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Ice climbers hurt in fall at Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon

Published January 23, 2013 1:50 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Utah County search and rescue workers retrieved an injured woman and man from the scene of an ice-climbing accident late Wednesday morning in Provo Canyon.

A 911 call came in at 9:31 a.m. from the Bridal Veil Falls area. A woman, whose identity was not released, reportedly fell about 40 feet while climbing an ice wall know as the Stairway to Heaven, according to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Eldon Packer. A man identified as John Lavalla, 34, of Park City, reportedly fell 30 feet.

A medical helicopter landed about 10:20 a.m. to take the injured woman to University Hospital in Salt Lake City. As of Wednesday afternoon she remained in critical condition.

Packer said Lavalla walked to an ambulance and was transported to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. He was in stable condition Wednesday afternoon.

The exact cause of the fall remains unknown. Packer said the ice around Bridal Veil Falls is "degrading," or melting and breaking apart, and the climbers could have slipped or been hit by falling debris. Packer said both climbers appeared to have safety equipment and some experience. He advised anyone planning to ice climb in the area to exercise caution.

remims@sltrib.com