How Not to Die at The Grand Canyon

… people die at the Grand Canyon. Michael Ghiglieri and Thomas Meyers’ book, Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon documents over 683 shocking Grand Canyon deaths. The incredulous part? A second volume adds, well- volume to that list.

From the unprepared to the cocky to the downright oblivious, anybody can spend their last day on earth at the world’s most phenomenal chasmic occurrence. Whether they wanted to or not.

In case you were more in favor of the “or not”, here’s how to avoid the kicking while crossing the Grand Canyon off your bucket list.

Heed the Advice

You spend your entire life looking for divine signs about how to live your life only to ignore the literal ones and end up dead from heat stroke a few feet from a sign warning against the deadly park heat. 

The Grand Canyon is marketed as a scenic tourist attraction and unfortunately, the public sees it that way. It may be bad for business, but the place can be a death trap for visitors who don’t do their research.

Before embarking on a Grand Canyon adventure, read our advice- we’re interested in your well-being.

Pack for Your Adventure

If you’ve ever experienced climbing up one of the trails after a rim-to-rim hike, you’ll notice that the end of your journey is marked by flip-flops and dress shoes. These can be noticed by looking down from the bottle of soda swinging casually by little Suzie (soon to be Jane Doe)’s knee.

If you plan to take a hike, even if it’s only a possibility, pack accordingly. It’s surprising how many people forget the physics of a hill. Then again, the Grand Canyon is like a reverse mountain- you go down first and then climb make the climb. Which also means that by the time you’re tired from hiking down, climbing up seems impossible- and if you’re wearing flip-flops and carrying one (already gone) bottle of liquid, guess who’s chances of dying today just got real high?

The lesson is: If you’re hiking, pack for hiking. If you’re rafting, pack for rafting. If you’re taking a picture with the view, watch your step (we already know you and your phone are inseparable).

Don’t Pose to Death

Millions of people have visited the Grand Canyon and left smiling- some of them went back home and showed their friends and family that one Grand Canyon picture everyone takes. The others left this world because the standard stand-and-smile wouldn’t do the trick.

Look, I make fun of that cliche Grand Canyon pic all the time (did it in that previous paragraph), but sometimes other matters are more important than snapping a good selfie. You know, like- your life.

Don’t “pretend you’re falling”, don’t “lean on a distant cliff”, and for the love of everything sacred, don’t recreate that Lion King scene. Unless you want that Oscar on your tombstone for the dead-on impersonation of Mufasa.

Don’t Do It For the Glory

Athletes a million times fitter than you’ll ever be have died at the Grand Canyon by challenging themselves to impossible feats.

Of course, many of these stories involve an isolated primitive trail, a completion deadline, and underestimating the fatal park heat, but the point is- the Grand Canyon is already challenging and it is not asking you to prove yourself.

No, this is not reverse psychology and we’re not insinuating that you are incapable of accomplishing incredible tasks. And of course we’re aware that So and So ran a rim-to-rim trail, but we’re more impressed they survived.

Visitors of all fitness levels have died at the Grand Canyon which once again proves that we are all made differently and react differently to the fatal park heat.

Bring Your Common Sense

You know that tingly feeling crawling down your spine when you approach the edge of a cliff and look down into the gaping void? That’s right- step away from the ledge, look up, and admire the wholesome view from a safe distance.

Oh, that sign was advising that you carry enough water before venturing further down this trail? Look down, notice your lack of water and hiking boots and get back to that rim before the Darwin Award board starts to promote your rank.

There’s a bunch of information on the web about how to stay safe? Take a few minutes to read it.