This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A 50-year-old Utah man died Friday in a canyoneering accident in Zion National Park.
Christian Louis Johnson, of St. George, was canyoneering with his husband and two others on Friday in Not Imlay Canyon when the accident occurred on the first rappel in the canyon, according to park officials.
Park officials have not released further details about the accident. They said they were alerted to the incident at about 1 p.m. on Friday, and park rangers found Johnson's body at about 7:20 p.m., according to a Saturday news release.
The canyon that the group was in is a side canyon of Imlay Canyon. Park officials said Not Imlay Canyon has become more popular in recent years because it is a short, drier route compared to Imlay Canyon but is not any less dangerous, they said.
Johnson's husband, Everett Boutillet, said they had been canyoneering together since 2010 and "descended more than 100 canyons 200 times in five states." It was their second time in Not Imlay Canyon.
"Zion was our favorite park," he said in a news release. "Our favorite place to be. Our first canyon was the Subway and we were instantly addicted. Louis and I understood the risks, but the joy that it brought outweighed them."
Johnson's mother, Joy Johnson, said in the news release that nature brought "so much peace" to her son. She expressed gratitude for the personnel that searched for her son, and to the "canyoneering family" who have supported Johnson and Boutillet.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office and Zion National Park are now investigating the accident, and expect to release more information once that investigation is complete.
On Sept. 14, seven people died in a Zion National Park canyon. They were caught in a flash flood while canyoneering Keyhole Canyon, a narrow slot canyon on the park's east side.