Grand Canyon National Park rangers responded to multiple heat related search and rescue incidents this past weekend. Hikers and backpackers attempting hikes in the inner canyon are strongly encouraged to be prepared for excessively hot temperatures and to understand their own physical limitations in order to prevent emergency situations for themselves and responders.
On Saturday, June 20, Phantom Ranch rangers responded to a river runner experiencing heat illness and fatigue on a Colorado River trip. The river runner drank an excessive quantity of water, leading to hyponatremia and an altered level of consciousness. The park's helicopter and ambulance transported the patient to the Flagstaff Medical Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.
On Sunday, June 21, Indian Garden rangers responded to a hiker experiencing an altered level of consciousness on the Bright Angel Trail. When rangers arrived they observed the hiker was in heat stroke and immediately used active cooling measures. The patient was transferred via helicopter to the Flagstaff Medical Center.
Other incidents this weekend involved assists for hikers experiencing heat exhaustion on the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails.
Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park are strongly urging visitors who plan to hike in the canyon to take extra precautions and hike smart. Hikers should hike before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., rest in shade whenever possible, and avoid hiking during the heat of the day. Rangers advise that anyone hiking in heat needs to balance food and water intake, drink when thirsty, and get wet to stay cool.
All visitors should ensure they are drinking plenty of fluids, resting in shade during the heat of the day, and watching for signs of distress in traveling companions. Visitors are also reminded they should be prepared to self-rescue while on the canyon's trails and recreate responsibly while visiting the park. Additional information about hiking smart in the heat is available at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-smart.htm.