Fatal climbing accident near Moab is heartbreaking for local hockey community

Nov 14, 2022, 6:22 PM | Updated: 8:23 pm

MOAB, Utah — There is shock and heartbreak in the Utah hockey community after prominent player Emmalynn Herbstritt lost her life in a climbing accident in Moab.

Herbstritt, 21, was found Saturday near Morning Glory Arch in the area of a hiking trail in the Moab area. Investigators still trying to figure out what went wrong.

According to a former coach and his wife and a teammate KSL spoke to on Monday, Herbstritt was a hard-hitting, fierce competitor, but had a calm and sweetness about her off the ice.

“I think about her on the ice, you just didn’t want to be playing against her,” Gina Capps said to KSL TV. Her husband coached Herbstritt while she played for East High School.

Eric Capps said she had no fear on the ice, going head to head with the boys.

“Emmalynn would just lay him out, ‘Oh no it’s on,” Eric Capps said when talking about one check she had with a boy. “She was kind to everybody.”

“I’m a goalie and you are suppose to protect your goalie. I always felt so safe around her. and off the ice she was such a sweetheart and so kind,” former Lady Grizzlies teammate Macey Tilk said.“So she would go from like super tough to like you could just talk to her about anything, Emmalynn was a total sweetheart so it’s really heartbreaking.”

Emmalynn Herbstritt in hockey action in an undated photo. (Courtesy Gina Capps)

At one point Herbstritt was considered one of the best female players in the state, going on to play in college.

“Never thought I would hear something like this about Emmalynn. Emmalynn was just that person that was there for others she was always the one you could count on it doesn’t seem real,” Gina Capps said.

Family and friends are still trying to figure out exactly what went wrong in the climbing accident. But they say she took a job in the summer as a river guide in Moab and just loved it. They said it was a life cut way too short but a legacy that will continue to live on.

“She was a servant in her community. she was a servant in her church; she was a spiritual person,” Gina Capps said.

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Fatal climbing accident near Moab is heartbreaking for local hockey community