California hiker dies in Death Valley suspected of heatstroke



On this Wednesday, August 18, 2021, photo provided by the National Park Service, an interagency search and rescue team walks past a sign that read “” Stop, Extreme Heat Danger “, with park rangers responding on foot near the Red Cathedral along the Golden Canyon Trail in Death Valley National Park, Calif. Authorities say 60-year-old Lawrence Stanback died Wednesday, August 18, 2021, while hiking near the Red Cathedral along the Golden Canyon Trail. Temperatures that day reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit. (National Park Service via AP)


A San Francisco man has died while hiking in Death Valley National Park, where temperatures can be some of the hottest on the planet, authorities said on Saturday.

Lawrence Stanback, 60, died Wednesday while hiking near the Red Cathedral along the Golden Canyon Trail, according to a joint statement from the park and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office. On that day, temperatures reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius).

Park rangers received a report of suspected heatstroke on Wednesday afternoon and set off on foot in search of Stanback. He was already dead when rangers found him, officials said.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter attempted to fly to retrieve the body, but high winds prevented it from landing. Park rangers recovered Stanback’s body during the cooler hours of the evening, they said.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and Inyo County Coroner are investigating the cause of death.

Last month, the National Weather Service said Death Valley recorded a high temperature of 130 F (55 C). Death Valley holds the record for the highest temperature on Earth at 134 F (57 C), set in 1913, although some dispute its accuracy.

Park rangers urged visitors to only hike before 10 a.m. or at high elevations. They also said hikers should stay safe by drinking plenty of water, eating snacks and staying near an air-conditioned building or vehicle to cool off if needed.

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