The troop was out Monday afternoon at Gray Cliffs area of American Fork Canyon, located about a mile past the Timpanogos Cave entrance on the north side of State Road 93, when the accident occurred.
Shawn Cox is an expert climber. A former troop leader himself, he was asked to come along and help teach the Varsity Boy Scout troop how to rock climb during their adventure camp. It was only the first day of their week-long camp when the accident happened.
The Utah County Sheriff's Office says Cox was up on the top of the cliff, about 40 feet high, when something happened. Troop leaders say Cox was climbing lead and putting up a bolt that the boys could climb from when he slipped and fell. The person on the bottom of the cliff tried to stop Cox’s fall but was unsuccessful.
One of the boys recalls what happened. Aaron Frei said, “We were sitting there while he was climbing up there to get everything set up and all the sudden we heard him slip and he fell landing pretty hard on his head.”
That’s when the boys jumped into action putting to test the emergency skills they’ve learned in the scouts.
“We started trying to get our first aid kids and stuff and just tried to do as much as we could to help,” said Frei. “We just checked to see if he was alive and then see where he was bleeding to see if we could patch it up.”
Frei’s parents were surprised to hear about the accident, but not so much about how the boy’s reacted.
“It’s that kind of training, not only to respond to emergency situations, but be leaders in life and stand for the values the Boy Scouts teach,” said Jared Frei.
Kristi Frei said, “It almost doesn’t surprise me they reacted the way they did because they have such good leaders as role models.”