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Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon Paperback – May 25, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 248 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Flagstaff, AZ-based authors Ghiglieri, a biologist who leads river trips in the Grand Canyon and abroad, and Myers (Fateful Journey: Injury and Death on Colorado River Trips in Grand Canyon), a medical doctor who has treated hundreds of Canyon injuries, have compiled a fascinating chronicle of deaths and dangers in Grand Canyon National Park. The book is arranged by category falls, dehydration, floods, the Colorado River, air crashes, freak accidents, suicides, and murder and at the end of each chapter is a chronological list with names, descriptions, and causes of the accidents. The authors show that most of the deaths, whether of tourists, prospectors, or experienced adventurers, occurred when people failed to pay attention to warning signs or did not use common sense; others are attributed to high testosterone levels. The episodes are engrossing, but one becomes sated with the details after a while. For public and large academic libraries. George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Man Meets Grand Canyon-and Underestimates It" expose a death toll that leaves Mount Everest’s appalling record in the dust -- Prescott Daily Courier

A must-read for anyone planning on going into the Grand Canyon. whether you are hiking, river running or just visiting. -- Flagstaff Live!

Backpackers will find these tales riveting and the lessons applicable to all rugged hiking. -- Backpacker magazine

It's packed full of information that both men hope will teach readers valuable lessons about safety in Grand Canyon. -- Arizona Daily Sun

Perhaps the park should allow the book to be sold on the Rim Trail. -- Williams-Grand Canyon News --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Puma Press; 1st edition (May 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097009731X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970097316
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on November 25, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very well researched book that lists all of the people who have perished in the Grand Canyon.
The book is morbidly fascinating. It starts with tumbles from the top (what many visitors want to know about) and death on the trails. The book also covers air crashes into the canyon, drive-offs (think Thelma & Louise), river drowning, suicides, murder and a few other odd ways people have perished in the natural attraction Teddy Roosevelt said was the one site every American should visit in their lifetime. There are even one or two snakebite victims and two or so people who made tea from a deadly canyon flower with enough toxicity to kill a mule. Speaking of mules, the mule rides down the canyon trails are very safe when compared to other modes of enjoying the canyon. If you don't go in winter (when snow can bury the trail), I believe the record will show that mules never go over the edge.
The book is most interesting in the beginning. The topic of death and tragedy are new, and the deaths are the most shocking (including people who backed up right over the edge posing for pictures and men who went over trying to create their own waterfalls when nature called). One does get used to the constant morbidity and toward the end the air crash vignettes, suicides and murders lack the grip of the earlier free-fall victims. The authors also sometimes throw in annoying "got-cha" lines that seem out of place (but not too often to ruin the book).
Where this book is instructive is in its analysis of death in the canyon. Stupid behavior, ignoring warnings, not taking enough water on canyon hikes and swimming in the off-limits Colorado River account for about 90% of the deaths recorded.
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Format: Paperback
When I visited the Grand Canyon in 2001 I picked up a copy of this book - Over the Edge. It languished on my to read list until now. Overall it's a fascinating book, if a bit tedious at times. I suspect someone who has never been to the Grand Canyon will not appreciate the grandeur and dangers the book describes as much as this reader. Having been there myself and being at least a little familiar with it made the book come to life that much more.
This book details the actual events around numerous deaths in the Grand Canyon, and offers detailed summary tables. Whether it's falling off the edge, crashing in a plane or helicopter, getting lost and dying of dehydration, drowning in the Colorado River, getting caught in a flash flood, getting smushed by big rock falling in the canyon, being struck by lightning, getting murdered, or deciding you're life is not worth living and taking a plunge over the edge to end it all - this book covers it all.
The key theme of the book is that most deaths in the Grand Canyon can be avoided if you use common sense and don't take unnecessary risks. Most of the deaths detailed in the book are a direct result of people doing stupid things, liking jumping around or goofing off on the edge of the canyon, hiking very difficult trails (or areas with no well maintained trails) without the experience required and without enough water and food, or trying to run rapids that are too dangerous without life jackets or other safety precautions. There are other numerous examples of unnecessary deaths as a result of carelessness or bad decisions. Most of the deaths in the book could have been prevented by just plain ol' common sense. Not surprisingly, most of these types of death are disproportionately young males who are over confident in their abilities.
I would highly recommend this book to those who have visited or plan to visit the Grand Canyon. Its lessons may save you from going over the edge.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone planning to venture into the Grand Canyon. It chronicles every known death in the canyon and on its rims. Morbid? Perhaps, but the book's real aim is to keep you the reader from making the sorts of decisions that have led to hundreds of people's deaths.
The fatal incidents are grouped into categories: falls from the rim, falls within the canyon, heat/dehydration, drowning, etc. Some cases are covered in just a sentence or two; others are described in riveting detail. It's a hard book to put down.
Having made 15 backpacking trips into the canyon, most of them a week long, I figured I knew everything there was to know about safe and sensible behavior in the canyon. But even for me this book was a real eye-opener. For someone going to the canyon for the first time or the hundredth time, "Over the Edge" just might be a life-saver.
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Format: Paperback
I was at the Grand Canyon North Rim a few weeks ago. Looking for information at the visitor's office, I was cautioned that a hike into the canyon is extremely dangerous and difficult. This was made clear both in the literature and by the person behind the desk. I was skeptical - I mean how tough can hiking be - and wondered if these cautions were dramatic. The night before I was to hike down, I wandered into the gift shop and flipped through this book. Before I could say "help!" I was laying down bucks to take it back to my cabin for a nightly reading experience which ran from incredulity to horror to fear for my own safety. Because of this book, I cautioned my hiking buddy not to wander off the trail, not to pretend to be falling and to avoid the temptation to urinate over the edge of a cliff (sorry ladies, it's a guy thing, and it's gotten a number of us killed). He later admitted that he was, in fact, tempted to do all these things which proves how naturally we invite accidents. Needlesstosay, after hearing about the intense heat and cases of dehydration we packed lots more water. Despite the heat headaches and blisters at the end of the day, it was a fantastic hike that ended with an awesome respect for nature.
This book breaks through the assumption that a national park can be visited with the same indifference to safety as an amusement or theme park. It is written in a surprising straight-forward manner with direct comments on safety. There are discussions about how some deaths could have been avoided, as well as intelligent and professional assessments regarding events surrounding obscure or unwitnessed accidents. Accidents of all manner are organized and discussed: on the rim of the Grand Canyon (picture-taking on the rim can become a nearly fatal activity!
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