Woman dies hiking from Grand Canyon rim to river and back in a day

FAN Editor

Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. — Officials say an Indiana woman died earlier this month while hiking inside Grand Canyon National Park.

The National Park Service said Wednesday that the 36-year-old from Westfield died May 14 while trying to hike from the Grand Canyon rim to the Colorado River and back in a day.

Rangers responded to a report of an unresponsive hiker on the Bright Angel Trail above the Three-Mile Resthouse. Emergency personnel reachled her but “soon thereafter the hiker became pulseless” and resuscitation efforts failed, the Park Service says.

Her name wasn’t released.

The Park Service and Coconino County Medical Examiner are investigating her death.

 The Bright Angel Trail above the lower tunnel in Grand Canyon National Park National Park Service

Park rangers say the incident is a reminder that visitors, especially inner canyon canyon hikers and backpackers, need to plan for the weather and should expect extremely hot days in the coming weeks. It wasn’t clear whether weather played a role in her death.

Some exposed areas of the trail can reach 120 degrees during the summer.

Hiking in the inner canyon between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. is strongly discouraged during more sweltering temperatures. In addition, hiking from the rim to the river and back in one day isn’t encouraged.

“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 Park Service said in a news release.

Rangers also say there could be slower responses to emergency calls during the summer due to limited staff, the number of rescue calls, employee safety requirements and limited helicopter flying capability during periods of extreme heat or inclement weather.

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