Grand Canyon Visitor Dies Attempting Ambitious Day Hike

Indiana woman was found without a pulse along Bright Angel Trail
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2023 11:55 AM CDT
Grand Canyon Visitor Dies Attempting Ambitious Day Hike
In this July 27, 2015, file photo, the busy Bright Angel Trail is crowded with hikers headed down into the Grand Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

A Grand Canyon hiker was found without a pulse after trying to make it the Colorado River and back in a day. Officials received a report of an "unresponsive hiker" on the Bright Angel Trail, one of the most popular trails through the canyon, at 9pm on May 14, according to a Wednesday statement from the National Park Service. First responders traveled three miles below the canyon's South Rim and found a 36-year-old woman from Westfield, Indiana, lacking a pulse, according to the statement. "All attempts to resuscitate the individual were unsuccessful," the statement adds.

NPS says a cause of death is under investigation, per the Arizona Republic. But it warns that "hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hyponatremia (a life threatening electrolyte imbalance from drinking too much water and not consuming enough salt), and death." The temperature at the South Rim, "where 90% of all visitors go, is about 20 degrees cooler than at the bottom," per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can hit 120 degrees in the shade, according to NPS.

The Bright Angel Trail descends some 4,460 feet from the South Rim to the river along a 7.8- mile trail that passes through Havasupai Gardens, according to a page on NPS' website. Another page notes hikers should check with a park ranger before attempting to hike in and out in a day. Rangers generally say it's not a good idea, as KSAZ reports. They also advise against hiking in the inner canyon between 10am and 4pm due to the risk of heat-related illness. It's not clear if the woman spoke with a ranger before setting out, per the Republic. It's also unclear how far she hiked. She was found near the trail's Three-Mile Resthouse. (More hiker death stories.)

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