Woman, 19, dies rappelling near Zion

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:18 PM


KANAB — A 19-year-old West Jordan woman died in a rappelling accident Monday after falling about 120 feet at a popular climbing destination east of Zion National Park.

Shelby Collette Christensen was confirmed dead by a Utah State Parks ranger who responded to a call from Birch Hollow about 9:30 a.m. Her death was the third serious rappelling accident in Birch Hollow this summer.

Christensen had been hiking and rappelling with four other people at the time of her fall, according to Kane County deputies. Three people in her group had already rappelled down the ledge and were waiting at the bottom.

Deputies said Christensen had begun her descent when it appeared her hand became trapped between the rope and the rock ledge and she let go, falling to her death.

A Department of Public Safety helicopter crew worked with the Kane County Search and Rescue team to recover the body, deputies said.

This summer’s other two serious accidents in Birch Hollow happened a day apart in a separate part of the canyon.

Those accidents resulted in injuries and required helicopter rescues.

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