Wife, 31, freezes to death while hiking in Zion National Park

Wife, 31, freezes to death while hiking in Zion National Park: Desperate husband ran for help only to return to find she had succumbed to the cold weather

  • Wife, 31, and husband, 33, began their trip to Zion National Park on Tuesday night when they stayed overnight 
  • The temperatures plunged and the woman was showing signs of hypothermia while the man was injured
  • They were walking a 16-mile route through the Narrows when they decided to stop and split off so husband could get help for them both
  • Wife stayed behind at their stop point while the husband continued journey and eventually found park rangers
  • He was taken to a medical center and returned to the area with rescuers after visitors tried to give his wife CPR 
  • Unfortunately it was too late and she had succumbed to the cold weather when they came back 

A woman who was on a hiking trip with her husband tragically froze to death after he ran for help only to return and discover she had succumbed to the cold weather.

The husband, 33, and wife, 31, had begun their trip on Tuesday, camping overnight at Zion National Park. 

Overnight, temperatures plunged and the woman was showing signs of hypothermia while the man was injured. 

They were walking a 16-mile route through the Narrows on Wednesday morning when they decided to stop and split off so the husband could get help for them both. 

The wife stayed behind at their stop point, about a mile-and-a-half from the north end of Riverside Walk- a paved trail that leads from the Temple of Sinawava to the Narrows. 

Eventually, the husband found park rangers on the path and alerted them to the situation- they took him to a medical center. 

Before Zion’s rescue teams arrived, other visitors gave the woman CPR. But it was too late and by the time the husband and rescuers came back, she had passed away. 

The husband and wife had begun their trip on Tuesday, camping overnight at the park in Utah. Overnight, the temperatures plunged and the woman was showing signs of hypothermia while the man was injured. Pictured: Zion National Park

The husband and wife had begun their trip on Tuesday, camping overnight at the park in Utah. Overnight, the temperatures plunged and the woman was showing signs of hypothermia while the man was injured. Pictured: Zion National Park 

Authorities have not released the identities of the couple. 

The 33-year-old passed away on the same day that rescuers found the body of a teenage girl who froze to death after missing a turn on her descent and getting lost on a hike. 

Emily Sotelo, 19, died in Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire. Her body was found on Wednesday after a grueling four day search. 

She had been completing her goal of climbing all of the state’s 48 peaks.  

Emily had gone hiking alone on Sunday morning and was dropped off at the trail by her mother. While a cause of death has not yet been confirmed by an autopsy, police believe she died from exposure. 

Friends have paid tribute to the 19-year-old, who was due to turn 20 this week. Her goal was to hike all of New Hampshire’s 48 peaks before her 20th birthday. 

‘She made all three peaks she wanted to and unfortunately on the descend she missed the turn which is hard to find on a windy day or just in general. 

‘This has happened before at the same exact area she got off trail was back in 2021. Luckily those guys made it out by thawing out their cell phone under their armpit and SAR found them before they froze,’ her friend and fellow hiker Brian Garvey said. 

Emily Sotelo, who was originally from Massachusetts, made it to her planned destination , but at some point succumbed to subzero temperatures that dropped as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Her body was found Wednesday, on what would have been her 20th birthday

Emily Sotelo, who was originally from Massachusetts, made it to her planned destination , but at some point succumbed to subzero temperatures that dropped as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Her body was found Wednesday, on what would have been her 20th birthday

Her body, officials said, was found on the northwest face of Mount Lafayette within the confines of Franconia Notch State Park, where she had set out on a hike four days prior. It is not yet known when or how she died, but officials said Wednesday it was likely due to exposure

Her body, officials said, was found on the northwest face of Mount Lafayette within the confines of Franconia Notch State Park, where she had set out on a hike four days prior. It is not yet known when or how she died, but officials said Wednesday it was likely due to exposure

‘She was sweet and so happy to be out in the woods. She was young and ready to take on anything,’ Jessie Callaghan, who met her on a previous hike, said on Facebook.

The sprawling four-day search effort, they added, was ‘hampered by high winds, cold temperatures and blowing snow’ – and ultimately proved suspicions that Sotelo could not have survived those conditions on her own.

Upon making the grim discovery, officials called in a national guard helicopter to retrieve Sotelo’s body from the mountain face. 

Fish and Game officer David Walsh warned hikers of the dangers of hiking while underdressed in the state’s infamous White Mountains, a range commonly perceived as treacherous during winter. 

‘The biggest lessons learned in a tragedy like this is when you’re hiking in New Hampshire, especially in the White Mountains, be prepared for the unexpected,’ he told WMUR-TV. 

During their search, officials said, temperatures had dropped to ‘about zero’, with windspeeds making the chill factor -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Walsh warned others with plans to hike the dangerous mountain range to take the necessary precautions and take the dangers that come with the winter season seriously.

Officials sprawling four-day search effort, they added, was 'hampered by high winds, cold temperatures and blowing snow' - and ultimately proved their suspicions that Sotelo could not have survived those conditions on her own

Officials sprawling four-day search effort, they added, was ‘hampered by high winds, cold temperatures and blowing snow’ – and ultimately proved their suspicions that Sotelo could not have survived those conditions on her own

‘Be prepared with knowledge,’ the official said. ‘Know the weather conditions. Dress for the weather conditions. Have extra clothes. Have extra food, water. Have a headlamp map, a compass.’ 

New Hampshire conservation officials said that search parties found the body of Sotelo, a 5'3" sophomore at Vanderbilt University, at 11:15am. She was an avid hiker and had been close to her goal of conquering New Hampshire's 48 peaks above 4,000 feet before turning 20

New Hampshire conservation officials said that search parties found the body of Sotelo, a 5’3′ sophomore at Vanderbilt University, at 11:15am. She was an avid hiker and had been close to her goal of conquering New Hampshire’s 48 peaks above 4,000 feet before turning 20

Sotelo, her parents said, had planned to hike various trails in the area but was not dressed for the frigid cold weather that quickly followed her departure.

Temperatures dropped to ‘about zero’, with windspeeds making the chill factor -30 degrees Fahrenheit, officials with the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team said Sunday during the outset of their search.

Fish and Game officers and volunteers from more than a dozen search and rescue teams would then spend the next several days combing the area, using aircraft and scent dogs, eventually finding a trail and items left by Sotelo at the headwaters of Lafayette Brook on Tuesday afternoon.

However, by nightfall, officials reclassified their efforts from a rescue mission to one relating to just recovery.

‘Pemi has three teams out tonight looking for this missing hiker’ the search team said in a post on Facebook at the time.

Officials Wednesday said that Sotelo, an avid hiker, had been close to reaching her goal of conquering New Hampshire’s 48 peaks above 4,000 feet before turning 20.

‘Weather conditions by Sunday evening were single digit temperatures, 40 to 60 mile per hour winds, blowing snow, and she was not dressed accordingly for those temperatures,’ Walsh told WMUR-TV Wednesday. 

‘Those are extreme conditions and then she ended up off trail.’

Sotelo was a sophomore majoring in biochemistry and chemical biology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. 

In a letter to students Wednesday, Vice Provost G.L. Black mourned Sotelo, noting how she had become an active member of the community since transferring from the College of William & Mary this year.

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