SOAP CREEK, ARIZ. – A Kanab man fell nearly 100 feet into an Arizonan canyon and survived with just bruises and soreness Sunday.
Nick Smith, an experienced canyoneer, said he was teaching one of his inexperienced friends how to rappel when he forgot the same safety precautions he was preaching for himself.
“I fell essentially the full 90-feet of the drop; from the very top to the very bottom,” said Nick Smith in a Skype interview.
According to Smith, this was one hundred percent an error.
“In part, I was a little distracted from trying to explain to this younger fellow, okay this is what you do, ironically, I kind of forgot to check what I was doing for myself,” Smith said.
The block, which allows the rope to go through it for safe rappelling, was set up incorrectly, Smith said.
“It’s something I’ve done a million times before and your confidence gets to a point where you think you’ve got it,” Smith said.
Smith said the fall was captured on a GoPro camera inside his backpack, strapped to a pole.
“It happened pretty fast. I do remember bouncing off a couple of ledges which probably helped me survive. I did see stars for a minute there,” Smith said.
According to Smith, after the fall, he ascended back out of the canyon, hiked to their vehicle and drove to Kanab, 90 miles away. When in Kanab, Smith said, he checked himself into the emergency room and had a CT scan done.
According to Smith, doctors said he would be okay.
“I just feel so grateful and so blessed,” Smith said.
His wife of 15 years and four young children, Smith said, also feel blessed.
“I shouldn’t have survived. Truthfully,” Smith said.
A message from Smith:
Never let your confidence get the better of you and always double-check your blocks, rocks or knots before you descend.