Body of BASE jumper retrieved from Zion Natl’ Park

Posted at 9:39 PM, Mar 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-26 10:12:50-04

ZION NATIONAL PARK -- Search and rescue crews successfully recovered the body of a BASE jumper Tuesday.

The man died during a jump from the park’s West Temple Peak.

Crews initially found the body of Stan “Stanley” Leary, 38, on Sunday after his family reported him overdue from the planned BASE jumping and rock climbing trip. Park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus said they estimate he’d been missing for close to two weeks.

“He was supposedly jumping off of West Temple on [March] 13,” Baltrus said. “And his family was alerted on the 22nd.”

The rescue crew, comprised of teams from both Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park, used a several hundred foot rope to lift rescuers to the ledge where Leary’s body was found, then lifted the body.

Baltrus said rescue crews will also perform accident investigation to determine what went wrong in the jump that led to Leary’s death.

Leary is an expert BASE jumper and avid rock climber. He’s been featured in numerous online videos, and according to his website, Leary has climbed mountains on almost every continent.

Several of his fellow climbers came to Springdale to help retrieve the body and pay their last respects. Some even climbed to where he landed, ready to help rescuers if they needed to move the body for safer recovery.

Baltrus pointed out the BASE jumping community is small, and posts in online forums and on Facebook show Leary’s affect was far reaching.

But Baltrus said that doesn’t change the fact that BASE jumping in national parks is illegal. Only a handful of people have been prosecuted at Zion National Park, but rangers constantly remind people of the inherent risk.

“Most of these BASE jumpers are actually well experienced,” Baltrus said. “They’re trained, they know what they’re doing -- it’s just that a small thing going wrong can really have devastating effects.”

Leary is from Sacramento, Calif. and leaves behind a wife, who is pregnant with their first child.