Elderly hiker dies at Pinnacles

An elderly woman described as an experienced hiker died in
106-degree heat on a trail at Pinnacles National Monument on
Monday.
The 79-year-old woman and her 83-year-old husband were
discovered without water by hikers. He had gone for help after she
fell ill on the High Peaks Trail.
An elderly woman described as an experienced hiker died in 106-degree heat on a trail at Pinnacles National Monument on Monday.

The 79-year-old woman and her 83-year-old husband were discovered without water by hikers. He had gone for help after she fell ill on the High Peaks Trail.

The couple from Washington State was visiting in the area. Their names will not be released until all friends and relatives are notified, park officials said.

Witnesses and rangers said the couple had left on the hike early in the morning with only a can of soda and a few snacks.

“They succumbed to the elements up there,” said District Ranger Neal Labrie.

The husband began to hike for help and met another hiker, who helped him down the trail and sent word for help before going in search of the wife, who was about 1.5 miles from the visitors’ center, the witnesses said.

She died of cardiac arrest en route to the hospital on a life-flight helicopter. He was treated and released late Monday evening.

“A lot of people that come down here underestimate the park,” Labrie said. “There’s just no shade. People don’t realize the fact when they go in. We have a number of heat cases every year, unfortunately this one turned out to be a tragic one.”

Park visitors and rangers equipped with oxygen and other life-saving equipment helped at the scene.

“It was a mistake in the decision-making process,” Labrie said. “There was just too much heat, that’s pretty much the bottom line.”

Park officials said they would review the incident and make sure that park warnings about heat on the trails are adequate.

“If we can improve anything, we’ll do so,” Labrie said.

SHARE
Previous articleLetters to the Editor
Next articleCheck this out!

Leave your comments