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Hiker dies on Thunder River Trail in Grand Canyon National Park

The Thunder River Trail and Tapeats Creek (NPS Photo/E.Foss)

The Thunder River Trail and Tapeats Creek (NPS Photo/E.Foss)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Severe heat and exposure are to blame in a hiker's death at Grand Canyon National Park over Labor Day weekend, according to Grand Canyon National Park.

On Sept. 4 at approximately 7:30 p.m., the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report of a deceased backpacker along the Thunder River Trail, approximately 1 mile from the confluence of Tapeats Creek and the Colorado River.

The backpacker, Delphine Martinez, 59, of Window Rock, Ariz., was on a multi-day backpacking trip. Hiking down the Thunder River Trail on Sunday, she became disoriented and later unconscious. Trip members attempted resuscitation efforts without success. On Sept. 4, high temperatures in the inner canyon were well over 100°F, with the high temperature at Phantom Ranch approximately 115°F.

Park rangers at Grand Canyon urge visitors to the park, especially inner canyon hikers and backpackers, to be prepared for excessively hot days in the coming weeks. In the summer, temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach over 120°F in the shade. Park rangers strongly advise not hiking in the inner canyon during the heat of the day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hyponatremia and death.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the NPS in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner. No additional information is available at this time.

Information provided by Grand Canyon National Park.

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