Climber Dies In Fall At Zion National Park

A Utah climber was killed in a fall at Zion National Park, where he was part of a group of four on a popular climbing route below Angels Landing.

Park officials say Lyle Dale Hurd III, age 49, of Santa Clara, died Friday afternoon. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the National Park Service.

Mr. Hurd was in a party of four individuals on the Northeast Buttress route, park officials said in a release.

"The group was traveling in pairs and Hurd and his partner were following the other pair up the route. Hurd was leading the fifth pitch when he fell over 40 feet onto a ledge, pulling his top piece of protection out," the release said. "His partner witnessed the fall and called 911 before providing medical care to Hurd. ... When park medics reached the ledge, they confirmed that Hurd had not survived his injuries."

Located below Angels Landing, the Northeast Buttress is an eight-pitch big wall climb that is rated at IV 5.10+.

This was Mr. Hurd’s first time climbing this particular route, although he was an experienced climber and had completed several big wall climbs previously in Zion, park officials said. This is the second fatal accident in the park this year -- earlier this summer a canyoneer died in an accident -- and the seventh climbing fatality since 1983.