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Hiker falls 1,000 feet to death, son hurt in Utah

A 49-year-old woman fell 1,000 feet to her death in a snow-filled ravine on Utah's Mount Olympus, authorities say. Her son and another youth were injured.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A 49-year-old woman hiker fell 1,000 feet to her death in a snow-filled ravine on Mount Olympus, authorities said Saturday.

Karin Vandenberg, her son Cole and another 14-year-old boy slipped into the ravine, Sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson said.

The two boys survived, but suffered head injuries and possible broken bones, he said. Rescuers recovered Vandenberg's body.

Both teenagers were at Primary Children's Medical Center in stable condition, Hutson said.

"It was just a horrible scenario, a bad deal," he said.

Two other members of the hiking party, Steve Holding and his wife, Christine, avoided falling and were safely evacuated, but their 14-year-old son, Clayton, was one of injured teenagers.

Holding is the son of billionaire Earl Holding, the owner of Sinclair Oil Corp., the Little and Grand America hotels, Sun Valley ski resort in Idaho and Utah's Snowbasin resort.

Authorities insisted on evacuating the hikers by helicopter because of the threat of avalanches in warming temperatures, Hutson said.

Mount Olympus is a steep, 9,026-foot mountain just east of Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Range, which has received heavy snowfall over the past two weeks.

The five hikers were ascending the mountain a few miles below the summit when Vandenberg and the two boys fell.

Hutson said some of the hikers had been using ski poles to steady themselves on the steep climb, but they didn't have ropes or crampons, which are metal spikes that clip onto boots to give traction on snow and ice.