Phoenician, City of Phoenix team up to promote hiker safety
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Concierge for the Phoenician, Michelle Caldwell, takes her job seriously, but one task in particular holds the utmost of importance.
"We do track our hikers," she said. "We get a cell phone number, we get their names."
Caldwell has always given out-of-town visitors advice on local mountains, but now she's working with the City of Phoenix in its concierge education program in an effort to save lives.
"We see a lot of rescues are coming from out-of-town, out-of-state people that are coming from resorts and hotels," Park Ranger Mark Sirota said.
Sirota says it's about going to the source and making sure the concierge tells hikers which mountain to head up based on experience, let them know the dangers, remind them to take plenty of water, food and sunblock and to turn around if they become overwhelmed.
"One of the things about dealing with my brother's death is that it was so preventable," Chelsey McHale said.
"In May of 2011, Chelsey's 25-year-old brother, Clint, fell to his death while climbing off a trail. Whether its staying on trail or the heat, she wants everyone to be smart.
"You're not invincible, not matter how skilled you are, how experienced you are," she said.
Michelle Caldwell asks a lot of questions and takes all the facts into account, including weather before recommending a trail or even that the guest skip the hike all together.
She's hopeful hikers take her advice.
Along with the Phoenician, the City of Phoenix is teaming up with 26 other hotels and resorts valley-wide to hand out this potentially life-saving information to guests.