UPDATED: 13-year-old found dead in Zion National Park

Angels Landing in Zion National Park, date not specified | Photo by picturist, iStock / Getty Images Plus

ZION NATIONAL PARK — A 13-year-old girl was found dead in Zion National Park due to an apparent fall from a high elevation Monday evening.


Update Feb. 6, 12:15 p.m. – The age of the girl has been released by park officials, as well as confirmation of the hike from which she fell. Her identity and hometown have not yet been released.

Update Feb. 5, 9:30 p.m. – The Angels Landing Trail and the West Rim Trail from the Grotto Trailhead to Angels Landing will be closed 6 a.m. to noon Tuesday while the scene is investigated.


The Angels Landing Trail requires chains in some of its narrowest sections
In this file photo, hikers ascend Angels Landing Trail, which includes narrow ascents with drops of 1,000 to 1,500 feet, Zion National Park, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Lisa Landreth, St. George News

The body was discovered in Refrigerator Canyon along the West Rim Trail just before 5 p.m. According to a report from the Associated Press, the girl was hiking the Angel’s Landing Trail with her family when she fell.

The hiker’s identity and cause of death were still under investigation Monday evening, but her injuries were consistent with a high-elevation fall, according to a news release issued by the park.

Preliminary investigation indicated a possible fall from the popular Angels Landing Trail, a fact confirmed Tuesday morning by park officials.

Park rangers secured the scene, and a search and rescue team recovered the girl’s body.

“This is an extremely sad event. Our thoughts go out to this visitor’s family,” Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent, said.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by the National Park Service and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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24 Comments

  • General Seamstress February 5, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Ok, unless u score high on a professionals certification, isnt it time to make angels landing a belt hook and cable walk with a paid zions employee ensuring this? i was surprised by how dangerous some of thetrails were, americans r preconditioned that even though we r told something is dangerous, if its open to the public its really got alot of failsafes along the way. i bet alot of ppl r surpised at the dangerous areas as they hike,,, its exhilerating to feel like u beat your fears but too many have fallen right there.. time to change something

    • youcandoit February 5, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      I agree with you.

    • Brian February 6, 2018 at 8:11 am

      We don’t need nannies at Angels Landing. If she fell a great distance in Refrigerator Canyon its because she wasn’t where she was supposed to be, had a medical condition, was really careless, someone pushed her, etc. There are literally millions of places in the US where those same situations can prove fatal, including in our own homes, in cars, at businesses, at work, at school. Life has risks, and you can’t protect from all of them.

      We don’t need the nanny state protecting us at every step, and we definitely don’t need a paid federal employee holding our hand and wiping our noses at Angels Landing.

      Condolences to the family, regardless of the cause. This is tragic.

      • Jimmym February 6, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        I agree, Brian.
        Some would like the Nanny State to outlaw bicycles, jogging, motorcycles, most sports, and a host of other activities that could be considered dangerous.

        The loss of this young life is so very sad. It’s terrible that accidents happen every single day. But we also shouldn’t regulate every aspect of people’s lives.

    • Anon February 6, 2018 at 8:34 am

      I have to agree. I hear about kids up there on youth trips or scout hikes and it renders me catatonic. All I can think about is my own boy falling to his death and… No, something needs to be done.

  • 12345 February 5, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    It is time to change things…. uh like your spelling

  • comments February 5, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    i’m scared of heights. dont think i could do it

  • Common Sense February 6, 2018 at 8:11 am

    We do not need guided park rangers and belt hook cables. Visitors to this wonderful park could use common sense. You dont have to hike all the way to the end. You can tell by looking at it that it is dangerous and you most definitely could fall. Its not rocket science.

    • Jimmym February 6, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Right!
      Climb if you want. Stop if you don’t.
      Problem solved.

  • Lastdays February 6, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Hiking Angels Landing is not for everybody. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean people should attempt it. Just like many activities in life, certain things should not be attempted by those not physically or mentally prepared for that activity. In this PC world of making everyone feel good and this constant push to “let’s not hurt anyone’s feelings” , discrimination over many outdoor activities is OK. Many people just need to sit at computer and watch a video of someone climbing Angels Landing.
    I say leave Angels Landing alone. Know Your Limits.

  • Caveat_Emptor February 6, 2018 at 8:52 am

    If I am not mistaken, the last section of the Angels Landing trail had more chains added, and that warning sign installed, in 2011. My last two recent visits stopped at the saddle, because of the swarm of people attempting to access Scout’s Lookout. While most people seemed to be taking their time, a few others were in a big hurry and not only a threat to themselves, but could take out someone else on the way “down”.
    We are fortunate to be close by, and can schedule our visits at off-peak times to avoid the swarms….

  • comments February 6, 2018 at 11:06 am

    But realistically, for the 1000s (or 10,000s?) of folks that hike that every year there are very very few accidents.

  • utahdiablo February 6, 2018 at 11:11 am

    “Off- Peak times” are almost gone altogether now at Zion that’s to the endless greed of the Mighty 5 campaign….last time we tried to climb past Scout’s lookout all we could see were tourists climbing over one another on the chain edge going to Angles landing…at the very least they need to have a Ranger there at peak times in the day to at least see this and to worn people not to overcrowd the chained area…
    Too bad- Zion is lost

    • SilentThunder February 7, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Yep we need rangers and others to worn people of dangers………..

  • comments February 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Just a child. Really sad. sorry to hear it. :(((((((

  • PogoStik February 6, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Maybe the park issues permits to parties wanting to climb past a certain point on Angel’s Landing
    . Permitting would insure the group is fully apprised of the risks—includng the number of fatalities which have occurred. After beng fully informed, the group signs the permit as is on their own.

  • Sandi February 6, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    This is a tragedy.
    Life involvesrisk, hiking in particular has risks. We can create a total nanny state and there will still be risks, and tragedy.
    Even if there are warnings, you cannot stop people from being stupid (and people climbing over one another on that hike is patently stupid).
    If we pave over and build infrastructure all over everywhere, to make every little thing, every little place, absolutely safe for even the most inept among us, we will no longer have wilderness.

  • comments February 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    If it had belt hook and cable safety system i’d do it for sure. I guess I’m scared I’d panic and lose my balance, and i don’t like the idea of hiking the edge of shear cliffs and depending on chains that have become slippery from the oil on people’s hands. I guess I’m a wuss when it comes to heights.

  • General Seamstress February 6, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Really ppl? Nanny state? That’s just assinine! So the ppl that died r babies? Shame shame shame! I didn’t say all trails and many others r dangerous too… Just the area that ppl slide and fall and DIE! My hunch is more ppl would try if there were hook belts and cable… Its a great idea and may even lower park insurance. The permit could have a small dollar fee to cover the attendant.. And there rpsychopaths living among us. An attendant is wise.

  • Foxyheart February 7, 2018 at 3:37 am

    Doesn’t anyone else find this strange? This girl was ‘discovered’ at the bottom of the cliffs. She wasn’t found, ….she was discovered? She was in the park by herself? Did no one miss her when she fell? Someone had to have seen her fall. If so, then she was not discovered, she was found. BIG difference. I also find it strange that they blocked the trail below so they could figure out how it happened. That tells me she was alone. Can someone do a follow up on this story and report what really happened?

    • comments February 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Ofc is strange. It’s bc it’s an extremely limited release of info by park officials. Sometimes we never ever get the full story on with these type of things. its just the way it is.

      Plus, them doing an accident ‘investigation’ is prob just part of procedure

  • General Seamstress February 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    If u look at the bottom right photo the trail itself slopes in the direction to fall. Look at the guy not ranging on to the chain, smh. My son tells me its such a climb that when u get to the questionable areas u find yourself taking the risk… I’m shocked ppl r allowed to walk right there in that photo where its slopes down.. A real rock climber that uses rope should question that spot

    • Jimmym February 7, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Following your fear would close a great deal of the trails at Zion. Have you ever hiked the West Rim Trail in Zion? Any suggestions on protecting those 10+ miles? Or how about forcing people to hold hands hiking down to the Grand Canyon? And I guess we can just forget about anyone ever White water rafting again. Sheeesh, let people take some responsibility for themselves.

      • redrock4 February 8, 2018 at 9:19 am

        The West Rim is such a great trail. It’s less traveled than Angel’s landing so has less deaths. I wonder about putting a via ferrata together for parts of Angel’s Landing. It’s sad in a way to see the swarms of people in such a cool place, but via ferrata might make it a little safer for them. Imagine the traffic on Angel’s Landing in like five or ten years!

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