Woman dies, teens injured in 1,000-foot fall at Mt. Olympus

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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- A 49-year-old woman fell about 1,000 feet to her death down a snow-filled ravine at Mount Olympus on Saturday. Two teens who tried to help her are injured but are expected to recover.

The woman is identified as Karin Vandenberg of Salt Lake County. Her son and another 14-year-old boy, who is the son of Stephen and Christine Holding and grandson of hotel and ski resort owner Earl Holding, also slipped in the same ravine and suffered head trauma and possible broken bones.

According to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, Karin Vandenberg slipped and fell. The boys tried to help, but the three tumbled at least 1,000 feet down the mountain. Vandenberg died at the scene. The boys were hurt but alive.

"It's almost miraculous that they didn't suffer more serious injuries than they did," said Lt. Don Hutson of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Stephen and Christine Holding were with the group and immediately called for help on their cell phones.

As a rescue helicopter began circling, friends of the group, who knew they were in that area, started to worry.

Family friend David Faber said, "My wife called Christine who's up on top of the mountain, and she said there had been an accident."

The boys were the first to be flown off the mountain. They were taken to Primary Children's Medical Center in stable condition with head injuries and possible broken bones.

The Holdings were able to walk off the mountain but officials worried that wasn't safe, so they airlifted them.

Hutson said, "Unfortunately in this particular circumstance, as the day progresses and the temperature has risen, the avalanche danger on this mountain, particularly on the north face, is extremely high. So it's very dangerous for them to be traipsing through the snow trying to get off the mountain themselves."

Faber said, "Last summer we went up and climbed to the top. It's a familiar route to them and they've done it a lot. So I'm kind of surprised that they would have any trouble."

The Holdings were hoisted individually down from the mountain by rescue workers on dangling ropes. Crews also hoisted down other hikers and walked down the Holdings' dog.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com


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