Hiker dies after fall near Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Department of Public Safety helicopter. File photo: Gephardt Daily

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah, Oct. 4, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A hiker died after a fall near Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon Sunday evening.

Crews were wrapping up a rescue on Pipeline Trail in Millcreek when a report of an overdue hiker was received at approximately 8 p.m., said a Facebook post from Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue.

“A couple had gone hiking towards Lake Blanche with the goal of going to the top of the Sundial,” the post said. “They made it to the lake and continued up. One person in the party wasn’t feeling well, and turned back to the lake around 1 p.m., while the other hiker continued up.

“Around early evening, the person at the lake had not seen or heard from their partner, became concerned, and hiked out to get a cellphone signal to call for help.”

A SAR team was started up the trail, and Life Flight and Department of Public Safety helicopters were called to help.

“Unfortunately, due to high winds they weren’t able to insert more teams around the Sundial or stay still enough to search effectively,” the post said. “Due to the difficulty of searching the area above the lake in the dark, it was decided to send most members home for the night, and to restart the search at day break.”

The first ground team was to continue up overnight in order to go to a point where crews were able to ping their cell phone below the Sundial.

“In addition, we also keep a few team members at the incident command post in case new information was discovered or if team one needed assistance,” the post said. “Around 1 a.m., ground team one made it to the base of the Sundial and discovered the missing hiker deceased the the bottom of a large cliff.”

A second team was sent up the trail with additional food and water for team one.

The Department of Public Safety helicopter was called out in the morning and helped retrieve the hiker and bring them back to trailhead. All teams were off the mountain by 9 a.m.

The hiker has not been identified.

“Our condolences to the hikers companion and family. RIP,” the post added.


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