Bright Angel Trail death: 65-year-old Arizona man dies while attempting 18-mile round trip to Grand Canyon

GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA: In a heartbreaking turn of events, the serene expanse of Grand Canyon National Park has suffered a new victim, marking the tenth death this year.

The victim, James Handschy, 65, an Arizona resident originally from Oracle, met his untimely demise while embarking on a daring hike along the famous Bright Angel Trail.

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Who was James Handschy?

James Handschy, a resident of Oracle, Arizona, was an adventurous soul drawn to the natural appeal of the Grand Canyon, according to the New York Post.

An avid outdoorsman, he took on the challenge of navigating the rigorous terrain of the Bright Angel Trail by attempting to hike from the South Rim to the river and back.

Unfortunately, his quest ended in tragedy, becoming one of many lives lost on the canyon’s treacherous trails.

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Where is the Bright Angel Trail?

The Bright Angel Trail, a renowned Arizona trail in Grand Canyon National Park, is approximately 18 miles round trip.

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Starting from the South Rim, it presents itself as a popular choice among hikers due to its picturesque views and rugged landscapes.

However, the trail’s deceptive descent into the canyon provides a grueling challenge for those attempting the uphill return journey.

Why is Grand Canyon National Park the deadliest in the United States?

The allure of the Grand Canyon’s majestic beauty often overshadows its perilous nature. Its unforgiving terrain, characterized by steep drops, extreme temperatures, and challenging trails like the Bright Angel Trail, contributes to its status as the deadliest national park in the United States.

Steep descents and demanding climbs put even experienced hikers to the test, making the return journey particularly grueling and dangerous.

How many people died in Grand Canyon National Park in 2023?

An investigation into this event is ongoing by the NPS and the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

Reports indicate that the Grand Canyon, known as the deadliest national park in the United States, averages 10 to 20 deaths per year.

Of the ten deaths recorded this year, four were associated with hiking, including three incidents on the Bright Angel Trail.

Earlier this year, a 57-year-old woman lost her life while attempting an eight-mile hike in triple-digit temperatures in the park’s difficult terrain.

Following this tragedy, an investigation by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner aims to shed light on the circumstances of Handschy’s disappearance.

These incidents are a reminder of the unpredictable and perilous nature of the Grand Canyon trails, demonstrating that visitors need to exercise greater caution and respect the formidable challenges posed by this natural wonder.

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