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January 22, 2022

Hiker dies Sunday near Lake Blanche in Salt Lake County

Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon is seen in this undated file photo. A hiker died near Sundial Peak above the lake on Oct. 3. (Mariel Reimann)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A hiker died Sunday after becoming separated from their partner near Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

A couple had gone hiking in the canyon with the goal of reaching the top of Sundial Peak, which is directly above Lake Blanche, according to a Facebook post from Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue. The couple made it to the lake and continued hiking up toward the peak.

About 1 p.m. Sunday, one of the people wasn’t feeling well and turned back to go to the lake. In early evening, the person who went back to the lake hadn’t heard from their partner and became concerned, so they hiked out of the area to get a cell phone signal to call for help.

A search and rescue team, as well as two rescue helicopters, responded to the scene on Sunday evening, but most of the search team members and the helicopter stopped for the night due to high winds and the difficulty of searching the area in the dark.

One team continued searching overnight and reached the base of Sundial Peak about 1 a.m., where they discovered the missing hiker dead at the base of a cliff. The sheriff’s office did not say how the person died.

A Utah Department of Safety helicopter returned to the area on Monday morning and hoisted the hiker back to the trailhead. The hiker was not identified.

“Our condolences to the hiker’s companion and family,” the Facebook post said.

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