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Grand Canyon hiker discovered deceased below North Rim near Toroweap Valley

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Date: September 22, 2009
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Park rangers recovered the body of a man today in an area below the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park near the Toroweap Valley.   The man’s wife called the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center last night around 10:30 to report her husband overdue. 

The man had started a day-hike yesterday at approximately 9:00 a.m. on a trail known as the Lava Falls Route.  He had planned on hiking to the Colorado River and back, a round trip distance of approximately three miles.  When he failed to return by dusk, his wife drove from the Toroweap Valley to Fredonia, Arizona, a three-hour drive, to report him overdue.

Two rangers responded to the trailhead last night to set up a containment area and to stage for an early morning search.  An aerial search of the Lava Falls Route began this morning at approximately 8:50 a.m.; the man’s body was located 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 man’s body will be flown, via long-line (line suspended from beneath a helicopter), to Tuweep near the Toroweap Valley, before being flown by helicopter to Kingman, Ariz. then transported to the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

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 2500 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.    

The man’s name and hometown/state are being held pending notification of family members.

There are no further details at this time.  An investigation is being conducted by the National Park Service.

                                    -NPS-

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