The body of a man whose wife reported him overdue from a hike at Grand Canyon National Park was found in a remote and rugged area below the North Rim.
The man, whose identity was not immediately released by park officials, had set out on a day hike near the Toroweap Valley on Monday. He had planned to hike down to the Colorado River and back to the rim, according to his wife. When he failed to return by nightfall, the woman drove three hours to Fredonia, Arizona, to report her husband overdue.
Two Grand Canyon rangers camped near the trailhead Monday night just in case the man returned to the rim, and to be ready to launch a search Tuesday morning in case he didn't.
According to a park release, an aerial search of the Lava Falls Route began Tuesday just before 9 a.m. and the man's body was spotted on the lower end of the route, just off trail, at approximately 9:20 a.m. Due to the steep and remote terrain, rangers were required to hike to the scene from a landing zone approximately one hour away, the park release said. There was no immediate word on whether the man had suffered a fall.
The man’s body was flown, via long-line (line suspended below a helicopter) to Tuweep near the Toroweap Valley before being flown by helicopter to Kingman, Arizona, and then transported to the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to park officials, although "the Lava Falls Route is one of the shortest routes from the rim to the river, it is a hot steep and difficult route with loose talus slopes made up of volcanic rock with an elevation change from rim to river of more than 2,500 feet. The trailhead is approximately three miles south of the Tuweep Campground, in a remote area of the Grand Canyon. Tuweep is a five-hour drive from the North Rim developed area."