Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon
by Tom Myers and Michael Ghiglieri
This book logs all the mistakes you can make at the Grand Canyon. There's an interview with the authors here. There have been some changes since the first edition. There are more environmental deaths, climbing deaths down in the canyon, and suicides than when the book was written. There are fewer deaths overall and fewer falls from the top of the canyon. Perhaps the park has improved safety and access to cliff tops to cause this change.
Q: What are common risk factors for death at the Canyon?
A: "Men, we have a problem," Ghiglieri said to an audience at NAU's Cline Library this winter, displaying a graphic with a skull and crossbones.
Being male, and young, is a tremendous risk factor, he and Myers found.
Of 55 who have accidentally fallen from the rim of the canyon, 39 were male. Eight of those guys were hopping from one rock to another or posing for pictures, including a 38-year-old father from Texas pretending to fall to scare his daughter, who then really did fall 400 feet to his death.
So is taking unknown shortcuts, which sometimes lead to cliffs.
Going solo is a risk factor in deaths from falls, climbing (anticipated or unplanned) and hiking.
Arrogance, impatience or ignorance also sometimes play a part.