A woman hiking the Grand Canyon with her husband and a friend died on Wednesday. The California woman became dizzy and disoriented in the extreme heat.
The National Park Service (NPS) says 49-year-old Catherine Houe stopped breathing after hiking four miles down into the Canyon. Houe, her husband, and the friend were hiking the South Kaibab Trail while heading towards the Phantom Ranch, Daily Mail reports.
A helicopter flew in first responders. They administered CPR on Houe, however, she was overcome by the heat. The National Park Service (NPS) and the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office are conducting an investigation into the incident, officials said.
For those considering hiking in the Grand Canyon, prepare for excessively hot temperatures. The NPS warns that hikers exposed to direct sunlight would need to be able to withstand temperatures exceeding 130 degrees. Also, officials warn that the temperature rises the farther you go into the canyon.
In recent weeks, the NPS issued a number of social media warnings about excessive heat in addition to offering health recommendations. They advise against hiking between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Also, hikers should drink lots of water and eat plenty of salty foods to keep sodium levels up.
The Phantom Ranch is one of the hottest spots in the Canyon. The compression of air at lower elevations causes the scorching temperatures. The phenomenon is known as “adiabatic heating.”
Extreme Summer Temperatures
Last week, the NPS tweeted about the weather conditions causing a hiker’s boot to come apart. ‘The heat inside the canyon can cause shoes to come apart, and heavy hiking boots can trap sweat and lead to painful blisters,” park service officials said. “Before setting off on a hike, understand the limitations of yourself and your gear.”
Park officials have been called on several heat-related search and rescue incidents in recent weeks. Most recently, a river runner began “experiencing heat illness and fatigue,” the NPS states.
The runner reportedly drank an excessive amount in water which led to hyponatremia. This term describes a dangerous drop in the body’s sodium levels. Hyponatremia caused the runner to go into an “altered state of consciousness.”
Park officials also responded to hikers suffering from heat exhaustion on the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails.
[H/T Daily Mail]