Hiker dies in 200-foot plunge from a steep and dangerous trail, Utah officials say

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A group of hikers found a body near a trail after a man plunged 200 feet to his death, Utah officials said.

Andrew Acuff, a 26-year-old from Salt Lake City, died Sunday when he fell from a dangerous hiking trail, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The group of hikers found his body in a “steep scree field” hundreds of feet below the summit, according to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team.

“A party of hikers on the Cottonwood Traverse came across a fallen hiker on the east face of Dromedary Peak,” rescue officials said on Facebook. “The hiker had perished in the fall.”

Rescuers located the body and packed it to be hoisted from the area by helicopter, officials said.

Officials told KUTV that the man fell from an “extremely steep and rocky area,” the news outlet reported. He was climbing on the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup trail.

The hike is a 32.2-mile trail near Cottonwood Heights, a town about 20 minutes from Salt Lake City. It’s recommended for “very experienced adventurers,” according to hiking website All Trails.

“This is an EXTREME mountaineering route that requires high technical skills, support crews, and special gear/rock climbing knowledge,” hiking experts said on All Trails. “Please do NOT attempt if you have not trained and done further research into this route. There are many rescues yearly that strain local Search and Rescue resources and fatalities have occurred.”

Search and rescue officials have been concerned about the popularity of the trail, which gains nearly 16,000 feet in elevation. Hiking experts have said social media and more people looking for outdoor recreation could be leading more people to attempt the climb, KUTV reported.

The number of rescues has also increased along the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup trail, experts told news outlets.

“It’s not a hike at all. I think that’s where some people misunderstand what the WURL is,” Sam Jewkes, who hiked the trail, told Fox 13. “It’s really not a hike; it’s climbing. I mean, you’re on rocks the entire time.”

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