, but there are plenty of natives who are needing to be rescued, too.

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“We see people wearing shorts, tennis shoes, a light weight jacket, and maybe all they have is a water bottle and some granola bars,” Paul said.

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Paul says at higher elevation the weather can change in a matter of minutes and having the 10 essentials can be a matter of life and death.

The 10 Essentials:

1. First aid kit
2. Map and compass
3. Pocket knife
4. Matches/fire starter
5. Shelter
6. Flashlight
7. Warm/rain clothing
8. Emergency food
9. Emergency water
10. Sunglasses

Paul said the 11th essential is a companion.

“They think it’s a walk in the park when in fact it’s a walk in the wilderness,” he told CBS4.

Another problem is people are relying too much on their cellphones for navigation instead of a compass and map. Paul says battery life can run out quickly, especially when it’s cold out. That said, he wants to remind hikers that if they ever feel in danger to call them and that they’ll never charge for a rescue.

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“Welcome to Colorado. We want you to enjoy it and have fun … but be prepared, know what you’re getting into,” he said.

Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.


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