ZION NATIONAL PARK – A man was rescued Tuesday night after hikers heard him yelling for help from a precarious perch on a cliff several hundred feet above the Weeping Rock Trail in Zion National Park.
Park dispatch received a report of a person stuck on a cliff at 2:39 p.m., park spokesman John Marciano said.
“It was a male in his 20s who went off trail at Observation Point,” Marciano said, “and when he couldn’t get back up (he) just kept down-climbing until he became stuck on a ledge at the mouth of Observation Canyon.”
Park information lists Observation Point as a strenuous hike reached via the East Rim Trail that climbs through Echo Canyon to a viewpoint of Zion Canyon.
The man had attempted to scramble down from Observation Point, Marciano said. He became “cliffed out,” also known in red rock country as “ledged up,” meaning he could not climb up or down.
The incident was reported by hikers on the Weeping Rock Trail who heard the man yelling and alerted a park shuttle driver. Rescuers soon responded.
“We had to send a team of four skilled climbers up the trail and through the technical portion of Echo Canyon,” Marciano told St. George News.
Two members of the team traversed the cliff face until they were above the man. They rappelled down, set up an anchor and rappeled with the man down to the canyon floor.
“This was a high-risk rescue due to the rain, high exposure and night operations,” Marciano said.
The man was back on solid ground by 10 p.m.; all the rescuers made it down by 11 p.m.
Visitors to Zion National Park should be vigilant and prudent, Marciano said, which includes staying on trails and not hiking alone.
“It’s important that people understand that due to high visitation during the summer months, search and rescue teams are not always available to react to incidents,” he said. “So remember, safety is your (the visitor’s) responsibility.”