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Body of Missing Backpacker Found in Grand Canyon National Park

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Date: July 25, 2009
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, search teams found a body believed to be that of overdue backpacker Bryce Gillies in the Bonita Creek drainage on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

On Tuesday, July 21, the National Park Service (NPS) was notified that one or more hikers were overdue from a backpacking trip in Grand Canyon National Park.  Initial efforts by investigators located the car of Bryce Gillies at the Bill Hall Trailhead on the North Rim of the park, and determined that only one person had gone on the backpacking trip. 

With no backcountry permit to work from and no knowledge of Mr. Gillies specific plans, searchers began covering a large area from the Deer Creek drainage across Surprise Valley to the Tapeats Creek drainage and down to the river.  Today, rescue personnel narrowed their search to the Bonita Creek drainage and surrounding area based on the discovery of personal items, including a backpack, in that vicinity.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., a search team, moving up Bonita Creek from its confluence with the Colorado River, found a body at the top of a 100 foot pour-off.  The body, located less than one-half mile from the river confluence, has been presumptively identified as that of 20 year-old Bryce Gillies, a student at Northern Arizona University.

The body will be recovered by helicopter via long-line operation and transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

This multi-day search involved approximately 50 NPS personnel and volunteers from Grand Canyon National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Zion National Park.


To download this news release in .pdf format, CLICK HERE.

Did You Know?


The more recent Kaibab limestone caprock, on the rims of the Grand Canyon, formed 270 million years ago. In contrast, the oldest rocks within the Inner Gorge at the bottom of Grand Canyon date to 1.84 billion years ago. Geologists currently estimate the age of Earth at 4.5 billion years.