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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.


The NPS "allows" people to climb Mt. McKinley and El Capitan too. It is up to ANYONE and everyone to determine if it is for them.

I hiked Angel's Landing less than two weeks ago (July 2009). My boyfriend made it through the first short section of chains and decided to call it quits. I was determined and set out on my own. I nearly didn't make it to the top myself due to the combination of conditions - heat, fatigue and fear. Thanks to the encouragement from a young and energetic couple, I was able to conquer the challenge and make it all the way to the summit. An amazing thrill and accomplishment! What the hell was I thinking?!?!?! So very glad I made this hike but I won't take that chance again. Since returning home I have considered this hike quite a bit. I become anxious and nervous just thinking about it now. I commented there on the trail and I've told this to my family and friends - I am shocked the Park Service allows ANYONE to take this hike. However, I'm not sure the right thing to do would be to shut it down. This is an experience I will treasure my whole life. I do think that more explict sings that detail the danger and deaths that have occured there would be a smart addition. I am appalled to read in these posts that someone saw a parent on this trail with an infant on their back. That's something I simply couldn't watch! This hike is a serious undertaking. And, it's worth every treacherous step. Know your limits and respect gravity!

I'm really sorry to hear about your brother, Joni. I hope you're doing okay. I guess I haven't seen or talked to you in 33 years? Please stay safe.

I climbed AL about six years ago. I was at a conference in Las Vegas and made a trip out of it. I arrived alone and randomly selected this hike without knowledge of what it entails. Wow what a shock!!! I got to scouts lookout and nearly chickened out but then I saw older and fatter people decsending safely I got my courage to go up. I am so glad I did. What a spectacular experience!!! Now I discover that I randomly conquered one of the most beautiful and challenging climbs in the national parks. I am very satisfied with myself and my choice of hike. Just be cautious and courteous and you should be fine.

We just got back from a Memorial Day vacation in Zion. The highlight of the trip was trying to hike Angel's Landing. We are both experienced hikers, and got up early and made the hike up there.

People call Scout Lookout all sorts of names like Chicken point, etc ... but I am not sure that is true ... After climbing the first set of chains you get to another little plateau ... from which there is a 100 foot "connector" that gets you to the next big climb ... that 100' stretch is where you are looking down a +1000' cliff ... and if you look down Vertigo kicks in and you really chicken out!

Anyway, thats what happened to us ... we chickened out at the second little plateau. We sat there and watched hundreds of people go up and down ... including two people with infants strapped to their backs ... which is my big complaint ... its one thing to risk your own life ... its another to risk your child's life over a thrill.

We thought we would get up there early and beat the crowds ... but so did everyone. If I had a second complaint it would be that there were too many people up there for the type of trail. There was a lot of waiting to get around people with death grips on the chain ... which takes your focus off of what you are doing ... and you need to remain focused up there.

We'll go back and try it again ... but not during a holiday weekend ... maybe mid week when there are no crowds


I climbed AL 2 weeks ago. Me and my girlfreid walked up to Scout's Lookout, where she decided to join me up to Angel's Landing. About 100 yards up the climb she got really scared and wanted te go back, and so she did. I felt OK and decided to go on and reached Angels Landing, where a fantastic view was to be seen.

The climb is potentially dangerous: a serious stumble or slip up there is very probably your last. Although there is a sign that warns you of danger and tells you it's at your own risk, in my opinion the Park guide and hiking trail explanations should emphasize the danger a bit more. Looking back, I still would have taken on the challenge if I was warned about the risk, but I know my girlfriend wouldn't have. And that's the problem: people who get scared and shaky up there are in a wrong place. It's dangerous for them and for others who pass them. It's unfair to them not to tell them about the risks: the experience for them is frightening and the risk is enlarged (try getting down with shaky legs and sweaty hands while scared already, not safe)

If you do want to go up there: be aware of the risk of falling down and show respct to nature. Do NOT underestimate the climb, be careful en calm. If you're not able to stay calm up there, don't do it. If you don't like heights , don't do it. If you're not physically fit enough to do it, don't. Keep in mind that accidents can happen and ask yourself if the experience of climbing up there is worth it to you. If it is (in my case: for me it was), have fun and don't rush it!

I climbed AL last week. The entire park was amazingly beautiful. The views from AL were spectacular but they were from many other places as well. Without a doubt, there is adrenalin climbing AL. There are a few narrow places where extra caution is required but caution is recommended on pretty much the entire trail - an accidental loss of balance or trip, even by the most experienced and prepared people, can result in an undesirable fate.

I disagree with any suggestion that people who fall are necessarily acting foolishly - when coming down AL in several sections, I was mentally focussed, had proper hiking boots, not carrying too much, and all that was needed was for me to accidentally trip or lose my balance and I could have had an undesirable ending. Accidents happen to the most experienced and prepared.

Although all 5 non-suspicious deaths off AL are tragic, I'm surprised there haven't been more since the park was established - that's over many decades. I think the warnings were clear. Leave these places open. Every time we hop in a vehicle or cross a street, we're put in danger but I don't see anyone saying we should ban automobiles. I think the place should be closed in icy/snowy conditions and perhaps at night. I'm not sure about kids - in groups, it's not a good idea - too much peer pressure. Although kids tend to have more physical stamina than adults, they are also less conscious of danger and generally less responsible....and often act more foolishly when in groups. I wouldn't bring my young kid up there, but that's me. Carrying a young child in a pack up there is plain stupid.

I'd be more hesitant going up there in heavy tourist season. There are some sections where I'd want to be the only person going through them. I'm sure in summer there are far more people going up and down on many sections at the same time - I wouldn't want that. It wasn't bad when I was there.

Enjoy the place. It's amazing. Oh, if you notice any loose post or a problem with the chain, please report it to the park officials.

We "chickened out" at the chains, but found a much, much better and far safer view at Observation Point. Glad we turned around and enjoyed the day!

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