He Tried to Hike From Rim to Rim, Died Halfway Through

Ranjith Varma of Virginia becomes 9th person to die inside Grand Canyon this year
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2023 11:40 AM CDT
He Tried to Hike From Rim to Rim, Died Halfway Through
The Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai reservation on Aug. 15, 2022, in northwestern Arizona.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Another hiker has died amid triple-digit temperatures in Grand Canyon National Park. Ranjith Varma, a 55-year-old man from Manassas, Virginia, died Saturday while attempting a 21-mile trek from the south rim of the canyon to the north rim, a grueling journey that can take up to 15 hours, CBS News reports. Varma, part of a group of six, got halfway through the hike before falling unresponsive in the inner canyon around 2pm, the National Park Service said, per the Guardian. Park rangers advise against hiking in the inner canyon between 10am and 4pm due to high temperatures. It was over 100 degrees in the inner canyon on Saturday, the Guardian reports.

Authorities initially received a report of a hiker in distress on the North Kaibab Trail, about one mile south of Cottonwood Campground, according to NPS. Bystanders had begun CPR before rescuers arrived via helicopter. "Attempts to resuscitate the hiker were unsuccessful," NPS said. It's unclear what caused Varma's death, though NPS public affair specialist Joelle Baird tells the Guardian that "heat can be a factor that a lot of folks, unless they're from a hot environment, can be blindsided by." Verma is the ninth person to die in the canyon this year, per the Guardian. (In May, a 36-year-old Indiana woman died while trying to hike to the Colorado River and back in a day.)

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