Lifestyle & Human Interest

Utah Climber Rescued from 'Certain Death' After Giant Rock Rolls Onto Him


Two climbers were out in Little Cottonwood Canyon, an area in Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah, when they ran into a bit of a snag, leaving one injured but miraculously alive.

With a name like “Certain Death,” perhaps it’s no surprise that the spot is a tricky one, even for experienced climbers — which these two were. But a little before 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, a large boulder broke free.

One volunteer with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue named Mike Finger said he was one of the first on the scene after the call came in.

He was told the two men were climbing when the rock fell and one was injured.

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“His climbing partner said he was above him a little bit and kind of heard a yell and some loud noises and looked back and kind of saw this big boulder tumbling down,” Finger told KSL-TV, “and his partner kind of pop up and run for a couple of feet and then fall over and start yelling in pain.”

“He was lucky he didn’t like get pinned under or anything like that.”

Apparently, the man sustained serious back injuries and was LifeFlighted out of the area.

“SLCOSAR was called out for an injured climber in LCC in the Gate Buttress area,” the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Facebook page posted on Monday.

“Two climbers were looking for new routes in the Waterfront area above ‘Certain Death’. One climber had pulled off a large rock the size of a refrigerator that rolled over the top of him.

“Two ground teams were dispatched to find the injured party and try to access them. Because of the location and nature of the injuries LifeFlight was called and was able to hoist the patient off the mountain.”

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The agency shared photos of the rescue as well, showing the precarious position the climbers were in and just how necessary the LifeFlight was.

Finger also said that as the weather warms up, he expects to make more and more calls like this one, and cautioned any adventurers listening that the rocks might shift after the winter.

“We had an injured climber on Friday, too, so this was our second climber injury in, I don’t know, 48 hours?” he said. “You know, a lot of time spring comes around and the rocks have loosened from the freeze-melt cycle over the winter.”

“Summer picks up and it’s … I guess it’s our time to shine!”

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