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Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The body of a man recovered from a remote area within Grand Canyon National Park has been identified as that of 30-year-old Gavin C. Smith, of Lawrence Kansas.
He and four others were on what was to be a day hike to the river on the Lava Falls Route, a remote route near Tuweep in the Toroweap Valley, approximately 3.5 hours from the developed area on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Initial investigations indicate that Mr. Smith hiked approximately one-half of the way down to the river and then decided to wait for his companions to descend to the river and come back to his location. He was last seen by his friends at approximately 9:00 Tuesday morning.
Mr. Smith's body was found by one of his hiking companions late Tuesday afternoon, approximately 100 yards from a parking area adjacent to where the route begins. His hiking companion reported the incident to a National Park Service volunteer located at Tuweep.
Park rangers recovered his body yesterday morning. His body was flown to Kingman, Arizona and transferred to the Mohave County Medical Examiner. Initial indications are that Mr. Smith's death was heat related.
Park rangers urge hikers, especially when hiking in remote areas of the park, to be aware of the hazards that exist and to go prepared. The Lava Falls Route is one of the hottest, steepest routes within Grand Canyon National Park. It is can be dangerous and is not a hike that is recommended during hotter times of the year. Hiking information, including trail conditions and weather, can be obtained on the park's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm, at one of the park's Backcountry Information Center's or by calling 928-638-7875.