Zion National Park Solo Climber Rescued After Being Injured in Fall, Stranded on Cliff Face

by TK Sanders

Zion National Park authorities rescued an injured climber stranded on a steep cliffside over the weekend. Authorities said the climber suffered serious injuries after falling in Kolob Canyon, a dangerous and remote area of the Utah national park.

“We fly everyday, but today took us to Zion and Kolob canyon,” the Utah Department of Public Safety said.

Photos released on the agency’s social media show the man clinging to the vertical rock face, unable to move in any direction. To help him, DPS had to bring in a helicopter and lower a rescue official down to assist the stranded climber. The agency also released a video of the rescue footage, Fox News reported.

“He spent the night there cold, injured, unprepared. Please plan ahead before you go out,” DPS said.

The authorities did not release the man’s identity nor any further updates on the severity of his injuries. According to the DPS, a quick-thinking park ranger located the climber and helped guide authorities to the rescue zone.

“A quick pick and a short flight later the victim is safe at the LZ,” the Instagram post concluded.

Prior to the stranded climber, Zion National Park made headlines earlier in the year for a better reason

One of Zion National Park’s most popular trails, the Canyon Overlook trail, will receive a facelift in the coming months. A few weeks ago, park officials announced major construction projects for the historic trail, including fresh tread for hikers, rehabilitated infrastructure, and new safety handrails.

Construction crews are already working each Monday through Thursday towards the improvements. This means park officials must routinely close the trail during the week to visitors. Zion National Park expects over five million guests this year, so servicing the popular trail is a top priority before summer. If you want to walk the Canyon Overlook trail anytime before June, then plan on a weekend visit. Or just wait until summer to take your trip. Park officials expect to reopen the beginner-friendly trail to full capacity usage by mid-summer.

“Work is underway, and the NPS anticipates completing the project in early-June. In order to keep the trail open for as many hikers as possible, the NPS is scheduling work Monday to Thursday each week.  While we may need to close Canyon Overlook Trail at other times, the NPS plans to keep the trail open on most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays,” the April announcement said.

Now over 90 years old, the Canyon Overlook trail needs some rehabilitation; both due to its age and the renaissance of national parks as major vacation destinations again. Zion National Park and its five million visitors currently ranks as the second-most visited park in the entire country, above more famous mainstays like Yosemite and Yellowstone. The Great Smoky Mountains still ranks first by a wide margin, though, with 14 million projected annual visitors.