Phoenix Fire Department offers hiking tips after Camelback Mountain death

A middle-aged woman from the United Kingdom went missing on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix Tuesday, July 7, and was ultimately found dead around 6:15 p.m. the same evening.

The hiker set out at about 9:30 a.m. with her husband and son. A park ranger reported the woman missing about 2:15 p.m. Officials believe she was separated from them after reaching the summit.

“This is a tragic ending to a long, hard, exhaustive day,” Capt. Mike Billingsley with the Phoenix Fire Department told Catherine Holland of CBS 5 News Tuesday, July 7. “We mourn this tragedy for this family. Somebody lost their mother and their wife today and this is a hard day for everybody.”

Capt. Billingsley said the woman was off trail.

“Phoenix Police Department working with Phoenix Fire Department is going to do an investigation,” Capt. Billingsley told Ms. Holland. “They’ll go ahead and look into the fact whether this was heat-related or whether this was some type of fall injury.”

Capt. Ron Jesse of the Phoenix Fire Department

In the wake of the tragedy, Phoenix Fire Capt. Ron Jesse says hikers out to be prepared when hiking and be aware of their limits, to prevent accidents like this from happening.

“That hike on Camelback Mountain from the parking lot to the summit is 1.6 miles, so you’re looking at almost a three mile hike,” said Capt. Jesse in a phone interview on July 8.

Knowing your body plays an important role when it comes to trying to tackle the mountain, Capt. Jesse contends.

“We don’t train for a marathon in a day or a week, we train over a course of time,” he said. “You need to acclimate yourself to the heat and know your body. When you start not feeling right, sit down, get your barring’s and start on the way back down.”

He suggests asking others for help or water if you need it, and don’t be afraid to call for help. He also recommends to start hydrating the night before.

“32 ounces of water is pretty good to start with,” he said. “You must remember that your body will go through that water. As much water as you drink on the way up, you will drink on the way down.”

Wear light-colored and loose fitting clothing as well as the proper shoes, said Capt. Jesse.

News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be contacted at 623-445-2746, by e-mail at or follow her on Twitter at

News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at or follow her on Twitter at

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