Malibu Search and Rescue team warns of the perils of summer hiking

Photos Courtesy of David Katz.

By Trisha Anas

Special to The Malibu Times

With the arrival of summer, not only are temperatures rising, but there’s been an increase in concerns for hiking safety.

The Malibu Search and Rescue (SAR) team wants hikers to be prepared before tackling the trails, including checking temperatures ahead of time. 

SAR Team Leader and Public Information Officer David Katz said in a phone interview that hikers who come by usually underestimate the supplies needed to prepare for the trails and the heat.

“The biggest concerns in the summer are obviously the weather and we have a lot of people who do not carry enough water,” Katz said. “People misjudge the amount of water they’re going to need. They also don’t wear the proper clothing or proper footwear.”

Katz said that it is also essential to keep phones fully charged and to use them while hiking to preserve the battery in case of an emergency. 

“One of the biggest issues that we have is people having their phones run out of battery before we get onto the scene,” Katz said.

Another mistake people tend to make, according to Katz, is when people hike with their dogs on extremely hot days.

Katz said that SAR tries to put out warnings on their social media account every year to warn people about bringing their pets to the trails.

“We have people that hike with dogs, and the dogs pass away because people misjudge not only the abilities of their dogs, but they also don’t carry enough water for [both] themselves and their dogs,” Katz said. “For dogs, once they get heatstroke, there’s really no coming back from it.”

Katz said with an early summer heatwave back in June, they’re pushing people to plan ahead before tackling any of the trails.

“We’re encouraging people to hike during the early morning hours, suggesting about 5 to 8 in the morning,” Katz said. 

Katz also warned about hikers going on their excursions later at night. 

“Darkness itself creates an additional element that puts people into bad circumstances, either because they lose their way or they slip off the side of a cliff, so they need to be cognizant of that as well,” Katz said. “Generally speaking, we would say it’s better to exercise indoors during the day in an air-conditioned environment rather than hiking outdoors.”

To view temperatures ahead of time, allows people to check detailed weather forecasts anywhere in the United States.

But the heat isn’t the only thing hikers should be concerned about. Katz said that people should also take their personal health into consideration.

“We do often have people that have health issues that go hiking or people that are significantly overweight who are going out in an attempt to try to lose weight,” Katz said. “While we do encourage that, this is not the weather to be doing it.”

According to an article from Santa Monica Daily Press, 53-year-old Jay Goldberg died in June at one of the Will Rogers State Park trails because of a heart attack.

Katz said that it’s important to notify family members or friends where they’re going and when they are expected to return.

According to Katz, SAR members usually patrol different hiking trails on the weekend when their call volume is at its busiest, but are also on-call 24 hours a day seven days a week.

More information on hiking safety and on the Malibu SAR can be found on their website ( and on their social media.