For years, residents of Moab have claimed, on April 1, that the head of a serpent-shaped popular rock formation near Arches National Park had fallen off.
No April Fools this time: The head really is gone, most likely having tumbled off during recent thunderstorms.
“It’s sad and it’s unfortunate,” Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Megan Crandall told the Associated Press, adding that officials have kept in mind that “those same forces that made it eventually would contribute to its demise.”
Believed to have been formed about 245 million years ago, it was likely scaled by climbers for the first time in the 1990s, according to Outside Magazine. It was considered safe up until the recent storms that likely crashed it.
“It wasn’t like it was teetering or tottering or anything like that,” Crandall said.
Lisa Hathaway, a Moab climber, told The Salt Lake Tribune that many climbers were incredulous when the news broke, waiting for the punch line.
Still, “it was really a surprise to no one that that tower, at least the cap rock, was going to come off at some point in time,” she said.
The Cobra was popular among climbers because it was easy to get to and a manageable height at about 30-50 feet. (Plus, what climber doesn’t want a photo climbing a snake’s head?)