Ice climber recalled as advocate for public health |

Ice climber recalled as advocate for public health


Meghan Arnold was a doctoral student in public health at the University of Utah. She died on Saturday from injuries suffered in an ice-climbing accident in Provo Canyon. Courtesy of Jim VanDerslice

Eric Edwards remembers Meghan Arnold as an advocate for the public health system in the U.S. and abroad, someone who would travel to promote initiatives.

Edwards, who is the past president of the Utah Public Health Association, said Arnold visited underdeveloped countries as part of her efforts. She was "very bright and very dedicated," Edwards said.

Arnold, a Park City-area resident, on Saturday succumbed to injuries she suffered in an ice-climbing accident on Jan. 23 in Provo Canyon. She was 30 years old. Arnold died at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

She was a doctoral student in public health at the University of Utah and was the co-president of the student caucus of the Utah Public Health Association.

He said she assisted in the efforts to reach public-health students across Utah. She planned conferences and events for the association as well.

"She was a very caring individual that was very interested in heightening the health and well-being of the public," Edwards said.

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Arnold was climbing on a section of Bridal Veil Falls known as Stairway to Heaven in Provo Canyon. She was climbing with a man, also from the Park City area.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office said the two were 30 to 40 feet onto the ice. She fell the entire 30 to 40 feet and the man fell approximately 30 feet, the Sheriff’s Office said.

She was flown by a medical helicopter to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City in critical condition but was stable the morning after the accident, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The University of Utah said in a statement she suffered internal injuries, a head injury and spinal trauma. The man was also injured and taken by ambulance to a hospital in Provo with non-life-threatening injuries.

Stairway to Heaven is located between 900 and 1,200 feet down the canyon from the main flow of Bridal Veil Falls. The statement indicated Arnold was walking across a terrace covered with snow intending to put a top rope anchor on the ice on the lower section of the falls when the accident occurred.

Stephanie Croasdell, who served as co-president of the student caucus of the Utah Public Health Association with Arnold, said Arnold was working toward a doctorate in public health. Arnold was an advocate for clean drinking water and worked in Peru, Ghana and India, Croasdell said.

"She really recognized a need for that everywhere and that can really change your life," Croasdell said about clean drinking water.

Croasdell said Arnold grew up in the Chicago area and was a "huge outdoors person." She said she was a skier, a climber and an ice climber.

"I really learned what it meant to be both a passionate and compassionate leader," Croasdell said.

Arnold was a part-time ski instructor at Deer Valley Resort for nine years, Coleen Reardon, the resort’s director of marketing said, describing her as a "great employee" and a "really great part of the ski school family."

Jim VanDerslice, Arnold’s doctoral advisor in the University of Utah Division of Public Health, said the field of study could have led her to developing and implementing methods to improve water quality, perhaps in the not-for-profit sector.

"She was full of life, cared a lot about people," VanDerslice said.

A celebration of her life is scheduled on Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Silver Lake Lodge. The "Meghan Arnold’s Smile" fund was created at Key Bank. The funds will be put toward the benefit of the doctors and nurses who treated Arnold and to establish a scholarship for students who are studying public health globally. The scholarship will be in her name.

People may donate at Key Bank branches or through an electronic transfer with the routing number of 124000737. Checks may be sent to the Salt Lake City Key Bank. The address is:

Key Bank

290 South 1300 East

Salt Lake City, UT