Angels Landing

They should have a sign at the trailhead of Zion National Park’s Angels Landing: “Ye Fearful of Heights, Turn Back Now” with symbol of a skull and crossbones for good measure. The famous trail, which climbs along a rock fin with 1,500-foot drops on both sides, does indeed have signs warning hikers of “steep cliffs” and warn of a “precipitous route,” but I don’t think that’s enough to warn those of the dangers ahead. The five-mile hike has claimed the life of at least nine hikers (as of June 2010) who lost their balance and/or their concentration and fell to their deaths.

A view from the top of Angels Landing

I first attempted Angels Landing in September of 2009. I hiked within 100 yards of the highest point and sat down, concentrating on anything but the view of the canyon floor, where buses looked like tiny white Tic-Tacs and people looked like fleas. I told my hiking partners that I was quite happy not going any farther. Fate had been tempted too much that day as it was.

When I safely got off the trail and my acrophobia subsided, I began to regret my decision not to make it to the top. So when friends and I returned to Zion National Park earlier this year, I made it a mission to get up there – all the way to the top. Climbing Angels Landing for the second time is a lot less stressful. Here’s a few videos I made of the successful climb to the top. (Click through to see the videos in HD.)

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