It is an all around tragedy that Ioana Hociota has fallen to her death last month in a hike through the Grand Canyon. The 24-year-old immigrant from Romania, who married her husband Andrew Holycross at the Canyon last June, was attempting to be the youngest person to make an long hike from end to end of the Canyon. Despite years of experience, she made a fatal misstep.
Her friend Matthia Kawski, who was hiking with her at the time, recalls hearing a brief cry:
“It was very short almost like a bird’s and I thought, there are no birds here. Then the blood froze in my veins. It was a second later that I heard a dull thump. I ran back to the saddle calling for her. There was incredible silence.” Ioana had fallen 300 feet to her death.
“It’s been tempting for people to think that a pretty, beautiful young woman of 24 might have been out there, you know, out of her element and out of her head,” said her husband Andrew Holycross, “and she absolutely was not.” He also said that “She accomplished more in 24 years than a lot of people do in a lifetime and she lived fully….This was a woman we all admired a lot, and, I’m so proud to have been her husband.”
Hociota recently graduated in mathematics and biology at Arizona State University, after immigrating from Romania in 2002. She could speak English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. She ran in marathons and loved yoga. A scholarship at Arizona State University has been set up in her name.