A male climber, missing since Friday, was found dead Monday in the Santa Rita Mountains hanging from his climbing ropes and covered in bee stings. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Sheriff’s deputies went to search the site after Steven Johnson, 55, failed to show up for work. Johnson’s dog was also found dead and covered with bee stings at the top of the cliff from which Johnson had rapelled.
The cause of death is still uncertain, but an autopsy will be conducted by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office. Santa Cruz County’s Lt. Raoul Rodriguez believes that Johnson may have disturbed a bees’ nest while hammering his ropes into the cliff.
Johnson was an experienced climber from Tucson and well known in the Southwestern Arizona region.