Death Valley tourist rescued from steep ridge; visit was ‘spiritual’

A woman who left during a one-day van tour of Death Valley National Park and didn’t return was rescued the following day from a steep, loose ridge.

The 31-year-old Canadian was part of a tourist group that traveled from Las Vegas to the iconic park on May 9. The van stopped at Artists Palette and tourists were given 20 minutes to return to the van. The woman never returned.

After an unsuccessful search, the tour guide drove to Furnace Creek to report her missing.

Park rangers searched the area throughout the afternoon and early evening of May 9, then resumed the search the next morning. A park ranger spotted the woman on an unstable ridge north of Artists Palette.

The steep terrain forced officials to call in a California Highway Patrol helicopter to hoist her from the ridge to safety.

Others on the tour told officials that the woman had stated she was going to Death Valley for “spiritual reasons.” The fact she tipped the tour guide at the start of the tour led rangers to believe she had planned to leave the tour before it’s conclusion.

“The woman later told park rangers she had intended to climb up the slope, wander into the desert and not return,” stated the press release from Death Valley. “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.”

Story originally appeared on For The Win