205 W 5th Ave
Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887
Monday - Friday
8 AM - 5 PM
Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
Kittitas County, WA -
The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office and Kittitas County Search and Rescue have responded to three medical emergencies from back-country hikers in the last two days, all related to heat exhaustion and dehydration.
One subject was airlifted out of the Deep Lake area after a rescue ground team reached him and found him unable to walk or even ride a horse out due to severe dehydration. Two others had to be provided emergency care in the field, including IV fluids, before they could walk out with the help of ground teams to get full medical care. All three were experienced hikers in good physical condition.
August in Kittitas County sees hundreds of northbound hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and other backcountry users in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. In the kind of extreme weather in our near-future forecast, all backcountry users need to have ample water (and a water filter) and electrolytes to mitigate the heat. Hiking up switchback trails and over passes in 90+ degree heat will deplete even the toughest of hikers. Heat-related illness and emergency can come on very suddenly and can be deadly.
Recognizing these dangers, the Sheriff’s Office and KCSR have worked together with medical providers in our community to become certified to administer life-saving Intravenous fluids in backcountry emergencies. We appreciate the dedication and professionalism of our KCSR volunteers and our Lead Search and Rescue Coordinator, Deputy Ellis Nale, who saw this need and worked to make it a reality. Their work will save lives; but we’d rather not see them have to use it!
During periods of extreme heat, think about hiking in the early morning hours, when it’s cooler, or in the late evening. Don’t push your luck just to get a few more miles in. Take your time, be smart, and stay hydrated. This time of year, especially in the higher elevations, the creeks shown on maps aren’t always running. Research trail reports about water availability and always have a ‘plan B’. We want users of our beautiful wilderness to make it out healthy, happy, and under their own power!
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.