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.
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