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Hiker In Grand Canyon National Park Apparent Victim of Heat



Grand Canyon National Park rangers have recovered the body of a hiker who apparently fell victim to the high heat of the canyon's Inner Gorge.

The victim, whose identity has not yet been released by the park, was found Sunday along the rugged Tanner Trail below Desert View after two other backpackers told rangers they had encountered another backpacker who "appeared to be exhausted and had abandoned his pack further down the trail."

The backpackers told the ranger they ran into a hiker on the Tanner Trail on Friday, August 26, who appeared to be exhausted and had abandoned his pack further down the trail.  The pair, who were also feeling heat-stressed, provided the hiker with additional water and told him they didn’t think he could make it out, a park release said.

"They urged him to go with them down to the river.  He refused, saying he wanted to continue up the trail.  On their way to the river, the pair passed the man’s abandoned pack," the report said. "On Saturday as the pair began their return journey, they again passed the abandoned pack, took note of the permit information, and looked for the distressed hiker as they continued to their next campsite.  They were carrying an extra gallon of water in case they ran into him again."

When the two reached the top of the South Rim on Sunday without seeing any sign of the backpacker, they reported the matter to rangers, who found the man's car still parked at the trailhead.

The park's helicopter was then dispatched to fly along the Tanner Trail, and the man's body was found about 10:45 a.m. in a wash above Tanner Beach, the park release said. Rangers on-scene confirmed that the body matched the description of the hiker that the backpackers encountered on Friday.

The body was prepared for transport then flown to the South Rim by helicopter and transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The Tanner is a rugged, exposed trail. Park Service materials describe the route as "unmaintained and ranks as one of the most difficult and demanding south side trails." High temperatures on Wednesday through Sunday ranged from 103 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit at the Colorado River, according to the Park Service.


Is it just my imagination or poor memory, or are the number of fatalities in parks increasing by leaps and bounds?  There has been hardly a day without another report of a fatal incident in the Digest or on these pages.

Yosemite definitely seems to be getting more deaths than usual this year, but GC always gets a few fatalities due to people hiking in extreme heat. It's so sad and so preventable. I tend to believe in signage, but this is one of those situations where lack of caution (to put it nicely) often leads people to think that the rules don't apply to them.
Quick rant: As illustrated so well in the instructive and intriguing book Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon (by Michael Ghiglieri and Thomas Myers), there are fundamental errors made by many of the hikers who die in the Canyon. The person here made three of them that we know of: hiked alone, hiked during the time of extreme heat, and (evidently) did not carry enough water. It's not clear whether he violated any of the other basic rules. But this was completely avoidable, and I feel for his family.

Hopefully the parks won't start restricting what people can do because of these foolish people. At Grand Canyon there are signs all over the place telling about this. If people are going to do stupid things after being warned it's no ones fault other then theirs

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