A young woman died while hiking at Zion National Park last week after developing symptoms consistent with hypothermia as temperatures in the area dropped below freezing.
Fox News reports that the woman was on an approved overnight hike with her husband – a 16-mile trip through the Narrows starting at the top and making their way down. As the name suggests, this is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, with walls reaching 1,000ft tall and the river at the foot narrowing to just 30m across at points.
The paid began to feel very cold and unwell, and stopped about a mile and a half from the Riverside Walk trailhead. The man pressed on to get help, while his wife remained behind.
The man was found by other park visitors, who helped him off the trail. They were later assisted by Park Rangers who gave him emergency first aid treatment and took him to Zion Emergency Operations Center.
Other members of the public found the woman soon after and administered CPR, but when rescuers arrived, they determined that she had sadly died. "The National Park Service appreciates these visitors' efforts," said the NPS in a press release.
Conditions in the Narrows vary throughout the year – particularly the water level, which can fluctuate from day to day according to the National Park Service. The route is prone to flash floods, and is closed entirely to hikers if water levels are particularly high.
It's not clear whether the two hikers became wet during their walk, but doing so can easily lead to hypothermia, which is a dangerous drop in body temperature that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can be generated (see our guide what is hypothermia for more details). Water conducts heat away from your body much faster than air, causing your temperature to drop more rapidly.
- Cold weather hiking: how to stay safe and warm as temperatures drop
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.