Ohio Grand Canyon hiker dies in extreme 115-degree heat
An Ohio woman who hiked the Grand Canyon died of suspected heat-related illness as temperatures soared to 115 degrees, park officials said.
Michelle Meder, 53, of Hudson, was on a multi-day hiking trip with friends when she became disoriented on Saturday along the Hermit Trail in Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and fell unconscious, said park officials in a statement Monday.
Authorities were notified of a backpacker with heat-related issues on the Tonto Trail near Monument Creek on Sunday afternoon and responded to find Meder dead.
Meder’s party of five had split up earlier, with three people walking past to signal a rafting party who called park rangers.
Meder’s cause of death is believed to be heat related, park officials said, as Sunday’s high temperature in the region reached 115 degrees, which tied the previous record for that day.
“Grand Canyon National Park rangers strongly urge visitors to the Grand Canyon, especially inner canyon hikers and backpackers, to prepare for the excessively hot days of the weeks ahead,” officials said.
Temperatures on exposed areas of the trails can exceed 120 degrees in the shade, and park officials advise against hiking the interior canyon between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. – when most people need care emergency medical care for heat-related illnesses.
Tuesday’s peak at Phantom Ranch in Arizona is expected to reach 109 degrees, with wind gusts of up to 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service. A heat warning remains in effect this week, with visitors being urged to limit outdoor activities during the day.
Temperatures along the south rim, where about 90% of hikers go, are about 20 degrees cooler than at the bottom of the huge canyon.
“It catches a lot of hikers, tourists from outside the region off guard,” National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Taylor said. “And it’s very dry.”
Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Joelle Baird said heat-related illnesses have recently increased, prompting park officials to recommend hikers wait for the scorching sun if possible.
âIt’s just very ruthless this time of year, even people who are acclimatized and fit and fit,â Baird said. ” They fight. It can be very difficult to thermally regulate if you are not used to hiking in these elements and if you are not getting adequate nutrition and hydration.
Baird did not immediately return a message early Tuesday requesting additional details on the response time to the incident.
With AP wires