Climber Falls Off Cliff Near Moab

Climber Falls Off Cliff Near Moab


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John Daley reportingSearch and rescue crews will tell you they're increasingly seeing people get themselves into potentially life-threatening situations, where one minute things are fine and the next an accident happens and the victim is wondering if they'll make it out in one piece.

Utah's mountains and spectacular redrock country are a recreational wonderland. But they're also plenty dangerous.

Consider the case of 28-year-old Joshua Tritt from Salem, Oregon. He fell while free climbing Saturday in Abyss Canyon near Moab.

After climbing down 200 feet, he couldn't make it the last 40, and fell while trying to climb back up. Melissa Brooks caught the rescue on tape the next morning.

To get Tritt out, search and rescue crews had to rappel down to him and then used winches from jeeps to haul him up the sheer slickrock face before he could be flown out with a broken ankle and broken back.

With summer coming, we can expect a dramatic increase in folks heading into backcountry. As always, the rule of thumb is use common sense, go with a partner, and bring the right gear.

Climbing experts warn that newcomers need proper instruction and need to know the terrain.

Steve Piper/REI: "A LOT OF INCIDENTS OR CLOSE CALLS ARE HAPPENING WITH PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING, WHO HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE PROPER INSTRUCTION OF WHAT TO DO."

Joshua Tritt is listed in fair condition at a hospital in Grand Junction.

Doctors there say his outlook is favorable, but the Grand County Sheriff's Department says they consider him one of the lucky ones, who lived to tell the tale.

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