A 55-year-old man died Saturday after attempting to complete a rim-to-rim trek of the Grand Canyon, park officials announced Monday.
At approximately 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 9, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received reports of a hiker in distress near the North Kaibab Trail, about one mile south of Cottonwood Campground, a release from the National Park Service (NPS) stated.
While emergency officials made their way to the site, the hiker, identified as Virginia resident Ranjith Varma, became unresponsive, prompting bystanders to initiate life-saving measures. When emergency personnel did arrive on the scene, “specialized helicopter maneuvers were employed to allow rangers to assume care of the hiker, initiating advance life support efforts,” the release stated.
— Grand Canyon NPS (@GrandCanyonNPS) September 11, 2023
Despite the combined efforts of first responders and bystanders, all attempts to resuscitate Varma were unsuccessful, according to the release.
Varma was reportedly attempting to hike from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim in a single day — a distance of approximately 21 miles that usually takes 8 to 12 hours. Due to summer heat, which can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit on exposed areas of the trail, park officials “strongly advise” hikers not to trek the inner part of the canyon between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the release. (RELATED: Hiker Found Dead In Zion National Park After Husband Went To Look For Help)
The cause of Varma’s death was not immediately ruled to be heat-related and is still under investigation by the NPS in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner, the release stated. The forecast on Saturday was mostly cloudy with temperatures at the nearby Grand Canyon Village reaching a high of 84.9 degrees Fahrenheit.