Climber Dies After Fall at Zion National Park

October 19, 2014 Posted by: Zion National Park
Christopher H. Spencer, age 47 and a resident of San Jose, CA, died Sunday afternoon, October 19, 2014, after taking a fall in Zion National Park. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff's Office in cooperation with the National Park Service.

Spencer and a fellow climber were starting the climb of "Iron Messiah," a technical 5.10 climb in Zion Canyon. The two were on an approach pitch when he apparently fell backward, tumbling approximately 80 feet down the steep slope and striking a series of ledges. Spencer was not roped in and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. 

Rangers were notified of the accident at approximately 11am and Park Medics reached Spencer by noon. Park Medics and a Lifeflight medical crew stabilized Spencer during the almost three hour technical evacuation. Spencer was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries. 

This is the fourth fatal accident in the park for 2014 and the eighth climbing fatality since 1983.

Last updated: October 31, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767


Recorded park information available 24 hours a day. Phones are answered 9 am to 4 pm Mountain Daylight Time. You can also send your questions to us at

Contact Us