Canyoneer Fatality in Heaps Canyon

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Date: July 12, 2015
Contact: Aly Baltrus, 435-772-0160

Springdale, Utah: On Saturday, July 12, at approximately 11:30 p.m., Zion National Park was alerted to an injured canyoneer in Heaps Canyon. The 24-year-old Las Vegas man had apparently taken a 100 foot un-roped fall into a side canyon at approximately 7:00 p.m. The victim’s three companions descended to him. One stayed with him, while the other two members of the party continued on through the rest of Heaps Canyon to get help.


Heaps Canyon is a strenuous, challenging technical canyon with an approximate 3000 foot descent. It usually takes 12 to 20 hours to complete, consists of a number of rappels into cold water, and ends with a final 280 foot rappel to the Upper Emerald Pool area.


Rescue efforts started early Sunday. A helicopter from Grand Canyon National Park was sent up to Zion to assist. Two Zion Search and Rescue (SAR) team members were short-hauled into the canyon above the victim. They rappelled down and found the man deceased. His name is being withheld pending family notification.


As of July 6, 2015, Zion had 175 EMS calls, a 34% increase over last year. There have been 57 SAR calls in 2015 versus 32 for the same time frame last year, a 78% increase. Over the past week, the park has responded to at least 16 EMS calls, including 3 carry-outs from the Narrows on Wednesday.


Last updated: July 13, 2015

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