News Release

Hiker Fatality Near Manly Beacon

badlands with a prominent hill and sunrise light turning distant mountains pink
Manly Beacon from Zabriskie Point at sunrise.

NPS / E. Hoerner

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News Release Date: August 24, 2021

Contact: Carma Roper (Inyo County Sheriff's Office)

Contact: Jennette Jurado (Death Valley National Park)

DEATH VALLEY, CA – On Saturday, August 21, 2021, Mr. Blake Chaplin, 52, of Leawood, Kansas, was found deceased near the Manly Beacon formation along the Golden Canyon Trail in Death Valley National Park. This was the second fatality along this trail within a week.

National park staff received a report from an early morning hiker who discovered Mr. Chaplin next to the trail. Park rangers responded and confirmed the report. No helicopters were available to assist, so national park staff search and rescue team members hiked in to recover the body. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and Inyo County Coroner are investigating the cause of death; foul play is not suspected. 

Temperatures on August 21st and 22nd reached 109 degrees, which is below the daily normal of 115 degrees. Although these temperatures may be cooler compared to a typical Death Valley summer day, precautions should still be taken while visiting in the heat.

Park rangers urge summer travelers to visit Death Valley safely by limiting strenuous activity (such as hiking) to the relatively cooler morning hours (ending hikes before 10 a.m.), drinking plenty of water, eating salty snacks, and staying close to air conditioning. Incredible scenery can be viewed from vistas and overlooks within a few minutes’ walk from a vehicle.

Last updated: August 24, 2021

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