Arizona Hiker Found Dead in Grand Canyon National Park

by Amy Myers

On Sunday, Grand Canyon National Park rangers responded to a report of a deceased backpacker along the Thunder River Trail.

At around 7:30 in the evening, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call regarding a hiker fatality roughly one mile from the confluence of Tapeats Creek and the Colorado River. Once they arrived at the scene, they found Delphine Martinez, 59, of Window Rock, Arizona. According to the park’s release, Martinez was on a multi-day backpacking trip and was traveling along Thunder River Trail, which the Grand Canyon Conservancy described as a wilderness trail with “washouts and rockslides” that “require some route-finding skill.” The Conservancy also stated that the route is hot and dry in the summer.

Grand Canyon National Park reported that on September 4, Martinez became disoriented and fell unconscious. At this point, other members of the backpacking trip tried to resuscitate her but were unsuccessful.

It seems likely that the backpacker fell victim to heat illness, as temperatures in the region were in the triple digits.

“On September 4, high temperatures in the inner canyon were well over 100°F (38°C), with the high temperature at Phantom Ranch approximately 115°F (46°C),” the park explained.

“Park rangers at Grand Canyon National Park urge 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 (49 °C) in the shade,” the release continued. “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.”

Grand Canyon National Park Recovers Body of Another Hiker

Martinez’s death isn’t the only tragedy that Grand Canyon National Park has suffered in recent weeks. On August 26, rangers responded to another call regarding a deceased hiker, this time near Bright Angel Point, a popular overlook of the North Rim.

“Responding rangers located the body of a 44-year-old male approximately 200 ft. below the rim. The visitor was off trail when he accidentally fell off the edge,” the release read.

Grand Canyon National Park didn’t release the name or location of the male hiker.

In order to retrieve the body from the precarious location, five emergency professionals constructed a pulley system and hoisted the man back onto the trail. AllTrails listed the Bright Angel Trail as easy, however, the site did warn of steep drop-offs along the edges.