On Friday, June 2, at approximately 2 pm, Devils Tower National Monument staff were alerted that a rock climber had been injured in a fall. Responding staff discovered the climber’s partners and local climbers in the process of lowering the injured climber to the ground. A physician accompanying the local ambulance determined that the climber was deceased.
The victim was identified as 39 year old Matthew Sorenson of Gillette, Wyoming. Sorenson was climbing with friends on the Sundance climbing route when he took a long fall, sustaining major head injuries after impacting the rock. Sorenson was wearing a helmet at the time of the fall.
The last climbing fatality at Devils Tower National Monument was in 2003. The incident is being investigated by National Park Service law enforcement and the Crook County medical examiner’s office. No further information is available at this time.
There are currently two climbing related closures in effect at Devils Tower. The first is the annual voluntary June closure, in effect for the entire month. This closure is part of an agreement reached during the development of the climbing management plan by a work group that included climbers and American Indian tribal representatives. Climbers are strongly encouraged to observe this closure. The second is a temporary closure to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Monument officials remind all climbers to check for information regarding route conditions, information and current closures at the climbing office, or climbing kiosk, before registering for their climb.
To learn more about Devils Tower National Monument visit www.nps.gov/deto or www.facebook.com/Devils-Tower-National-Monument-Official-NPS-Site or twitter.com@DevilsTowerNM or Instagram at #devilstowernps