Zion death investigation focuses on pulley device | AspenTimes.com

Zion death investigation focuses on pulley device

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

ST. GEORGE, Utah ” The investigation into the falling death of an experienced Colorado climber in Zion National Park focuses on a pulley device that may have been improperly used.

James Martin Welton, 34, of Durango, Colo., was climbing with two others Oct. 17 when he fell about 300 feet to his death. The three were ascending the Touchstone, one of the park’s most popular large walls.

The National Park Service and the Washington County sheriff’s office investigated the fall.

In results released Monday, investigators say a pulley device ” which captures rope as it’s hauled in ” may not have been properly closed and secured. When the device failed, Welton dropped 15 feet. Investigators say the force of that drop severed the rope and caused Welton’s fall.

It was the park’s sixth climbing fatality since 1983.

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