Larapinta Trail hiker dies as temperatures reach 42C

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Larapinta Trail for grey nomads
A 33-year-old man died while walking the Larapinta Trail in searing temperatures. PIC: ABC/Steven Schubert

Grey nomads and others are again being warned about the dangers of walking in extreme heat following the death of an American tourist on the Larapinta Trail, west of Alice Springs.

The 33-year-old died after taking a wrong turn on the iconic walk as temperatures soared to 42C. The man set out to climb Mount Sonder yesterday morning and was found dead about 750 metres from a car park near Redbank Gorge in the late afternoon. .

Police told the ABC that the man and a companion had climbed Mount Sonder, which is the fourth highest peak in the Northern Territory, and were on the descent when they separated.

“It’s about 1,300 metres tall and the actual walk that they undertook was about 16 kilometres there and back — so quite a hike,” said Duty Superintendent, Rob Burgoyne. “They both descended the mountain, unfortunately it appears the deceased took a wrong turn at that stage.”

The dead man’s 40-year-old walking companion raised the alarm when he got back to the Redbank Gorge car park. Just three hours later, the 33 year-old’s body was found about 400 metres down the track where he’d turned the wrong way.

Police said investigations were ongoing but it was not believed there were any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed Alice Springs reached a top of 42 degrees Celsius yesterday, which Duty Superintendent Burgoyne said would have made trekking conditions difficult.

“We do know he had water with him, but he did do a very foolish thing in that he apparently ran away from his companion after the descent,” he told the ABC. “It wouldn’t be a terribly advisable thing to do in 40-degree heat – to actually sprint away.”

The final section of the 223-kilometre Larapinta Trail, which the men were on, is a steep, rocky incline.

Last year, two elderly German tourists were died while walking near Trephina Gorge east of Alice Springs.

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