A Virginia hiker collapsed and died Saturday while attempting to hike more than 20 miles in a single day at the Grand Canyon, officials said.
Ranjith Varma, 55, died shortly after first responders received a call around 2 p.m. from a hiker in distress on the North Kaibab Trail while attempting to travel from the South Rim to the North Rim at inside the Arizona portion of the vast national park.
Varma, of Manassas, became unconscious about a mile south of Cottonwood Campground after the emergency call went out, and bystanders began administering CPR, the National Park Service said in a statement Press.
Rescuers reached Varma by helicopter, with specialized maneuvers necessary to allow rangers to provide advanced resuscitation efforts, the agency said.
“Attempts to resuscitate the hiker were unsuccessful,” the NPS said.
He died closer to the North Rim, where he hoped to finish his hike.
The Rim-to-Rim hike is a challenging 24-mile one-way hike.
“There is no doubt about it, the Rim-to-Rim hike in Grand Canyon National Park is a classic adventure,” advised the National Park Foundation. “But it’s no walk in the park, that’s for sure.”
Varma’s cause of death has not been released, but the park service warned that temperatures during the summer months on exposed portions of the trail can reach more than 120 degrees in the shade.
The temperature at the airport at Grand Canyon National Park — located a 25-minute drive from the South Rim — did not reach 90 degrees Saturday.
“Park rangers strongly recommend against hiking the inner canyon during the heat of the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” the NPS said.
“Please be aware that efforts to assist hikers may be delayed during the summer months due to limited staffing, number of rescue calls, employee safety requirements, and limited helicopter flight capacity during periods of extreme heat or bad weather. »
An investigation into the death is underway with the assistance of the Coconino County Medical Examiner.
Other deaths at the Grand Canyon this summer include a 33-year-old tourist who died from a 4,000-foot fall in June and a 57-year-old woman who died during a 40-degree heatwave in early July.
New York Post