A Virginia hiker passed out and died Saturday as he tried to trek more than 20 miles in a single day at the Grand Canyon, officials said.
Ranjith Varma, 55, died shortly after first responders received a call around 2 p.m. of a hiker in distress on the North Kaibab Trail while he attempted to travel from the South Rim to the North Rim inside the Arizona part of the expansive national park.
Varma, of Manassas, became unresponsive about one mile south of Cottonwood Campground after the emergency call was made, and bystanders started administering CPR, the National Park Service said in a news release.
Rescuers reached Varma by helicopter, with specialized maneuvers needed to allow rangers to provide advance life support efforts, the agency said.
“Attempts to resuscitate the hiker were unsuccessful,” the NPS said.
He died closer to the North Rim, where he was hoping to conclude his hike.
The Rim-to-Rim hike is a difficult hike that is 24 miles one way.
“There’s no question about it, the Rim-to-Rim hike in Grand Canyon National Park is a classic bucket list adventure,” the National Park Foundation advised. “But it’s no stroll through the park, that’s for sure.”
Varma’s cause of death has not been revealed, but the park service cautioned that temperatures in the summer months on exposed parts of the trail can reach above 120 degrees in the shade.
The temperature at Grand Canyon National Park Airport — a 25-minute drive from the South Rim — did not reach 90 degrees Saturday.
“Park rangers strongly advise not hiking in the inner canyon during the heat of the day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” the NPS said.
“Be aware that efforts to assist hikers may be delayed during the summer months due to limited staff, the number of rescue calls, employee safety requirements, and limited helicopter flying capability during periods of extreme heat or inclement weather.”
An investigation into the death is underway with the help of the Coconino County Medical Examiner.
Other fatalities at the Grand Canyon this summer include a 33-year-old tourist who fell 4,000 feet to his death in June and a 57-year-old woman who died during a 100-degree heat wave in early July.