Valley mountain rescues on the rise, tracking down lost hikers more challenging at night

PHOENIX - Fire crews have already responded to 83 mountain rescues in 2014.

It’s a statistic one Valley man knows first-hand.

Warren Nagler was in need of help when he got separated from his friend while hiking back in February.

"I was on the phone with somebody and the phone dropped off. So now I’m alone and it's suddenly dark," Nagler said.

He said he tried to walk back to where he last had cell phone service. That’s when he got a hold of his friend but couldn’t tell her where he was. So she called 911 to help him find his way back.

"All of a sudden there's an air unit-helicopter and they're looking for me," Nagler recalled.

The chopper was able to light Nagler's way back to the trail, but not every rescue is so easy.

Last year, the Phoenix Fire Department responded to 164 mountain rescues.

Gary Brewer works as a concierge at the Phoenician Resort near Camelback Mountain. He says he knows rescues happen often especially during the summer months.

Brewer said, "We can sometimes hear the helicopters from up above.”

He said he warns the guests about the possible dangers on the trails but that he also asks them to call when they come back. Just "to let us know that they've arrived back safely," Brewer said.

Nagler said he's learned his lesson and picked up a few other tips along the trail. "Make sure you're wearing good shoes and know where you are."

He also said, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

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