Climbers are mourning the loss of an iconic rock formation in the Fisher Towers area outside of Moab after the sandstone column toppled over on Thursday.
The 40-foot-tall tower known as "the Cobra" fell following a stormy week in eastern Utah.
Local climber and Operations Manager at Moab Cliffs and Canyons, Evan Clapper, called the geologic structure of the Cobra improbable.
“Probably it fell because it was so top heavy; it had a really skinny neck and it did look like a standing cobra with a hood flared out,” Clapper said. “[It] was in such a unique, special location that it was something that even non-climbers could appreciate the uniqueness of.”
What, if anything specifically, caused the Cobra to lose its head is unclear. One climber has suggested lightning from a recent storm hit the tower. The decapitation has also re-sparked debate amongst those in the climbing community as to whether climbing such delicate structures accelerates erosion and destruction of the mesmerizing stone features.
Clapper said that though those in the climbing community are sad the Cobra collapsed, most Moab residents realize the rock formations in the region are only temporary.
“I think everyone is kind of in tune that it’s…the cycles of life, no one expects any of these formations that we’re all so fond of to last forever.”
It has been reported that no climbers were on the structure at the time of its collapse.