Woman expires on South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – On Sunday June 30 at approximately 3:30 p.m. the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call from the emergency phone at Phantom Ranch Boat Beach with a report of an unconscious female hiker approximately three-quarters of a mile above Phantom Ranch on the South Kaibab Trail within Grand Canyon National Park.

Park rangers responding from the Phantom Ranch ranger station initiated CPR upon arriving on scene, but efforts to resuscitate the victim were unsuccessful.

The body was flown by helicopter to the South Rim helibase and transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The woman was in a group of five people on the first day of a multi-day backcountry hiking permit, heading down to the Phantom Ranch.

The South Kaibab is a steep, exposed trail, and the high temperature for Phantom Ranch yesterday afternoon was 113 degrees.

This area of Grand Canyon National Park has been subject to water restrictions due to a rupture in the Trans-Canyon Water Pipeline. Visitors hiking to Phantom Ranch have been advised to be self-sufficient and to carry or treat all drinking water. See previous story here.

However, Vanya Pryputniewicz, Public Affairs Officer for the Park said that repairs have been completed to the pipeline and it was operational by noon on Sunday if not Saturday night.

Pryputniewicz said the party was together when the woman had difficulty. The other members of the party were flown by the National Park Service to the South Rim yesterday evening.

There are three trails that lead to the Phantom Ranch. The South Kaibab, the North Kaibab and the Bright Angel Trails. The South Kaibab Trail that the hiking party was using on their way down to the Phantom Ranch is a waterless trail year-round, Pryputniewicz said, while the North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails do have drinking water.

The South Kaibab trail does not have any shade or water at anytime,” Pryputniewicz said.

The identity of the victim is being withheld pending family notification. Pryputniewicz said she has no information as to where the party is from.

The National Park Service is conducting an investigation into the incident, in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner, and an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.

That said, Pryputniewicz said there is no indication of foul play.

No further information is available at this time.

Related posts

Grand Canyon pipeline rupture interrupts operations at Phantom Ranch; water shortage

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Bender July 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Bummer. Brutally hot in the canyon. No heat and no water on South Kaibab. It’s not a long trail — as trails in the Grand go — but you want to be off it before noon when it’s this hot. Day hiking the canyon is an upside down mountain hike. When climbing a mountain you get cooler as you get higher. In the canyon it only gets hotter as you descend and when you reach the bottom, you begin the hardest part of the hike in the heat of the day. Easy to get in trouble in the canyon. In this heat, mistakes or illness are often not forgiven. But for good fortune, there go I.
    It’s a breathtaking hike.Condolences to family and friends. The rest of us can take a reminder of the care needed and danger inherent in desert canyon hiking. LDS scout leaders, I’m talking to you.

  • yolandamlewisy December 13, 2018 at 9:19 am

    My boyfriend and I hiked the S Kaibab trail down to Colorado and then came back up to the south rim via Bright Angel in just under 7 hours. It was absolutely amazing! I personally liked the S Kaibab better than Bright Angel…it was steeper but the views are breathtaking and the hike was just more interesting in my opinion. We took a shuttle from Bright Angel Lodge to the trailhead at 8:00 and it was 29 degrees out, but by the time we got to the bottom, it was about 70 degrees. I feel like you just can’t visit the Grand Canyon without checking this epic trail off of the list. Just don’t forget your trekking poles …* they are a life-saver on this trail!

    * Hyperlink removed.

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