Fatal Fall from Angels Landing in Zion National Park
A California woman died in a fall Sunday from the popular site in Zion National Park known as Angels Landing.
The victim, 55-year-old Nancy Maltez of Glendora, California, was reported to be hiking with family members early Sunday when she fell at about 8:30 a.m. The accident was reported by another hiker by cell phone.
She was believed to have stumbled and fallen from the north side of Angels Landing. Media reports indicate she fell a distance of about 1,000 feet, and search-and-rescue crews reached her body before noon.
The West Rim Trail from the Grotto to Scout Lookout, along with climbing routes on the north side of Angels Landing, are temporarily closed while an investigation by the park and the Washington County Sheriff's Department is completed.
There has been considerable discussion on theTraveler in recent months about the safety of the Angels Landing Trail. Prior to today's incident, the most recent fatal fall at that location was in 2007.
The park website includes the following information in a description of the Angels Landing Trail:
Caution: The route to Angels Landing involves travel along a steep, narrow ridge with support chains anchored intermittently along the route. Footing can be slippery even when the rock is dry Unevenly surfaced steps are cut into the rock with major cliff dropoffs adjacent. Keep off when it is wet, icy or thunderstorms are in the area. Plan to be off before dark. Younger children should skip this trail; older children must be closely supervised.
This accident will almost certainly revive the debate about the safety of the popular trail. According to the park website, "about 5 people" have died due to falls from Angels Landing in the 100 years since the park was established, but it is not the most dangerous trail in the park. Emerald Pools holds that unwelcome distinction with seven victims.