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Zion National Park officials ID man in fatal climbing accident

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Posted at 4:18 PM, Oct 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-21 00:47:16-04

ZION NATIONAL PARK — Zion National Park officials have identified a man who died from injuries sustained in a fall Sunday.

At approximately 11 a.m., park medics received reports of a 47-year-old man who had fallen after starting a climb with a friend to “Iron Messiah,” a technical 5.10 climb in Zion Canyon.

Christopher H. Spencer of San Jose, Calif., and his friend were on an approach pitch in easy fifth-class terrain when Spencer fell backward, tumbling approximately 80 feet down the steep slope, striking a series of ledges, according to a press release from Zion National Park.

Spencer was not attached to a rope or wearing a helmet when he fell, the release indicates.

Medics reached the victim by noon. According to the release the first responders were able to stabilize Spencer during the almost three-hour technical evacuation.

The victim was later transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George by helicopter where he later succumbed to his injuries and died.

This is the fourth fatal accident in the park this year, according to park officials and the eighth climbing fatality since 1983.