Zion National Park: Hiker Dies of Heatstroke After Complaining of Exhaustion

by Josh Lanier

A 32-year-old died after collapsing at the end of a hike at the Zion National Park in Utah. The Milwaukee native had complained to friends that he felt ill just before he fell over.

John Henry Wolfe was hiking with others along the Canyon Trail at the national park on Monday. Temperatures in the Zion National Park reached 95 degrees that day, Accuweather said. Wolfe had just finished a 9-mile trek when he started to complain about the heat. Suddenly, he collapsed onto the ground, the New York Post said.

Paramedics found Wolfe unresponsive when they arrived. They gave him CPR for an hour but to no avail. First responders airlifted his body out of the park. The National Park Service and local authorities are investigating the cause of his death, Zion National Park officials said in a statement.

Heatstroke begins when the body reaches 103 degrees and can be fatal, the CDC said. Some of the warning signs to look for include headaches, dizziness, nausea, high pulse, and confusion. If you or a friend begins to notice these symptoms call 911 immediately. Move to a cooler place and use cool washcloths, a garden hose, or a cold bath to try and reduce the body’s temperature.

Climbers Fall To Their Deaths In Zion National Park

At least three others have also died at the Zion National Park this year. Each of them fell to their deaths while climbing at the Utah park.

Corbin McMillen, 42, of Utah was hiking near the Angels Landing when he fell in February. He told his mom he was going to go hiking in that area, but rescue workers began a search when they found his car the next morning, the Salt Lake Tribune said. Investigators found his body a few hours later.

In March, Jason Hartwell, 43, of Utah also fell while trying to maneuver through Angels Landing, rangers said in a statement. His injuries were consistent with someone who suffered a high-elevation fall.

A mile south of Angels Landing and about three months later, a 26-year-old woman fell to her death at the Zion National Park in June. The woman was canyoneering at Mystery Canyon when she slipped and fell more than 50 feet to the ground below.

Paramedics reached her but were unable to get her out of the park before she died from her injuries. Helicopter pilots couldn’t “extricate the patient due to the steep narrow, canyon walls,” according to a National Parks news release.

Federal authorities didn’t identify the woman, but friends later said her name was Cassie Brown. Tom Jones, who worked with Brown as a guide at Zion Adventure Company, said Brown was a talented canyoneer and great friend. He explained what caused her fall.

“Cassy was one of the most capable canyoneers I know; she was doing a solo descent of an easy canyon. Near the end, she apparently got her rope stuck on a rappel, and unfortunately chose to ascend the rope,” he wrote on Facebook. “The rope released at some point, and she fell to the ground, resulting in multiple severe injuries.”