GRAND CANYON, Arizona – A 53-year-old woman died over the weekend at the Grand Canyon from what authorities believe to be a heat-related illness.
The Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report at around 1:15 p.m. on Sunday that a backpacker was suffering from heat illness on the Tonto Trail near Monument Creek, Grand Canyon National Park said in a statement from hurry.
Michelle Meder of Hudson, Ohio, became “disoriented and later unconscious” while hiking the Hermit Trail on Saturday while on a multi-day hiking trip in the area, the park said.
Rangers found Meder dead on Sunday. The high temperature at Phantom Ranch, where Bright Angel Trail is located, was 115 degrees on Saturday, the park said.
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Be prepared for the heat, say park officials
Park officials “strongly urge” visitors to be prepared for excessive heat on summer canyon hikes, with the press release saying temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach over 120 degrees in the shade. Rangers have also advised against hiking the inner canyon between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which the park says is the most common time for hikers in need of emergency medical help.
He added that rescue efforts may be delayed during the summer due to limited personnel, higher number of calls, employee safety requirements and limited helicopter flight capabilities in extreme heat.
The National Park Service said the canyon’s trails do not close due to the high temperatures and encouraged hikers to check its website for tips on safely hiking the canyon in the summer.
Last week James Crocker, 63, of Lakewood, Colorado, drowned while boating on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. Crocker’s death is under investigation by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner.
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