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Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,279 ratings  ·  386 reviews
Gripping accounts of all known fatal mishaps in the most famous of the World's Seven Natural Wonders.

Two veterans of decades of adventuring in Grand Canyon chronicle the first complete and comprehensive history of Canyon misadventures. These episodes span the entire era of visitation from the time of the first river exploration by John Wesley Powell and his crew of 1869 t

Paperback, 408 pages
Published May 25th 2001 by Puma Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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Lisa Cavin 564 of actual content; 591 including the index

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  2,279 ratings  ·  386 reviews

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Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-adventure
This is one of those books you see in the gift shop at Grand Canyon NP, and you think "yeah, that might be interesting." It is absolutely riveting. Basically, it is a chronicle of every known fatality that has happened in the park. While that sounds kind of morbid, due the authors in depth research and great story telling ability, each incident takes on a life of it's own. It is a must read for anyone who would venture below the rim on foot or in a boat down the Colorado. The lessons learned her ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
this made me want to visit the grand canyon... very, VERY carefully.
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This can kind of be viewed as a companion volume to Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, despite being by different authors. They're both the same basic concept: this is how everybody who died in the national park died. Which is ever bit as morbidly fascinating as you might imagine. What struck me in relationship to the Yellowstone book is that, although the causes of death are quite different, the thought processes that lead to them are remarkably simila ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
I borrowed this book from the library prior to a trip to the Grand Canyon a few years ago- I found it interesting and a good warning to be careful when I was there (and was preaching to my husband and my children the whole time.) Crazily enough, we ended up witnessing a man falling to his death that same trip (N. Rim- Bright Angel Point), and the warnings of the book were really driven home. They were selling it at the gift shop when we were comfort shopping after the incident (shock does weird ...more
Aug 29, 2009 rated it liked it
As an outdoor adventure enthusiast, I thought it might behoove me to read this book. The take-away lesson is that the overwhelming preponderance of deaths and other mishaps are the result of poor judgement or a lack of knowledge. Some of these matters are no brainers, such as guard rails with warning signs. Others are easily learned, such as the amount of water you need to hike when the temperature is over 100 degrees, or the fact that hiking back out of the canyon at the end of the trip is much ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not sure why I didn't review this before. I read it years ago. The story I remember the most is the idiot that was a practical joker who "pretended" to fall off of the wall of the rim as his daughter was walking by. She thought he was joking, and he was, but he didn't understand physics and terminal velocity. This will have to be a re-read sometime in the future. It was a good one.
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I picked this book up in the gift shop at the Grand Canyon, and call me morbid, but I really enjoyed it. I'm just glad I read it AFTER I had left! Divided into sections on how people have ultimately met their demise at the Grand Canyon, this book is packed with interesting, historical and often grisly stories. The section on people accidentally falling over the edge was probably the worst for me, as often times their family members were standing right there. (I also have a slight fear of heights ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
After reading this, it appears to be safer not visiting the Grand Canyon. Between falls, floods, the river, etc. , it's seems looking at a picture is the way to go. Seriously, the book is about the many ways people have died while exploring or visiting the beautiful Grand Canyon back to the 1800's. It was an interesting book.
Book Concierge
The subtitle is all the summary anyone needs: Gripping accounts of all known fatal mishaps in the most famous of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. And the cover adds to this by showing skeletal remains and a mid-air collision. The authors recount all the fatalities occurring in the canyon area, from falls off the rim, to flash floods, to drownings, to murders, and yes aircraft mishaps.

In the interest of full disclosure … a couple of years before we met, my husband went on a Colorado Rive
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Being a somewhat paranoid person when it comes to edges and my children, I am glad I read this book AFTER our vacation to the Grand Canyon. Which I just have to say was amazing - it is one of the most beautiful places on earth! Just stay on the trail and watch your step and drink lots of water! This book is completely fascinating and full of crazy, sad, shocking, scary, and amazing stories about death in the Grand Canyon. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction! I learned so much, for example, ...more
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent read, if not a little morbid. Definitely recommended before and during a trip to the Grand Canyon as it gives a good insight into how tourists foolishly take for granted that nature can kill you. Plenty of stories and statistics that help you plan your journey better, especially in regards to the amount of water you need to take should you decide to do any hiking below the rim. Further, it demonstrates how easily one's common sense can disappear when facing one of the wonde ...more
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
I bought this in the gift shop at the Grand Canyon. I found it such a great book. The stories were very riveting and some of them quite sad. Perhaps the saddest ones were the deaths that could have easily been avoided. I think the huge tourist presence at the Grand Canyon gives people a sense of security that can give them false confidence and make them disregard the real dangers of traveling and hiking in and around the area. The book gave me a new respect for nature and reminded me that there' ...more
Ted Haussman
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it

Well-written and researched and for some who fell in love with the Canyon and its grandeur at first sight, it was a great read. It is not great because of the gory details -- and there are plenty -- because of what it teaches you about survival generally and in the Canyon. Plus, the final chapter is a captivating one discussing the various murder mysteries that have bloomed from the Canyon and which may never been definitely settled.

I learned much from my solo, overnight hike into Grand Canyon t
Melinda Brasher
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Don't be fooled by the unprofessional cover. This book is good stuff.

Morbidly fascinating. Certain chapters just kept me reading and reading, glued to the page long after I needed to go to bed. Others I found rather dry (like, ironically, the drowning chapters). Some did get a bit repetitive, but with the exception of the aforementioned river chapter, I think the repetition was handled fairly well, showing different details with each case. Overall the book was intensely interesting, disturbing,
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it

[P]osing for or taking photographs account for 6 and 4 victims (20 percent) of the 50 total victims of accidental lethal falls from the rim.

Another fatal factor is nightfall. Six other victims – five of them males – fell at night while camping or walking alone. A possible culprit in many of these fatalities may be the male urge to urinate off high places combined with dizziness (and possibly alcohol consumption). Other male victims likely have fallen to their deaths from heights within
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
If this book had been half the length that it actually is, I might have given it higher marks, but it is not only an exhaustive review of death in the Grand Canyon, it is an exhausting review. There are only so many ways that one can describe falling over the edge, slipping over the edge, getting caught in rapids, etc, before it becomes a mind-numbing rather than a thrilling read. Better editing was needed here. That said, the writing is good, and the first few pages of each chapter are highly r ...more
I'd already read Death In Yellowstone and had downloaded the Kindle preview for this book. I took a look it one afternoon and quickly purchased the entire book so I could finish it off. I've now managed to find a copy of the third book in this trilogy - Death In Yosemite - that will ship to Australia for a reasonable price, so I'm looking forward to reading that one too.

Books like this appeal to my interest in the morbid, and also in the assurance that mother nature is indifferent to us. If we a
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot from this book that could come in handy in a survival situation. What I di learn is that many of the deaths that happened at the Grand Canyon could have been totally avoided if people were not acting recklessly. So the most important thing for survival is to not do stupid things.

Being in the outdoors is an uncontrolled environment. The weather can change in an instant, the surroundings can change, and there are no guarantees that you won't get caught up in it.

But as a general r
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every known fatality in the Grand Canyon, up until 2017. Having just visited both the north and south rims, I expect there will be an updated edition in a few years. The stupidity I witnessed is astounding! As the authors state at the end of each chapter, the great majority of deaths are due to human recklessness and stupidity, and usually happen to men. After reading every single chapter of this book (except for the one on plane crashes), I have a great respect for the bravery and skill of the ...more
Laura Ruetz
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating read. It never delved into becoming morbid or graphic. The book is an accounting of how deadly the Grand Canyon has been over the years. Each death reads like an historical account, and goes into the reasons of the tragedy.

Anybody who has seen the Grand Canyon knows the awestruck viewpoint of looking out across the rim. This is a fascinating look at the Canyon itself and what makes it so deadly. The facts of the incidents are clearly stated as well as what factors played
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm strangely attracted to reading books about deaths in national parks. This is my second, and I have a whole list of others I want to read. It's also strange that these books entice me to want to visit national parks I hadn't considered traveling to previously. It's mostly a warning about respecting the wilderness and using common sense. This particular book was well written and enhanced by the two author's experience in the Grand Canyon
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. I first saw this book in the Grand Canyon Visitor center last fall. One of my goals is to hike Bright Angel Trail. I'm also notorious for setting off on long hikes completely ill-prepared and with no real idea of how long, or how hard, or what hazards I may encounter. After reading this, I'll definitely do a great deal of research and prep before tackling that hike. :)
Oct 24, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Saw in the bookstore at the Grand Canyon and wanted to skim.
This book was very interesting but very long. Lots of extra information that was not needed.
"Forewarned, it is then up to the personal responsibility of each of us to avoid killing ourselves--and thereby also avoid tacitly accusing the wilderness of being our murderer... Forewarned enough, perhaps we and our vanishing wilderness will both survive."

Five stars? Yes. Full disclosure: I'm a member of my local search & rescue organization. This may have influenced my rating just a tad. Uniformed people in the desert/mountains make up the majority of our calls, and I wish we could make them
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
I would never have read this book had I not recently visited the Grand Canyon. Everyone knows the appearance of the Grand Canyon from photographs but to actually see it in person is an extraordinary experience. I wandered along the south rim for several days gazing into its depths at the incredible rock formations, and feeling my duration on earth insignificant in the scale of the many millions of yeas that the Canyon took to form.

With such thoughts in mind when I came across this book, I was u

I'm always looking for books when we travel, picking up local histories and maps and such. This turned out to be one of the best travel books we've ever gotten. Grim, yes, but amazing nonetheless.

After witnessing some incredibly stupid behavior while we were in Grand Canyon, behavior that thankfully did NOT result in a fatal fall, it was sobering to read about those who did fall and die. (or drown and die, or hike and die, or crash and die) There aren't alot of funny stories in this b
Cheryl Jensen
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
The authors conscientiously fulfill the claim of the title in documenting every known death in the Grand Canyon, a natural curiosity when one visits this dizzying abyss. The text is moderately well written, although I found I needed to reread some descriptions of circumstances for clarity, and needed more editing for several typos, and use of the word "Eskimo." (cringe) I enjoyed the descriptions and explanations, as well as the discovery the majority of demises could be attributed to stupidity ...more
Kate Vale
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The researcher in me required that I purchase this huge tome in the midst of my recent exploration of the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon. If you think the canyon is just a big hole in the ground visible from space, think again. It draws all manner of people--the stupid, who fall into space while peeing, joking around, running when they should be walking, and the like; the demented (see the section on murders and suicides); the swimmers who couldn't or underestimated the river's power ( ...more
Tracy St Claire
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is more interesting than it sounds. It lives up to its promise of detailing the details of every known death in the Grand Canyon since we have been keeping records, and relating when the parks department thought those records were not relevant and either did not collect them or threw them away.

The strange thing about this book is the way the author(s) tried all through the book to draw statistical conclusions when the sample size was, even as a reader I could see, way to small to suppo
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Play Book Tag: Over the Edge / Michael Ghiglieri & Thomas Myers - 2.5** 5 14 Oct 10, 2018 11:43AM  

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Michael P. Ghiglieri grew up at Lake Tahoe, Nevada as the great grandson of a Forty-niner, served as a US Army platoon sergeant during the Viet Nam era, then earned his Ph.D. in Ecology in 1979 from the University of California at Davis for his pioneering research on wild chimpanzees in Kiable Forest, Uganda. In addition to teaching university courses in primate behavior and ecology and in human e ...more

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