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Zion canyon flooding deaths


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Quote from the news article:



In Zion, the group was told of the danger of flash flooding when they got their entry permit Monday morning, park officials say. They decided to go anyway.

Though some of them were new to canyoneering, park policy prevents rangers from assessing their skill level or stopping them from entering canyons.


Sometimes when we have made extensive plans and decided we are "going to do this" we ignore warnings and push forward anyways. Sometimes with disastrous consequences.


It appears they were informed of the danger of flash flooding, but decided to go into an very narrow canyon in spite of the dangers.


This is a horrible loss of life and I don't mean to take away from that. However, I do think that the fact that they were warned about possible flooding is lost in the tragic consequences.


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These canyons often flood from rain that falls a good distance away. Almost instantly without warning a wall of water appears. Very scary and as is obvious very deadly. I have been on Lake Powell when suddenly a normally dry wash roars to life from a far off rain storm. The water is also full of debris including trees. The power is immense.

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I climbed for eight seasons with Fred Beckey. Fred started climbing in 1939 and is still actively rock climbing at 91. He has more first rate ascents in Oregon, in Washington, in BC, in Yukon, and in Alaska than anyone else. He never takes chances. He figured there was always another day. If the weather is chancy or he has a bad cold, he backs off. He is still alive and many with 1/10 of his experience are dead.


As is said about many activities, "..there are old .... and there are bold...., but there are no old and bold ...." I was infantry 48 years ago and that is a truism.

Reed and Elaine

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So true! I climbed with Fred in the Gunks about 10 years ago. It was cold and as you probably know, he had almost nothing but his rack so I lent him a jacket. We had a nice mellow day. The line I remember was, "Live to Tell". No use all your buddies back at the bar telling stories of all the times ya got away with one, but this was just "your time"

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"..there are old .... and there are bold...., but there are no old and bold ...."


very true.

during my years in various "adventure sports" it was usually the more experienced folks who thought they were too experienced to get into trouble, who ended up killing themselves with one poor decision.


I too remember the great Fred Beckey, I had read all his books and admired his long climbing history. I finally got to meet him when I was on Mt Ranier, preparing to lead a group up the Liberty Ridge route.



and a mention of the Gunks brings back fond memories. My home climbing area back then (70's) was Seneca Rocks in WV, but every chance we got for a 3 day weekend, it was off to the Gunks.

Here I am on one of the many overhang routes at the Gunks (thankful for those long legs).


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