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Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing


    Climb to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park and you'll have an incredible view of Zion Canyon and the surrounding cliffs. You'll also risk a spell of vertigo if you get too near the edge and glance into the void.
    In fact, reaching the top of the landing can be unnerving at times as you have to climb up some steep, and narrow, stretches of rock. The Park Service is well aware of the exposure on these sections and has anchored heavy chains into the most precarious spots so you have something to hang onto.
    Over the years five people have died in falls from Angel's Landing....the most recent death occurred yesterday morning with a 29-year-old Las Vegas woman fell 1,200 feet to her death. No word just yet on how Bernadette Vander Meer came to fall off the cliff.


I just hiked Angel's Landing for my 47th birthday and it is an experience I would not wish to have missed. My husband and I are extremely athletic, (skydived, flying trapeze, bike racing, etc.) We knew of the death. I have never seen my husband more serious and cautious. At times we could not speak, we had to devote all our energy to concentrating on the trail. One thing we learned from the local guide was not to "hang" on the chain. It was important to be stable with footing and balance before proceeding and to use the chain as a back-up and a guide. I used the chain but did not NEED the chain. While on top there were young people from Australia and England. One young woman was in her socks going up and down at the very top which was at a downward slant on smooth rock surface. One guy was jumping up and down and running near the edge. I informed them that two weeks prior a woman had fallen to her death. They behaved differently after that. A sign at the entrance to the Angel's Landing hike stating how many deaths have occurred may help alert people to the dangers. I saw many people in tennis shoes, sandals, and not in hiking boots or shoes. Many did not look in great shape. Yet those who died were experience, a hiker, a boyscout, etc. Some people do not deal well with height even if experienced. But do not close it down. I would not have wanted to miss this experience. DD

I was recently at Zion and hiked up Angel's Landing. It is an amazing hike and view once you get to the top. I would do it again. I do not believe trails such as these should be shut off because of accidents. A close friend of mine died in a car accident recently. Were cars recalled? No. That would also mean we need to quit playing sports, riding in airplanes ... Bernadette may have been an experienced climber, but it only takes one factor - wind, lighting, water, footing - to cause an accident. I am sad to hear of situations like these. My best goes out to her friends and family.

I have hiked angel landing 3 times. Most recently around the first of August.I noticed the amount of work they have done on paving the trail. I wonder if people get the wrong idea of how dangerous this trail is at the top.It is my favorite trail. People need to be carfull.

I hiked Angel's Landing a few years ago in spite of my fairly significant dislike of heights and exposed climbs. I did it because I heard it was phenomenal (it is) and it looked like fun. While it is inherently dangerous and people should be made aware of this, it won't register with most of them. People don't think - that's just the way it is. Put a sign up if you want to (most people will ignore it) but don't close it down. You can't protect people from themselves - that's their job.

I'm sorry to hear that there was another fatality at angel's landing. I can't help but wonder if having those chains on the trail is really such a good idea. It seems to me they may be encouraging people to go up that should not be up there and giving them a false sense of security. They also detract from the wild beauty of the climb. I hiked the trail two weeks ago and I never touched the chains. For one thing I didn't trust them and preferred to rely on my own skill and balance to make the ascent. I didn't find it difficult at all but I am a person who knows his abilities and has faith in them. I believe the park service should remove the chains. I think that would eliminate the bulk of the people that shouldn't be up there in the first place. There are plenty of other safer hikes in the park where one can get a great view.

People are responsible for their own actions. If you're not, don't go. End of story.

Yes , I agree with Jeffrey that people are responsible for their own actions. If you are climbing Angel's Landing and using the chains and one of the pipes that anchor them to the rock pulls out and you fall to your death do you think the Forest Service is going to take responsibility for your accident? I doubt it. The park's policy is "use at your own risk". The decision whether or not to rely on the chains is no different than if you were rock climbing and there were existing bolts on the route. It's each individual's responsibility to check each anchor to judge if it's still usable. In the case of Angel's Landing, all the "safety" chains that someone installed there are not necessary to the hike, and to my mind are the same as having a rockclimbing route littered with a bunch of unnecessary bolts. They just deface the rock and degrade the experience of being out in nature. That's my personal opinion. What does everyone else think?

I just spent a phenomenal week in southern Utah. I attempted Angel's Landing on Saturday morning. I got beyond the first set of chains and at that point became terrified and wrestled through the decision to accept I simply did not have the mental fortitude to complete the hike. Today I saw photos of how much more exposed the hike becomes as one nears the top. It was then I gave myself credit for making it as far as "quitter's corner" (the large flat area before the first set of chains. Many people just cruised on by me and continued on to the top. I still cannot fathom the casual way in which many approached the last part of the hike. I had just collected myself, when a guy went strolling by on his way to the top with an infant well under 1 year on his back. It was then I lost it again. Angel's landing is an unbelievable place but is it really necessary to risk an infant's life. I realize we don't need more laws, however, it stuns me anyone would endanger the life of a child. I can not believe anyone would have to tell a parent hiking to the top of Angel's Landing with an infant is just plain unnecessary and unwise. It was the most intense moment I have had in a long time. I am so blessed to have had the experience even if I fell short of the summit. Thanks for all the insightful posts.

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