West Jordan woman dies in rappelling accident

Published: Monday, Aug. 19 2013 10:52 p.m. MDT

BIRCH HOLLOW, Kane County — A 19-year-old woman fell to her death rappelling Monday morning.

Shelby Collette Christensen, of West Jordan, was rappelling in Birch Hollow about 9:30 a.m. with four friends, three of whom had descended ahead of her. When Christensen began the rappel, her hand got caught between the rope and the cliff face.

Christensen let go of the ledge and fell about 120 feet to the bottom of the canyon, Kane County Sheriff’s Sgt. Alan Alldredge said.

The group called police, and a Utah park ranger from the Coral Pink Sand Dunes area hiked into the canyon and confirmed Christensen had died from her injuries.

A Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was dispatched from Cedar City to retrieve Christensen's body from the canyon, located about 6 miles north of state Route 9 near Zion National Park.

Alldredge called the canyon a popular hiking and rappelling area, and it's the third such accident in the area this year. The two previous accidents occurred within a day of each other at another rappel in the canyon, and both required assistance of a joint technical rescue team.

— McKenzie Romero

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