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Park rangers, law enforcement rescue woman from steep ridge in Death Valley

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Park rangers, law enforcement rescue woman from steep ridge

rescue death valley
A NPS park ranger watches as CHP’s helicopter extracts the woman with a hoist. NPS photo

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – Park rangers and law enforcement officers successfully rescued a woman May 10 after she left her tour group and spent a night out on a steep, loose ridge near Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park.

The 31-year-old Canadian woman was part of a day-long van tour from Las Vegas on May 9. The tour stopped at Artists Palette, and the group was given 20 minutes to return to the van.

When the woman did not return to the van, the tour guide searched for her, then drove to Furnace Creek to report her missing.

The woman had tipped her tour guide at the start of the tour, which led rangers to believe she had planned to leave the tour before its conclusion. She had told other people on the tour group that she was coming to Death Valley for “spiritual reasons.”

Park rangers conducted a quick unsuccessful search of the Artists Palette area on the afternoon of May 9.

The search continued the following morning, when a park ranger spotted the woman on a steep, unstable ridge north of Artists Palette. Park rangers were able to communicate with her but could not find a safe route to reach her. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter hoisted the woman from the ridge. Staff from the National Park Service, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, and CHP partnered on the search and rescue mission.

rescue death valley
California Highway Patrol’s H-82 helicopter landing at Artists Palette. NPS photo

The woman later told park rangers she had intended to climb up the slope, wander into the desert and not return. She appeared to be experiencing an emotional crisis.

If you or someone you know is in emotional crisis, dial 988 for free and confidential support from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The toll-free lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone, and all calls are confidential.

Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural resources, cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery, and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet. Learn more at
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