There is no easy hike into Grand Canyon
Rangers respond to 216 hiker assists, 37 helicopter medical evacuations in inner canyon trails in last month
Grand Canyon National Park recently posted the following information to their social media page, asking hikers to take precautions before attempting to hike the Canyon:
Trails leading into the canyon have a way of giving folks a false sense of security. Our rangers have seen a large uptick in medical needs from visitors. Here is one common problem that our staff encounters:
Rhabdomyolysis or Rhabdo for short: Hikers who carry heavy backpacks or those who run or travel downhill too quickly (when they don’t routinely train to run on steep downhills) are more susceptible to muscle cramping and rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdo involves the breakdown of muscles, of which the byproduct can injure and clog the kidneys and can cause a cascade of serious problems that may result in short or long-term health issues. Rhabdo can also cause muscle swelling and extreme tenderness, which can progress to compartment syndrome.
Tips: Drinking enough to maintain normal urination while hiking, carrying a reasonable pack weight, and traveling at a pace your body and fitness can accommodate, will help avoid rhabdo.
Remember, your safety is your responsibility. Having an alternative plan for self-rescue is a must, as rescue is not guaranteed or always available.
Emergency evacuations at 37 for inner canyon hikers
Grand Canyon National Park have responded to 216 hiker assists, 51 search and rescue incidents and 37 helicopter medical evacuations in the inner canyon in the last month.
According to the park, many of these emergencies could have been prevented by hikers planning ahead, knowing their own physical abilities, and choosing appropriate hiking distances.
Rangers advise that anyone hiking needs to balance food and water intake, drink when thirsty, and watch for signs of distress in traveling companions. Visitors should be prepared to self-rescue while on the Canyon’s trails.
“Plan on taking twice as long to hike up as it takes to hike down,” the park stated. “Allow one-thrid of your time to descend and two-thirds of your time to ascend. Bring a lightweight flashlight in case you end up hiking in the dark and recreate responsibly at all times while visiting the park.”
A backcountry permit is required for any overnight camping in the inner canyon.
More information on obtaining a backcountry can be found at www.nps.gov/.../planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.