SALT LAKE CITY – The high-risk sport of swinging wildly on ropes through canyon and arch openings in southern Utah has left a second man dead in little more than a month.
Adam Jason Weber fell about 100 feet to a canyon floor after taking a swing. Weber, 32, of the Salt Lake City area, apparently was refastening his harness onto a separate rappel line from the swing rope when “something happened,” Grand County Sheriff’s Lt. Kim Neal said.
“All we can say is we have a lot of this – it goes with climbing and rappelling,” Neal said Monday. “Some people are careful, but they need to be extremely cautious.”
The stunt has been made so popular by YouTube videos that Utah has banned the activity by commercial outfitters on state trust lands, leaving so-called pendulum swingers on their own. The sport is unregulated on federal range lands.
Sunday’s death occurred in Day Canyon, about seven miles west of Moab. It wasn’t immediately clear where on Utah’s checkerboard of state and federal lands Weber was swinging.
Neal said a group of experienced climbers spent days stretching an aircraft-grade cable 600 feet across Day Canyon, and that a handful of them had swung successfully from that metal cable before Weber and a woman took a plunge. The woman was left stranded by Weber’s fall, but other friends helped her rappel to the canyon floor.
On March 19, Kyle Lee Stocking crashed into the sandstone base of Corona Arch near Moab only a few miles to the east of Day Canyon. Stocking, 22, of Moab, left too much loose rope when he clipped into his waist harness, Neal said.
Pendulum swinging is a relatively new form of recreation in Utah’s canyon lands, which see plenty of injuries and deaths from rock climbing and BASE jumping, which involves leaping from a fixed object with a parachute. On March 13, another man, Zachary Taylor, was killed rappelling at Tear Drop Arch near Moab.
The sport has taken a boost from YouTube. One video titled “World’s Largest Rope Swing” has racked up more than 20 million views since it was posted in February.
Rescue crews pronounced Weber dead on the floor of Day Canyon Sunday night.