A 33-year-old tourist from the United States has died during a hike along the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.
Hiking with a 40-year-old man, the pair were separated after climbing Mount Sonder. At just over 1,300 metres tall it is the fourth-highest peak in the Territory.
Local police told ABC Darwin that the hike the pair had undertaken was approximately 16 kilometres long.
After the two men had reached the top of the mountain, the 33-year-old man reportedly ran off but took a wrong turn. He was found dead three hours after splitting from his partner, just 750m from the nearest carpark.
"His partner made it back to the Redbank Gorge carpark and raised the alarm, but unfortunately the 33 year-old didn't arrive and his body was eventually located about 400 metres down the track where he'd turned the wrong way,” Duty Superintendent Rob Burgoyne told ABC Darwin.
Approximately three hours had passed between when the man was last seen and when his body was found.
Duty Superintendent Burgoyne said the event was largely avoidable despite the high temperatures, which reportedly reached 42 degrees in the region.
“We do know he had water with him, but he did do a very foolish thing in that he apparently ran away from his companion after the descent," he told the ABC.
According to the Larapinta Trail website, larapintatrail.com.au, created by Explorers Australia, most of the trail isn’t clearly defined.
“Don't expect a well cleared and graded trail because most of the Larapinta Trail is not neatly cleared (of rocks etc) with a well defined path[sic]. Trail definition is pretty good, but its[sic] no footpath.”
While tourists, adventure-seeks and avid hikers may like to go trekking no matter what the weather, there are some key safety issues to consider.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe if you are planning on hiking in hot weather.
Check online weather channels and find out what the weather temperatures are expected to be. If it’s going to be too hot to handle, stay home and plan a hike for another day.
Hiking isn’t a sprint, but more like a marathon. Instead of racing to the end, take plenty of breaks to catch your breath and enjoy the view.
Look out for hiking trails that have a lot of forest coverage, this will keep you in the shade and staying cooler for longer. If you know that the hike you’re going to attempt doesn’t have much shade, be sure to pack a hat and light clothing and stop for shaded breaks wherever you can.
Dark colours absorb the sun’s rays, so stick to light colours and loose fitting clothing to help you stay cool.
There’s no point leaving for a hot weather hike in the middle of the day. Try and begin your hike as early as possible, ideally before the sun even comes out.
This goes without saying, but stay hydrated. That means drinking plenty of water before you even begin your hike, but also packing enough water to get you through.
It always helps to pack some sustenance for the trip, but make sure they’re complex carbs and salty snacks. They’ll make you feel fuller for longer and also balance your electrolytes. Sodium and potassium will also boost your energy levels.
If your hike isn’t over by the middle of the day, it’s time to take a rest. The sun will be at its harshest between midday and 3pm so sit down, have a snack and keep up the hydration until it cools down.