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Backcountry skier falls more than 100 feet off cliff

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Feb 4th, 2013 @ 10:54pm

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LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON — Crews rescued a backcountry skier Monday after he fell off a 100-foot cliff.

Robert Babbitt, 31, of Salt Lake City, was in critical condition Monday night but recovering well considering the height of the fall and the efforts it took to rescue him, police said.

Babbitt had been skiing with three friends when the accident occurred. It was unclear whether he'd slipped, taken a wrong turn or exactly how it happened, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.

Babbitt's companions said it was an accident, but they believe their friend will make a full recovery. 

When Babbitt went off the edge, two members of the four-person group trekked down to help the skier while another climbed up the ridge and called 911 about 1:30 p.m.

Rescue crews were eventually able to reach Babbitt in the Hogum Fork area near Tanner's Flat. A Life Flight helicopter used a hoist to pick him up and take him to a hospital.

Babbitt suffered leg and facial injuries, Hoyal said. He was conscious and talking with emergency personnel when he was transported.

"He is very lucky to have only sustained the injuries that he has," Hoyal said. 

Craig Gordan, an avalanche forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center, said the Hogum Fork area can be treacherous.

"There's a lot of steep terrain, lots of unforgiving terrain," Gordan said. "Either a miscalculation or a missed turn could wind up in a bad consequence situation."

Contributing: Jed Boal and Sandra Yi


Pat Reavy

KSL Weather Forecast