Zion Park releases name of climber who fell 1,000 feet to his death

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ZION NATIONAL PARK — Authorities Tuesday have released the name of a climber who died last week during a fall in Zion National Park.

Eric Michael Klimt, 36, of Portland, Oregon, was climbing a technical route in the park when he fell approximately 800-1,000 feet, according to a media statement issued by Zion National Park Tuesday.

Eric Klimt climbing the Salathé Wall, El Cap, Yosemite, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Eric Klimt’s Facebook page, St. George News
Eric Klimt climbing the Salathé Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Eric Klimt’s Facebook page, St. George News

Klimt had been solo top rope climbing – traveling along a fixed line providing a self-belay – on a popular 1,200-foot technical route on the west side of Zion Canyon known as “Moonlight Buttress.”

“He had a rope fixed on the upper three pitches when he fell,” Zion National Park spokesman David Eaker said in the statement.

Klimt was witnessed falling at approximately 12:30 p.m. Wednesday by another climbing party on the route. The climbers notified park rangers who located Klimt’s body at the base of the route.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the fall is still under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the National Park Service.

Klimt’s sister, Kirsten Klimt, posted the following message Saturday on her Facebook page:

While we are grieving the loss of a wonderful man, brother, uncle and son, what we’re focusing on as a family, was that this was an accident, and that he died instantly doing something he loved. Eric was at his best when he was climbing, and I know his passion inspired a lot of us. … May his soul be free and the view be breathtaking.

Moonlight Buttress was a climb Eric Klimt had been on before, according to the post. When park rangers recovered his body, he was found wearing an intact harness with a GriGri attached to his belay loop with a carabiner. The rest of his gear was still at the top of the climb.

Klimt’s death is the first reported fatality in Zion National Park for 2016.

“Our condolences go out to Eric’s friends and family,” Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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