A man died attempting to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim in a single day, authorities said.
Around 2.00pm on Saturday, the National Park Service received an emergency call about a hiker in distress along the North Kaibab Trail, about one mile south of the Cottonwood Campground.
Bystanders who found the ailing hiker began administering CPR while first responders raced to the isolated location by helicopter.
Park rangers arrived, but were unsuccessful after trying to resuscitate him with ‘advanced life support efforts.’
The victim was identified as Ranjith Varma, 55, from Manassas, Virginia.
According to the National Park Service, Varma was attempting to complete a ‘rim to rim’ hike in a single day.
The difficult trek is roughly 24 miles one way through the Grand Canyon, starting at the South Rim and ending at the North Rim.
Cottonwood Campground is in the middle of the North Kaibab Trail, the second leg of the hike. The end of the trail at the North Rim is about seven miles from the site.
It typically takes an experienced hiker 12-15 hours to complete the trek.
The American southwest has undergone a record-shattering heat wave throughout the summer. The high temperature at Grand Canyon National Park on Saturday was 87°F, according to the National Weather Service.
However, it is unclear if Varma’s death was caused by the heat. His cause of death will be determined after an investigation by the Coconino County Health and Human Services Medical Examiner’s Office.
‘In the summer, temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach over 120°F (49 °C) in the shade,’ the National Park Service said. ‘Park rangers strongly advise not hiking in the inner canyon during the heat of the day between the hours of 10am and 4pm’
They also warned that rangers may also struggle to reach stranded hikers in the summer months due to ‘limited staff, the number of rescue calls, employee safety requirements, and limited helicopter flying capability.’
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