Hiker dies in fall in Death Valley National Park

Hiker dies in fall in Death Valley National Park

Outdoors

Hiker dies in fall in Death Valley National Park

A 57-year-old man hiking alone in Death Valley National Park on a day temperatures hit 115 degrees Fahrenheit died in a fall Monday, the national park announced in a news release Friday afternoon.

The fiancée of Peter Rhoad of Huntington Beach, Calif., reported him missing Monday night when he was overdo to return from his trip to Death Valley. She gave park rangers a list of hikes he was thinking of doing, narrowing the search that began Tuesday morning.

The Inyo Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Coordinator and California Highway Patrol H-82 helicopter began an aerial search and rescue. Late Tuesday afternoon, they spotted Rhoad’s backpack 0.8 miles east of his parked car at the Panamint Dunes trailhead, not west as they would have expected.

Rhoad’s body was found 2,500 feet away from the backpack.

An autopsy by the Inyo County Deputy Coroner determined the cause of death to be a skull fracture caused by a fall and compounded by exposure to the heat.

More from Death Valley National Park:

Mr. Rhoad’s backpack contained a route description to Panamint Butte, a rugged off-trail route involving about 4,000 feet of elevation gain over loose rocks without a trail or designated route…

NPS rangers do not recommend hiking at low elevations in Death Valley National Park during the summer due to excessive heat.

Photo of Panamint Butte courtesy of Death Valley National Park.

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