Friday, June 14, 2013

Arizona: Spaniard, 50, Dies from Heat Exhaustion While Hiking Table Top Mountain

According to, a Spaniard, 50, visiting Arizona for a conference died of heat exhaustion on Wednesday afternoon (June 12) while hiking Table Top Mountain.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call at approximately 1600 hours about a man who passed out while hiking.

The three men started the 3.5-mile hike up the trail Wednesday morning. Once they reached the top, they stopped for lunch. On the way back down, the 50-year-old collapsed. He was unable to walk and was disoriented.

His friends attempted to carry the man down the remainder of the trail, but he lost consciousness. One of the men ran to get help, while the other administered CPR.

Although first responders arrived promptly, the Spaniard had already died.

COMMENT: Deputies reported that the trio did have water, yet it was insufficient for the extreme Arizona temperature which approached 119 degrees Fahrenheit or 43 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. Tragically, the victim eventually stopped breathing.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of heat exhaustion can include any combination of the following:

-- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
-- Heavy sweating
-- Faintness
-- Dizziness
-- Fatigue
-- Weak, rapid pulse
-- Low blood pressure upon standing
-- Muscle cramps
-- Nausea
-- Headache

Foreign travelers to various parts of the world, particularly those that have extreme temperatures, should always contact local fire or police departments to determine how much water they should carry on an outing, particularly when they are not used to such intense temperatures.

The fact that none of the hikers was carrying a mobile phone underlines the importance for all travelers to ensure they can communicate immediately in any emergency, particularly when life or death is at risk.  

The 34,400-acre Table Top Wilderness lies in western Pinal County. Easily recognized from Phoenix, 45 miles north and Casa Grande, 20 miles east, Table Top Mountain, at 4,373 feet, is the highest peak in the area and its flat-topped summit is a familiar landmark. Steeply rising flat-top mesas, ridges, lava flows, wide canyons and mesquite-and ironwood-lined washes surround Table Top Peak.

Hikers, backpackers, horseback riders and others venturing into the wilderness are rewarded with solitude. The view from atop the peak is a panorama of mountains ranges and desert plains. 

The abundant desert vegetation includes an unusual 40-acre island of desert grassland on the summit of Table Top and dense saguaro forests on the southwest side. Desert bighorn sheep, coyote, quail, javelina, giant spotted whip-tail lizard (3.5-5.5 inches) and the Ajo Mountain whip-snake (not dangerous to humans), and numerous birds, reptiles and raptors abound.