A 54-year-old man who was hiking Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain on Thursday was found dead in a ravine on Friday evening, apparently after falling from a cliff, officials said.

The man, who was visiting from Missouri for his daughter’s soccer tournament in Phoenix, set out to hike the mountain about noon on Thursday, said Capt. Rob McDade of the Phoenix Fire Department.

“It looks like the individual made it to the top of the trail,” McDade said. “He did suffer a great fall of a large distance with a traumatic injury when our rescuers found him.”

McDade said there were no signs of foul play and the man was dead at the scene when rescuers arrived. 

The man had left his hotel at about 10 a.m. Thursday. He later told his wife, who was in Missouri, that he was going hiking, McDade said.

When he didn’t respond to her messages Thursday evening, she became worried, McDade said. Family and friends in town also were unaware of his whereabouts, prompting the man’s wife to call police, McDade said.

Authorities started searching on the north side of the mountain using the man’s last cellphone ping as an anchor point, but “that’s what slowed us down,” McDade said.

“That first 12- to 18-hour window, they just couldn’t get an accurate location,” McDade said.


Being a smart hiker will help you to avoid dangerous situations.

After about 30 hours of searching, “a local media helicopter found what they thought would be consistent with a body, radioed it to me, we radioed to the folks on the ground,” McDade said.

McDade said Camelback Mountain can be a more dangerous hike than many people realize, particularly out-of-town visitors. It is a frequent location for Phoenix Fire Department responses to help hikers who are injured or in distress.

The Echo Canyon Trail saw 154 rescues from 2010 to 2013, more than any other trail in Phoenix, an analysis by The Arizona Republic found.

In 2015, a group of residents urged the city of Phoenix to take more aggressive action in response to frequent Fire Department efforts to help hikers on the trail. Signs at the entrance of Echo Canyon Trail warn that the trail is extremely challenging.

Earlier this year, a man died on Camelback Mountain while hiking with his family. Fire crews rescued four people in one day off the Cholla Trail side of the Mountain in January. Two hikers were rescued in separate calls on the same day last October off Camelback.

In 2015, a 48-year-old woman from England was found dead in a ravine while she was out on a hike with her husband and son.



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