A 29-year old woman from Iowa suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while backpacking with family on the Sol Duc River Trail above Deer Lake in Olympic National Park on Monday.


Around 5:00 pm yesterday, Park Rangers were hiking in the area and encountered the group of hikers. The woman had collapsed a half-hour beforehand and regained consciousness. Rangers provided medical aid and she reportedly began to feel better and her condition improved. The plan was to camp overnight at Deer Lake and proceed with a litter carry out to the trailhead in the morning.


At 6:45 pm, the woman suddenly lost consciousness again and went into cardiac arrest. A medevac was requested and due to the terrain, a military helicopter was necessary for a hoist operation. Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) was administered for an hour until a medical professional and emergency medical protocols directed the park rangers to suspend the efforts. The exact cause of death is under investigation.


The Navy helicopter was on scene at 8:30 pm and assisted with the recovery. The decedent was flown to Olympic Medical Center and transferred to Harper-Ridgeview Funeral Chapel. The decedent’s name and hometown are being withheld pending family notifications.


“We offer our most heartfelt condolences to this young woman’s family,” said park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.


Deer Lake is at an elevation of 3,600 feet and located 3.8 miles from the Sol Duc River Trailhead in the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness.