Utah canyoneer survives near 100-foot fall in Soap Creek Canyon

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A Utah canyoneer is lucky to be alive after falling nearly 100 feet Sunday in Soap Creek Canyon, near the Utah-Arizona border.

The routine rappel went wrong after Nick Smith, 37, of Kanab, said he forgot to set up a block.

“It’s essentially what we use to block one side of the rope to allow us to rappel off of it, and I fell,” Smith said.

Smith went with one other friend who saw the whole thing unfold. Remarkably Smith was conscious the entire time, saying he didn’t feel pain due to adrenaline.

“I thought, ‘How is this even possible?,'” he said. “It was a combination of confusion, upset with myself, and, honestly, just extremely grateful.”

Smith is an experienced canyoneer and the owner of outdoor guide company, Seldom Seen Adventures. He said Sunday’s trip to the canyon wasn’t his first one. The volunteer wilderness first responder knew he needed to act fast.

“So, I set up an ascent and basically fixed my rope again and climbed my way out of the canyon,” he said.

He rushed to a hospital in Kanab, which was about an hour away. Doctors ran some tests but found nothing wrong.

“My jaw just dropped,” he said. “[The doctor] said, ‘You have no broken bones, no internal bleeding, and you are free to go!'”

Smith believes the story proves no matter what your experience level, one should never get too comfortable.

“At some point in time we’re going to make mistakes out there,” he said. “So please, remember to go in a group and have people check what you do.”