‘There Are No Words’ : Texas Hiker, 69, Dies on Grand Canyon Hike with Niece

A man died after he collapsed on a Grand Canyon hiking trail on Saturday, June 29, per a National Park Service (NPS) July 1 statement

Published Time: 03.07.2024 - 04:31:04 Modified Time: 03.07.2024 - 04:31:04

A man died after he collapsed on a Grand Canyon hiking trail on Saturday, June 29, per a National Park Service (NPS) July 1 statement.

Scott Sims, 69, of Austin, Texas, was found semi-conscious while hiking the canyon's River Trail via the South Kaibab Trail en route to his overnight stay at Phantom Ranch.

Around 7 p.m., Sims became unresponsive and bystanders initiated CPR as three NPS paramedics came from Phantom Ranch to assist. However, “all attempts by bystanders and NPS personnel to resuscitate the individual were unsuccessful,” per the NPS statement. 

The NPS announced Sims’ death on Monday, but no cause of death has been declared. The NPS and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are investigating the incident.

Although the NPS did not announce the cause of death, the government agency said in its statement that shaded parts of trails can reach over 120°F (49 °C). It advises hikers not to hike in the inner canyon between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the heat of the day.

Additionally, per the NPS, people should "be aware that efforts to assist hikers may be delayed during the summer months due to limited staff, the number of rescue calls, employee safety requirements, and limited helicopter flying capability during periods of extreme heat or inclement weather."

Sims’ niece, Jessica Ryan, also announced his death on Facebook Monday, sharing that she was with Sims on the hike.

“June 29, 2024, Greg, my uncle and I started a hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon via South Kaibab trail," she wrote alongside a photo of them posing together at a sign for the trail.

Ryan continued, "June 29, 2024 my uncle lost h -

is life on the trail. There are no words for the events that transpired and the emotions we are feeling right now. It’s not only what you see in movies. The most beautiful places are unforgiving. Be prepared. Don’t underestimate nature. Hike smart. RIP Scott Sims 04/18/1955 - 06/29/2024.”

According to Arizona Central, an average of 12 people die each year at Grand Canyon National Park, with a leading cause of death being related to environmental factors — i.e. dehydration and starvation. Airplane and helicopter crashes as well as falling are also common causes of death.

The NPS notes that extreme heat can cause heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can cause a pale face, nausea, vomiting, cool and moist skin, headache and cramps; if not treated, can become heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency that can cause a weak and rapid pulse, high core body temperature, confusion, poor judgment or inability to cope, unconsciousness and seizures. Per the NPS, the Grand Canyon park has two to three cases of heatstroke a year.

To avoid heat-related illnesses, the NPS recommends hikers bring water, food (such as pretzels, crackers, and chips), a first aid kit, a map, a flashlight, spare batteries, a spray bottle, a hat, sunscreen, a whistle and waterproof clothing.

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A representative for Grand Canyon National Park did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for more information on Tuesday.

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