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Injured Climber Rescued From Minotaur Tower

Zion National Park

National Park News

Just before 1 a.m. on July 1st, a climber, after running over two miles to get to a phone, reported that his partner had fallen approximately 40 feet and sustained serious injuries off the first pitch of the Moonlight Buttress route. He then returned to the area with two rangers, but in the darkness and steep terrain he was unable to find his injured friend. SAR team members gearing up along the roadside could see a faint headlight glow about a quarter mile down canyon from the base of the Moonlight Buttress, though, and therefore shifted their response. Subsequent investigation revealed that the two inexperienced climbers had planned to climb the route despite never having visited Zion before and never having practiced the aid climbing techniques typically utilized on the route. During their approach in fading light, the climbers mistook the Minotaur Tower for Moonlight Buttress and attempted to climb, in the dark, a crack system not associated with any standard climbing routes.  Rescuers determined that the climber’s injuries were not immediately life threatening, so technical rigging operations were suspended until daylight. A 300-foot-high, steep-angle lowering and wheeled litter evacuation brought the climber to the roadside around 9 a.m.  The climber survived the night with multiple injuries and was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center via the park’s ambulance.


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