Woman dies on descent to popular Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon

A 49-year-old California woman died last week while hiking from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch located at the bottom of the canyon.

Catherine Houe was hiking on the South Kaibab Trail Wednesday evening when she became dizzy and disoriented about 4 miles into the hike. She had descended 3,390 feet when she stopped breathing and CPR was performed before National Park Service personnel responded with a helicopter.

Park officials believe her death was likely heat related. The high temperature at Phantom Ranch that day was 114 degrees, officials said.

South Kaibab Trail is a popular “switch-back” trail that descends rapidly from 7260 feet at the top of the South Rim to 2480 feet in just over 7 miles and takes hikers to the historic Phantom Ranch lodge located on the canyon floor.

An investigation into the incident was being conducted by the National Park Service in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office, officials said.

On average, about 12 people die at the park every year, park spokeswoman Vanessa Ceja told The Arizona Republic.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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