On Sunday, June 20, backpacker Michelle Meder was on a multi-day backpacking trip from Hermit to Bright Angel Trail and the Grand Canyon when Regional Communications Center received a report of a backpacker experiencing heat illness on the Tonto Trail near Monument Creek.
While hiking down the Hermit trail, Meder became disoriented and later unconscious. Responding officers determined that Meder was deceased. The cause of death is believed to be heat-related.
An investigation into Meder’s death is now being conducted by the National Park Service in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner to determine what exactly happened.
Grand Canyon trails do not close due to inclement or hot weather. The NPS advised that there are ways to traverse the trails as long as you are prepared safely, well-acclimated to the climate and elevation, have the appropriate gear, and have prior experience hiking in steep, desert terrain.