Utah man dies in Wyoming rock climbing accident

Veteran climber fell when block he was standing on gave way.
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A 25-year-old Salt Lake City man fell to his death while rock climbing in a rugged area of northwest Wyoming.

Kevin Alexander Volkening was climbing with a group of friends in the Crandall area Friday evening when he fell about 50 feet onto a rock surface, according to Lance Mathess with the Park County Sheriff's Office.

Dispatchers received a call about 6 p.m. and rescue crews arrived about an hour later to find Volkening unresponsive. He was pronounced dead shortly after that and his body was removed from the area Saturday morning.

Mathess says friends and family described Volkening as a "veteran climber" with nearly 10 years of experience.

Kolin Powick, director of quality at Black Diamond, worked with Volkening for about a year and a half.

"We are all in shock at this devastating loss," Powick said in a statement.

Powick described how a block Volkening was standing on gave away, causing him to fall. He was also wearing a helmet.

Powick added that they will miss his infectious smile, his hideous "Spirit Shirt Fridays" and his "super stoked" attitude.

"Kevin was always smiling, always willing to help out in any way with any project, and always … ALWAYS psyched to climb," Powick said in the statement. "… From rock and ice in the Western U.S., alpine in Alaska, local bouldering and training at the gym — Kevin was a climber."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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