Indian-origin man dies after trying to hike US Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in single day

North Kaibab is considered the most difficult of the Grand Canyon’s major inner trails, reports said


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Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Published: Tue 12 Sep 2023, 2:09 PM

A 55-year-old Indian-origin man died while attempting to hike the US' Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in a single day, media reports said.

Ranjith Varma of Virginia became unresponsive while hiking with a group of about six others at the national park's North Kaibab Trail on Saturday, the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper reported on Monday.

The group had been attempting to hike from the canyon's South Rim to the North Rim on the North Kaibab Trail in a single day, Grand Canyon National Park spokesperson Joelle Baird was quoted as saying in the report.

North Kaibab is considered the most difficult of the Grand Canyon’s major inner trails, reports said.

An emergency call about a hiker in distress on the North Kaibab Trail was received by the Regional Communications Centre at approximately 1.55 pm local time. But, soon after the call, the hiker became unresponsive.

The search and rescue personnel responded to the call via helicopter but faced difficulties fully landing the aircraft, given the steep and rocky terrain.

Their attempts to resuscitate Varma failed, and he was pronounced dead, KSL-TV station reported.

His body was transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office in Flagstaff, which is investigating the incident together with the National Park Service, according to the KTAR news channel.

Although the precise cause of Varma's death is not yet known, Baird said it was likely that heat was a factor.

On Saturday, temperatures within the inner canyon were over 37.7°C, according to the report.

In the summer, temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach over 49 °C in the shade.

The report said North Kaibab is the most difficult of the Grand Canyon's major inner trails.

Grand Canyon National Park, in Northern Arizona, encompasses 447km of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. The Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, according to the website of the park.


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