Rock climbers survive gunfire


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It wasn’t the kind of afternoon two rock climbers were expecting.

Brandon Wilde and Nate Lamb of Draper were climbing the granite rock in the Pentapitch area of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  The area is just east of what’s known as the LDS Granite Vault.

As they were climbing the thought they heard fireworks.  But then it got closer.

“You hear the shots firing by you, you know shoosh, shoosh, shoosh,” said Nate Lamb.  “And it’s just hitting the rock and it’s shattering the granite you know.”

That’s when he and Wilde looked for cover.

“I could hear bullets probably ricocheting 15-to 20 feet above me close to where Nate was climbing,” Wilde said.

It was about 6:30 p.m. when they ducked for cover.

“Just trying to hang on,” Lamb said.  “I was in a bad spot.”

Lamb said he was exposed on the rock as bullets came in his direction.

“I was waiting to get hit,” he said.  “There was about 7 or 8 of them (bullets). I was just chilling there and waiting.  I thought I was going to get hit.  There were bullets to my left, below me, above me.”

But he didn’t get hit.  After about 14-shots, it turned quiet. They looked below where the gunfire came from.

“I just saw two or three people hop into a green sedan and speed off and they were already facing the road,” Wilde said.  “So they were just ready to bail.”

Unified Police scanned the parking lot where the suspects were spotted and found several gun casings but little else.

As for Wilde and Lamb, both said this won’t stop their passion for climbing.

“When you’re climbing there’s risks involved but being shot is never on your mind,” Wilde said.

Unified Police said the parking area where the bullet casings were found is at 5267 E. Little Cottonwood Rd.  It is almost directly across the canyon from where one group was climbing, according to a police statement.

The Unified Police Department is asking for the public’s help in reporting any suspicious activity that may have been seen or heard in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the night of August 28. Anyone with information is asked to call 801-743-7000. As always, callers may remain anonymous.

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