Crabtree Falls claims another casualty

A 21-year-old man became the 27th fatality at the popular Nelson County waterfall on November 22. Elias Lehman of Dayton, Virginia, slipped and fell 300 feet when he went past the barricade at the top to take photographs, reports the News Virginian.

He was alive, but unresponsive as friends carried him down the trail, which took three-and-a-half hours. On the way, he stopped breathing and efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

In August, 61-year-old Charles Shillito died at Crabtree Falls in what authorities believe was a suicide.

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Ahh I recall so well a winters trip up the mountain on business and seeing the icy wonder of the falls. It was a awe inspiring event. Wish folks could be more careful in enjoying the wonder of it all

What would you do to prevent the next death? Erect bigger, more emphatic signage? Build higher, longer, tighter fencing? Would you totally eliminate access? Should the many suffer because of the mistakes of a few? As a sage mentor told me long ago, "You can't protect people from themselves." another mentor also told me "Locks keep out only the honest." I would add to that, "Warning signs and fences are only honored by survivors."

Crabtree Falls is one of the deadliest waterfalls in America, it should be renamed Crabtree Deathfall. While some of the deaths there can be attributed to suicide most of them weren't. The USFS needs to analyze the danger zones and erect safety nets and other devices that will save lives. Many people respond to this suggestion with derision but the bottom line is that the USFS needs to recognize that this waterfall is going to continue to take more lives unless they do something more to prevent that from happening. If there are people who stray off the trails to take a picture or see a better view or get to a water pool and then fall to their deaths, that unwise decision shouldn't then be a reason for distant onlookers to say, "oh well, they should have stayed on the trail" as they callously blame the victim. Folks this place is dangerous. We need to respect that this place is deadly, has taken many lives and will continue to do so unless the USFS recognizes that it has an affirmative responsibility to protect public safety beyond signage.

read the f****** manual

You won't slip on moss if you don't get too close to the edge. I am sorry to hear about this young mans death but people do not heed common sense or notices to not get too close or cross barriers. No photo is worth your life! My condolences to his family and the friends who lived through this trauma at his side.

God bless that young man.In 1990 I moved here and was taken to
Crabtree fall and fell in love with it ,but as we walked I sliped
on moss and was grabed by the arm and stoped from going over.Thank my buddys quick hands or you'd be saying # 28.

TVann: I think your condolences are negated by the first part of your post. Not helpful or consoling eh?

There are barriers there where the trail gets steep and close to the falls, and the sign at the bottom of the trail says very clearly 'the rocks are dangerous, people have died, stay on the trail and off of the rocks.' It even says how many people have died falling down the falls. So, yeah, it's tragic but this guy wasn't really using any common sense.

Crabtree Falls would be a good subject for a horror movie/documentary, that place is so deadly it is spooky.

ANY loss of life is tragic regardless of the reasons or cause. I'm sure God wont be so cruel as to judge this young man because he made a stupid mistake. But I am sure that God will offer his loved ones strength and compasssion during rough times ahead. Maybge we all need to learn that lesson.