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Woman Seriously Injured In Canyoneering Accident

Zion National Park

National Park News

On November 15th, a 26-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman completed the Jolly Gulch canyoneering route, a seldom visited route on the east side of the park.  The route involves two rappels, one of 160 feet and the other of 100 feet. After completing the rappels, most canyoneers then hike a mile and a half through the canyon to a road. Instead, the pair attempted to free climb up the side of the canyon with the goal of reaching the canyon rim.  The woman fell 60 feet from a small ledge to the ground and suffered shoulder and ankle fractures as well as lacerations to her spleen and liver. The man and woman worked at a local resort and made contact with the resort front desk by family radio. The National Park Service response was delayed due to confusion amongst the resort staff, who initially believed resort employees could resolve the incident without assistance.  When a Kane County deputy arrived on scene, he requested an immediate response from the Zion SAR team due to the patient’s deteriorating condition. Ranger/medics Ryan McDonald-O’Lear and Brandon Torres responded and stabilized the hypotensive patient.  Ranger Therese Picard was the incident operations chief and led the rope raising operation, which was conducted entirely in the dark. Members of the Kane County Search and Rescue Team assisted with the operation and coordinated the medical helicopter evacuation. The woman survived and is currently in stable condition. The man was cited for failing to obtain a required canyoneering wilderness permit.



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