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Woman dies in rappelling fall in Zion National Park

Published August 19, 2013 10:04 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A West Jordan woman died after falling 120 feet while rappelling near Zion National Park.

Shelby Collette Christensen, 19, was hiking and rappelling with a group of five about 9:30 a.m. in Birch Hollow. Three others in the group had finished the rappel and were waiting at the bottom as Christensen began her descent over the ledge.

She apparently got her hand trapped between the rope and the rock ledge and let go, Kane County sheriff's deputies wrote in a news statement.

She fell 120 feet to the canyon floor, deputies wrote.

A deputy and a Utah State Park ranger from the Coral Pink Sand Dunes met with other members of the rappelling group; the park ranger found Christensen had died at the scene. Her body was removed via helicopter.

Birch Hollow is a popular canyoneering destination with several rappels between scenic hiking. It is about 6 miles north of State Road 9 just East of Zion National Park. Two other people have been injured rappelling there this summer. The first two happened one day apart at a different rappel. Both required a technical rescue by teams from Kane County Search and Rescue, Zion National Park, and the BLM to raise the victims to an area where they could be picked up by helicopter.