October 21, 2014
Aly Baltrus, 435-772-0160
Springdale, UT- 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 pair was on an approach pitch in easy 5th class terrain when Spencer 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.