Woman dies after sliding 1,000 feet

Rescue » Her 14-year-old son and a friend were injured.
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A 49-year-old woman died and two 14-year-old boys were injured after falling Saturday during a hiking trip on Mount Olympus, police said.

Karin Vandenberg, of Olympus Cove, died after sliding at least a thousand feet down the mountain.

Her friend, Christine Holding, was stuck about two miles up the mountain for much of the day with a dog, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's spokesman Don Hutson, and was rescued by helicopter about 5 p.m.

Search-and-rescue teams brought down Vandenberg's body about 5:40 p.m.

The day started when Vandenberg and her 14-year-old son, Cole, as well as Holding, her husband Stephen and their 14-year-old son, Clayton, went on a hiking trip at about 7:45 a.m., Hutson said.

Stephen Holding's father is Earl Holding, billionaire owner of Sinclair Oil Corp., Little America Hotels, Snowbasin ski resort and Sun Valley resort.

At about noon, Vandenberg lost her footing and fell down a snow-covered chute near a ravine on the north side of the mountain. The boys tried to help her and also fell.

They suffered head injuries and broken bones, and were taken by ambulance to Primary Children's Medical Center, Hutson said.

Hutson called it "miraculous" the boys weren't injured more severely. They were listed in fair condition late Saturday, said Bonnie Midget, a spokeswoman for Primary Children's Medical Center.

Stephen Holding suffered no serious injuries.

Neighbor Bruce Mahoney talked on a cell phone with a frightened but apparently uninjured Holding as rescuers worked to reach her and the dog, a Labrador retriever named Crockett. "We were supposed to be there today but we decided not to go," Mahoney's 21-year-old son, Jeremy, said while waiting for news from rescuers.

Holding was escorted into an ambulance by rescue workers once she arrived on the ground in the parking lot of a church, which served as the command center for the search operation. She declined to speak to reporters at the scene.

Laurie Norseth, a friend of Vandenberg, said she was an avid runner and was in good physical shape.

Hutson called the group experienced hikers who had proper equipment and supplies with them for the hike.

"The whole group is familiar with this area. This is something they've done many times before," he said.

As temperatures rose through the day, it became more dangerous for rescuers because of the risk of avalanche, Hutson said. The group was about five miles up the mountain when the fall happened, he said. It's seven miles to the top of the mountain.

Friends and well-wishers waited at the base of Mount Olympus through the day for news from rescuers. A rescuer flown in by helicopter remained behind to walk the dog down the mountain.