Trained climber dies in fatal fall from landslide in Death Valley

A 38-year-old trained climber descending a canyon in Death Valley National Park in California died when caught in a landslide, authorities said.

Justin Ibershoff, 38, of Los Angeles, died at the scene in the desert on Jan.30, according to a statement from the park and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.

The accident happened as Ibershoff was descending Deimos Canyon with six friends. The terrain was rocky and steep. Park officials said Ibershoff apparently stepped on a rock that gave way, triggering a landslide that swept him past two companions and to the brink of the 95-foot-high dryfall.

Ibershoff and the rest of his group have reportedly descended this canyon several times before, the statement said.

The group used an emergency locator beacon to call for help. Rangers from Inyo County and Death Valley Park were assisted by helicopters from the California Highway Patrol and the Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake.

A helicopter crew was able to locate Ibershoff’s body.

The area is considered unstable and climbers have been urged to avoid the upper portion of the canyon, authorities said, CBS News reported.

Rim of the World Climbing Club announced the death of its member on Facebook.

“Justin was involved in an unfortunate canyoning accident in Death Valley National Park on Saturday, January 30, 2021,” said club president Brad MacArthur, who described Ibershoff as an accomplished climber, active climber, canyoner, a peak bagger and a split boarder, who spent a lot of time in the Eastern Sierra.

“Justin was one of the nicest people I have ever met, one of the safest climbers I know and an overall good human being,” said the president. “He was calm and humble, but when that smirk swept across his face, you just knew he was going to say something hilarious with his subtle, dry sense of humor,” MacArthur wrote.

“I am so sad to lose a good friend. The world has lost a really good human being. The club has lost a valuable member.


Virginia F. Goins