Heat a possible factor in hiker’s death

Heat a possible factor in hiker’s deathDeath Valley National Park and Inyo County Sheriff’s Office reported the discovery of a deceased hiker, earlier this month near the Golden Canyon Loop trail.

According to a statement from Death Valley Park Rangers, the agencies received a notification around 9 p.m. on Sept. 6 of a fallen hiker. They searched the Zabriskie Point trailhead, investigating into the wee hours the following day, but were unable to locate the victim.

Later in the morning of Sept. 7, after further consultation with the reporting party, a team of rangers and a sheriff Deputy located the victim approximately 45 yards off the Badlands Loop Trail, and roughly a mile from the Zabriskie Point trailhead. Additional Park Rangers hiked in with a wheeled litter to recover the victim and transfer him to the Inyo County Coroner.

The recorded high temperature on Sept. 6 at Furnace Creek was 123 degrees Fahrenheit. The cause of death is yet to be determined by the Inyo County Coroner’s Office, but extreme heat appeared to be a factor.

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family at this time,” said Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “We also thank the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance and professionalism working under these extreme conditions.”

Park visitors should always closely monitor weather and their own health and limitations. Even with temperatures significantly below 120 degrees, minor complications can quickly become dangerous in extreme heat.

Story First Published: 2020-09-25