Grand Canyon National Park rangers have recovered the body of a hiker who apparently fell victim to the high heat of the canyon's Inner Gorge.
The victim, whose identity has not yet been released by the park, was found Sunday along the rugged Tanner Trail below Desert View after two other backpackers told rangers they had encountered another backpacker who "appeared to be exhausted and had abandoned his pack further down the trail."
The backpackers told the ranger they ran into a hiker on the Tanner Trail on Friday, August 26, who appeared to be exhausted and had abandoned his pack further down the trail. The pair, who were also feeling heat-stressed, provided the hiker with additional water and told him they didn’t think he could make it out, a park release said.
"They urged him to go with them down to the river. He refused, saying he wanted to continue up the trail. On their way to the river, the pair passed the man’s abandoned pack," the report said. "On Saturday as the pair began their return journey, they again passed the abandoned pack, took note of the permit information, and looked for the distressed hiker as they continued to their next campsite. They were carrying an extra gallon of water in case they ran into him again."
When the two reached the top of the South Rim on Sunday without seeing any sign of the backpacker, they reported the matter to rangers, who found the man's car still parked at the trailhead.
The park's helicopter was then dispatched to fly along the Tanner Trail, and the man's body was found about 10:45 a.m. in a wash above Tanner Beach, the park release said. Rangers on-scene confirmed that the body matched the description of the hiker that the backpackers encountered on Friday.
The body was prepared for transport then flown to the South Rim by helicopter and transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.
The Tanner is a rugged, exposed trail. Park Service materials describe the route as "unmaintained and ranks as one of the most difficult and demanding south side trails." High temperatures on Wednesday through Sunday ranged from 103 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit at the Colorado River, according to the Park Service.