Corona Arch trail reopens after accidental death

Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-29 20:46:06-04

MOAB, Utah - The trail to Corona Arch is reopened after a rock climber fell to his death while trying to swing off the arch last Sunday.

22-year-old Kyle D. Stocking died while attempting to swing across the arch. Officials say he and his friends miscalculated the length of rope needed. He fell 130 feet to his death.

But the danger doesn't seem to be keeping people away from the arch, located about a mile and a half into Moab's rock country.

"When we first came up here nobody would repel off this. We would never see anybody. In the last few years all of a sudden all kinds of people were climbing to the top of that. It's not risk-free that's for sure," said former mountain rescuer Rob Thorup.

The well-known arch first became popular thanks to a viral YouTube video, which has been seen nearly 20 million times.

"With millions of views, people start talking about. I'm sure there are other swings, but people go where they've heard about," said climber Stephen Bryson.

Professional climbers say accidents like what happened last weekend happen because people fail to take all necessary precautions.

"It's got to be an incredible feeling, but you have to be safe," said hiker Claire Duquette.

Hikers say the trail was closed for a couple of days after Stocking's death, but it's now reopened and the cause of the closure doesn't seem to be stopping some people from rappelling.

"Rappelling it feels pretty safe. Because you are on the rope and you can feel it," Bryson said. "We hiked up onto the arch. They've got anchors set up there. And we checked the anchors and set up the ropes and gear."

Despite the danger, there are no signs warning people to stay off the arch.

Related stories:
Man dead after Corona Arch rope swing accident
Parents of man killed in rope swing accident warn of dangers