LOCAL NEWS

Hiker with flip-flops grateful to be alive after fall at Bridal Veil Falls

Sep 20, 2022, 8:36 AM

PROVO, Utah — A man who fell more than 30 feet while climbing Bridal Veil Falls with flip-flops is recovering from a broken back and said he is grateful to be alive during an exclusive interview with KSL TV.

Justin Hill hiked up Bridal Veil Falls for the first time with a friend last year. Since then he’s returned many times because of the view, the beauty and the peace he feels there.

But on Sept. 8, his days of hiking up the falls came to an abrupt stop, at least temporarily.

He had just wrapped up a job interview and was feeling good. So he made an unexpected stop in Provo Canyon, threw on his sandals and started making his way up the waterfalls.

But when he got to the point he had been to so many times before, he decided to go higher to try and get an even better view. He said he had to climb up a small rock wall to get there.

After soaking up the beauty for a time, he struggled to know how to get back down and ultimately decided the best way would be the same way he climbed up. But it was not as easy.

“I can’t describe how it was,” Hill said. “Definitely terrifying. I didn’t know what was happening.”

He was falling. And he would continue to fall an estimated 30 to 40 feet before crashing onto his back, with part of his body on the edge of another drop.

“The only thing that stopped me from falling another 100 to 150 feet — people were telling me — was this little tree.”

The pain was agonizing. He said it hurt to move and it hurt to breathe. But somehow he managed to inch himself away from the edge and then call 911.

Fifteen minutes into the call he could hear the ambulance. Someone was coming to get him. But he said he was on the phone for an hour and a half before a helicopter picked him up and carried him to safety.

Hill thanked the dispatcher who waited with him on the phone.

“Justin, are you OK? I need you to talk to me. What do you see around you? I need you to stay with me,” he remembers her saying.

The next day, doctors performed surgery to fix two vertebrae on his back. He left the hospital one week later with two rods and six screws in his back.

Monday was his first time back at the falls since the incident. He returned to the base with his wife and a cane to keep him from falling.

“Memories came back,” he said. “Both good and bad memories.”

And it hit him that he had almost died there. But, he said this would not be his last time back.

With a smile, he said he “definitely learned my lesson not to hike in flip-flops.”

“I definitely feel like someone higher above has bigger plans for me and didn’t think it was my time to go.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Cottonwood High lines up for a free kick following a fair catch against Jordan High. (KSL Sports)...
Andrew Adams

Coach, kicker & official reflect on Cottonwood High’s rare, game-winning play

Cottonwood defeated Jordan High after the Colts attempted and converted a free kick for three points with 12 seconds left following a fair catch on a punt.
2 months ago
...
Karah Brackin

Utah Veterans head to Washington D.C. for ‘trip of a lifetime’

75 veterans left Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning.
2 months ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
2 months ago
Yvette Rodier, shooting survivor...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

LETTER PODCAST: Victim says bullet wounds were easiest part of recovery

When Yvette Rodier woke up in a hospital, she knew, even before anyone told her, that her friend, Zachary Snarr, was dead.
2 months ago
Housing construction....
Ladd Egan

Unaffordable Utah: Mortgage rates climb again as buyers look for price reductions

Utah's housing market is whiplashing as last year's buying frenzy seems to have slowed down to signs of a recession.
2 months ago
FILE...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest, most secure password in the history of cybersecurity, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Hiker with flip-flops grateful to be alive after fall at Bridal Veil Falls