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 in an area apparently fell backward tumbling approximately 80 feet down the steep slope 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 1100 hours and ParkMedics reached Spencer by 1200. ParkMedics and a requested 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.

climbing , Fatality, Fall

11 Comments Comments icon

  1. October 24, 2014 at 03:40

    Never climb without taking precautions. Pity to die that way. Never be too sure of yourself and never underestimate Nature.

  2. October 24, 2014 at 01:19

    I just uploaded footage of this "approach" which I absolutely wouldn't climb without a rope. My partner did, but that was his choice.

  3. Liz
    October 23, 2014 at 09:11

    So very sad to hear. Like Adam said, there are lots of 4th and 5th class approaches in Zion that are very hard or impossible to protect (i.e. use ropes and gear).

  4. October 22, 2014 at 12:41

    I wouldn't call not using ropes there stupid. The 5th class scramble approach is at least 95% of the time climbed unroped. It's just one of those places where you must not fall. It's like riding your bike, don't steer on the bus lane during rush hour or you'll get hit. After something like this happens it's really easy to say what you should have done. I agree on the helmet part though… Be careful out there!

  5. October 22, 2014 at 08:04

    very sad.

  6. October 21, 2014 at 07:26

    Ouch.. As a fellow climber, i feel bad for him, and i also urge you all to see the stupidity of not utilizing the necessary gear while climbing. Its just sad..

  7. October 21, 2014 at 05:03

    ilike hiking can't imagine being up there without saftie gear

  8. Pat
    October 21, 2014 at 03:35

    What a horrible accident! Safety comes first in exploring this beautiful park. Condolences for the family of this latest victim.

  9. October 21, 2014 at 03:16

    You mean climbers who take risk their lives are exciting to watch? I don't think so. No ropes or helmets? Not good.

  10. October 21, 2014 at 02:54

    I am so sorry for his family. We watched some climbers, and they are risky and exciting.

  11. October 21, 2014 at 02:36

    sorry to read anout this as i am planning to visit and hike the trails and canyons in the park for a fw days.he was from my home town.

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Last updated: October 21, 2014

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