Grand Canyon hiker Ranjith Varma, 55, dies after trying to walk from rim to rim in a single day in 87F heat
A 55-year-old man from Virginia has died attempting to walk rim to rim of the Grand Canyon in a single day and in sweltering 87F heat.
Authorities have confirmed that on September 9 at 1:55pm, they received an emergency call about a hiker in distress on the North Kaibab Trail.
The trail is approximately one mile south of Cottonwood Campground, which is in the second leg of the ‘rim-to rim’ hike.
Shortly after the call was made, the hiker became unresponsive and bystanders initiated CPR.
National Park Service (NPS) search and rescue team raced to the location via helicopter, but despite using ‘advanced life support efforts,’ their attempts to resuscitate the man were unsuccessful.
Authorities have confirmed that on September 9 at 1:55pm, they received an emergency call about a hiker in distress on the North Kaibab Trail (pictured)
The victim was later identified as Ranjith Varma, 55, from Manassas, Virginia.
The Grand Canyon Office of Communications has confirmed that he was attempting to hike from the South Rim to the North Rim – also known as a ‘rim-to-rim’ hike.
National Park Foundation’s official website says that a rim-to-rim hike is ‘a classic bucket list adventure’ but ‘it’s no stroll through the park’ and it can have ‘catastrophic results’ if you’re unprepared.
The strenuous trek is 24 miles long one way and the recommended route is from the North Kaibab Trail to the Bright Angel Trail – it usually takes between 12 and 15 hours.
Officials have added that ‘in the summer, temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach over 120°F (49 °C) in the shade.
‘Park rangers strongly advise not hiking in the inner canyon during the heat of the day between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
‘Be aware that efforts to assist hikers may be delayed during the summer months due to limited staff, the number of rescue calls, employee safety requirements, and limited helicopter flying capability during periods of extreme heat or inclement weather.’
The trail where Varma was found is approximately one mile south of Cottonwood Campground, which is in the second leg of the ‘rim-to rim’ hike
This week Phoenix, Arizona, hit a new heat record after the mercury rose to 110F for 54 days this year – pictured is a heat map of the area taken on September 9
An investigation into the cause of Varma’s death is being conducted by the NPS in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner – it’s not yet been clarified if the death was a result of the heat.
The high temperature on Saturday was 87 degrees (30.5 Celsius) at Grand Canyon Airport, which is about a 20-minute drive from the South Rim.
It comes after America’s southwest has sweltered under a blistering heatwave over the summer months.
This week Phoenix, Arizona, hit a new heat record after the mercury rose to 110F for 54 days this year.
It’s not just America that’s suffering from the heat – last month was the hottest August ever recorded worldwide, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
It was also the second hottest month measured, behind only July 2023.
In July, two female hikers died after going for a walk in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
They make up just two of the seven suspected heat-related deaths in America’s national parks that took place between June and August.
No previous year had this many suspected heat-related deaths in national parks in the same time period.