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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : regional May 1, 2016

11/29/2012 2:19:00 PM
Rock Climber falls to his death
Archive photograph of Paradise Forks. Courtesy
Archive photograph of Paradise Forks. Courtesy

SYCAMORE CANYON - Joshua Dale Riggs, 32, of Moab, Utah, was killed Monday, after he fell an estimated 80 feet while rock climbing at the north end of Sycamore Canyon.

During the early afternoon hours of Nov. 26, emergency dispatchers got a cell phone call from a woman. She said she and her boyfriend were rock climbing when he fell from a significant height. She said he was seriously injured.

The woman was not able to give an exact location, but from the geographic description she gave,

responders familiar with the area could find the couple. The site is called Paradise Forks near Sycamore Falls, a popular, but difficult rock climbing area in Sycamore Canyon in Coconino County.

Forest Service Law Officers and Coconino County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched along with a DPS air rescue helicopter and a Search and Rescue Technical Team. When they reached the woman, her injured boyfriend, Riggs, had already died.

During an interview with the victim's girlfriend, investigators learned the two were camping nearby at White Horse Lake and were rock climbing at the time of the accident.

The Technical Rescue Team hiked and rappelled to the victim's location. A stokes basket was

lowered down the rock face to the victim. Once his body was secured, they raised him up the

rock face again. This recovery process took three and a half hours and extended beyond dusk. The

victim's body was released to an investigator from the Coconino County Medical Examiner's

Office and was transported to Flagstaff where an autopsy was performed on the following day.

Detectives and the Medical Examiner's Office are continuing this investigation.

Taylor Waste

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