New sign on Camelback Mountain warns hikers of dangers

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by Tami Hoey

azfamily.com

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 13 at 9:55 AM

PHOENIX -- Camelback Mountain is one of the most scenic places to hike in the Valley.

But hiking can be dangerous if you go off-trail. And one woman wants to remind others to use caution while they enjoy a hike.

It was just two years ago, Clint McHale fell 30 feet on the mountain. He was airlifted down, but later died of his injuries.

McHale and a friend were hiking as they often did and decided to “free climb” along the south part of Camelback Mountain.

The men reached an area where McHale was unable to keep climbing. His friend reached back to help but was not able to hold onto McHale's hand and he fell.

"My brother, he was 25," says Clint's sister Chelsey McHale. "He was an avid hiker and he was experienced and he made the mistake of going off-trail."

Chelsey, now an advocate for hiking safety, is taking steps to make sure other hikers don't make the same mistake her brother made.

She worked with the the city of Phoenix to post an informational sign for hikers, featuring her brother's picture and telling his story. The sign is now in a high-visibility area for hikers.

"I feel this sign, showing someone who was experienced shows that you are not invincible and just because you think you can do this does not necessarily mean you can," Chelsey says.

And although Chelsey says she might never know whether her sign saves a life, she believes it will help remind other hikers to always use caution.

"I do believe there are going to be some people who are going to see that sign, and think maybe we shouldn't do that, or let's be more careful, just by seeing that sign," she says.

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