Climber fatality reported in Zion

The main canyon in Zion National Park, taken from the Angels Landing Trail, Oct. 5, 2014 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

SPRINGDALE – A climber was pronounced dead Wednesday after a fall in the Moonlight Buttress area of Zion National Park.

Two other climbers not associated with the victim witnessed the man falling at about 12:30 p.m. and contacted park rangers, according to a statement from the National Park Service.

Moonlight Buttress is a popular 1,200-foot technical route located on the west side of Zion Canyon.

A technical route involves the use of ropes, protection and associated climbing aids, said Zion National Park spokesman David Eaker.

You’re going up a sheer rock face,” Eaker said of the Moonlight Buttress route. “It’s not a hike.”

The fallen climber’s body was located at the base of the route and pronounced dead at the scene by responders, according to the NPS statement.

Zion National Park rangers are working closely with the Washington County Medical Examiner’s office to confirm the individual’s identity and notify the family.

“A very sad situation,” said Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent. “Our condolences go out to the individual’s friends and family.”

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the National Park Service.

The climber’s death is the first reported fatality in Zion National Park for 2016, Eaker said.

Last September seven canyoneers were killed while traversing the Keyhole Canyon area of Zion National Park. The group included individuals from Nevada and California including a Mesquite, Nevada, resident and California sheriff’s deputy.

The September 2015 incident was a part of a larger flash flooding event that claimed over 20 lives including those killed in the Short Creek area and elsewhere on the Arizona Strip.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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  • ScanMeister March 10, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    It is estimated that the human body will reach 99% of terminal
    velocity after falling 1,880 feet (573 meters) which takes anywhere
    from 10-14 seconds. With normal posture and normal atmospheric
    pressure, this is a speed between 117 and 125 miles per hour, or
    approximately 54 meters per second. Another source I found stated
    that a human would have to fall over 400 yards (1,200 feet) prior to
    achieving terminal velocity.

    • RealMcCoy March 11, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      So your’re saying…..bring a mop?

      • .... March 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

        And another brilliant comment from the RealMcStupid ! Better take a nap. you must be exhausted after having an actual thought

        • RealMcCoy March 14, 2016 at 11:18 am

          I like that I have a shadow like you. I make it a point to comment on older stories to see if you’ll find them and comment back.
          You always do!
          Hahaha- thanks for the lulz.

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