Woman dies at Grand Canyon

3:47 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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A woman fell to her death at the Grand Canyon early Wednesday evening.

According to information from the National Park Service, the woman's husband had exited the restroom to find his wife missing. He then called the National Park Service for help.

Rangers saw her body 600 feet below the rim, which they planned to retrieve this morning for transport to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The Park Service has not identified the woman or her husband.

4:03 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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How sad and horrible for the guy.  

I wonder if it was suicide. It just seems really odd thing to happen accidentally at a location where there is a restroom.

4:11 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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No from what I know about the rims of the canyon after being there over 20 years, many people get too close to the edge and accidently fall. Most of the rim does'nt have a manmade wall at the edge. Approximently 1-2 people fall either off the rim or off the trails in the canyon each year.

4:26 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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Over here there are at least railings to keep you safe along often used cliffs (look at some of my pictures for example), or signs. Gary, are there warning signs for visitors? How can the state keep the beauty of the landscape yet keep everyone safe? If this happens every year, I hope this is being addressed. God bless the poor wife and her husband.

6:30 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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If there's any signs, I guess they would say "watch that first step"?

A few years ago when I worked on the south rim, a asian tourering group were standing on the rim, one woman fell, but it was only a few feet, a week later another asian group were standing in the same spot and just as the guide was explaining that someone had fallen there a week before someone else stepped off by accident. Usually it happens when someone is having their picture taken and they don't look behind them.

In 1999 a family was walking down one of the trails into the canyon, thier 12 year old daughter was running ahead. When the other family members later could not find her she was later seen about 500 feet below from where she had fallen.

Some places on the rims have huge drop-offs. One place called the Abyss has a 4000 foot cliff just over a log fence a few feet from the edge of the West Rim road.

More people make the mistake of dayhiking down to the Colorado River which is 5000 feet from the rim over about 7 miles. It is easy to walk down hill in a couple leasurely hours and people often do it without thinking when they get to the river they will have to hike back out. It used to take me 5 hours to hike out, but I was in hiking shape after weeks in the canyon backpacking.

I saw a japanese guy once as I was hiking up, he was just to the Colorado River at about 7 pm in September. He asked how far it was to Phantom Ranch, I asked him if he was staying there tonight and he sadi no he was staying on the rim. He had a camera and a empty soda can. I told him he should turn around now as it would take a while to hike back to the rim. He said he would after he saw Phantom Ranch, it was 2 1/2 more mile along the river to the ranch and he said goodbye and went on.

Many want to be backpackers hike down and stay overnight in the backcountry camps that are at or near the bottom, then on their way out the next day they leave equipment behind so they won't have to carry them out.  I have seen whole backpacks, tents sleeping bags and other gear at the backcountry camps that were obviously left behind.

Others when I tell them they should not dayhike to the colorado and back in one day, say "Oh, if I can't hike out the rangers will come get me by helicopter. I say yes, right after they have zipped you into a dead body bag. Or they think the mule riders are people who couldn't hike out.

Heat stroke in the months from April to October is one of the ways many dayhikers get sick, most people do not take any water or snacks down in to the canyon and just hike way to far. In summer the temperture rises about 10 degrees for every 1000 feet below the rim. While rims may be 60-80 during the day at 7500-8000 feet, the colorado river area at the bottom can be 120 degrees.

I used to hike in December and January when rim temps were 10-30 degrees while the inner canyon would be 50-70 degrees. I would start in winter clothing and be in shorts and a tshirt at the bottom.

8:42 a.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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It's always a sad occurrence, but it just drives home the point to be mindful of your surroundings. Especially so in the backcountry.

12:14 a.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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It's always a sad occurrence, but it just drives home the point to be mindful of your surroundings. Especially so in the backcountry.

Absolutely.

12:24 p.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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Another park that has problems with people falling is Zion in southwestern Utah. The Angels Landing trail gets about one tourist a year that falls from its 1200-2000 foor clifs. The trail in places runs right along the edge of the cliff with little more than a chainrailing. There are precauction signs but every now and then someone gets careless and falls to their death.

1:02 p.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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Gary,

     I honestly believe that people want to start a new hobby, but not educate themselves on the dangers or maybe ask for a "mentor" or pro for help. You can not be a "tourist" in the backcountry. That will get you killed. Period. I have seen shredded tents in the Alps from tourists who try to save money by buying an inferior product. I have also talked to people who lost some some digits from frost bite because they did not know what to buy.

3:05 a.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
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The kid who eats the marbles doesn't grow up to have kids of his own, as the saying goes.

I personally think the problem is the rim is so damn accessible it encourages a lack of cautiousness. People get out of their cars, or off buses and start strolling around.

Take Half Dome in Yosemite, there have been some series deaths from people sliding down it. Yet every year thousand of homers and day bikers go up. The difficulty forces people to be aware of their surroundings and every step.

I haven't been to the grand canyon, but with as distracted as we are with cellphones, text messages and other things, when you can walk right up to the edge from your tour bus, it's bound to cause more deaths.

I just think easy access can create an illusion of safety in some peoples minds.

3:06 a.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
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Speaking of, stupid iPad autocorrect butted my post. Homers should be back packers and day hikers not bikers.

12:07 p.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
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Oh, I thought the Homer's were Homer Simpson's :) DOH!


alg_homer-simpson.jpg

12:13 a.m. on February 15, 2011 (EST)
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The GC is a must on the bucket list. It will blow your mind even if your the most experinced traveler. Ive yet to hike down into the canyon, but have walked many miles of the trail that runs along the edge of the south rim. The only place you'll find gaurd rails is at the major lookouts where the tour buses stop.  There are these kinda funny looking signs of a stick figure falling with feet in the air and rocks under him that say "Fall Hazard" EVERYWHERE.  People wander off the trail and climb the rocks and ledges of loose rocks at the edge all the time. With thousands and thousands of people visiting every year, you cant protect them all.  IMO to many people with no common sense = Death at the Canyon!  sad but true.

11:25 a.m. on February 15, 2011 (EST)
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There is a book out called Over the Edge: Death at the Grand Canyon. It lists the 100s of people that have died at the Grand Canyon since the late 1800s. Illustrated.


Over-the-Edge-Death-in-the-Grand-Canyon.

9:36 p.m. on February 22, 2011 (EST)
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It just seems really odd thing to happen accidentally at a location where there is a restroom.

4:23 a.m. on March 17, 2011 (EDT)
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sometimes the view is just to magnetic and some people do unknowingly lose the balance equilibrium on cliff edge viewing.  Note for all, don't get close to an edge if not seated and or hanging on to something as restraint

September 14, 2014
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