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

Sep 20, 2022, 8:36 AM | Updated: Nov 2, 2022, 3:37 pm

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

Local News

[File] Utah Highway Patrol State Trooper car (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)...

Larry D. Curtis

Child struck, critically injured by tractor near Coalville

A tractor hit a 5-year-old boy who darted into the road, critically injuring the child.

10 months ago

(FILE) Police vehicles are parked outside the South Jordan Police Department on Friday, April 24, 2...

Michael Houck

Police: Three teens hospitalized after crashing into wall in South Jordan

Three teenagers were injured after crashing into a concrete wall Tuesday morning, police say.

10 months ago

Elephants Zuri and Christie will be transferred from Utah's Hogle Zoo to another accredited facilti...

Josh Ellis

Elephants leaving Utah’s Hogle Zoo after more than 100 years of care

Utah's Hogle Zoo elephants Christie and Zuri will be transferred to another accredited zoo, ending the zoo's continuous care of elephants after more than 100 years.

10 months ago

The town of Hideout wants to annex hundreds of acres from Summit County and Wasatch County, includi...

Michael Houck

Landowners in-between Hideout and Kamas file for township

A group of Summit County landowners filed to incorporate as a new town called West Hills Tuesday.

10 months ago

(Chopper 5)...

Debbie Worthen

Residents meet with Draper leaders to find out what’s next for neighborhood after landslide

Dozens of Suncrest residents met with Draper city leaders for a town hall-style meeting two weeks after the ground below two homes collapsed and sent them sliding down the mountainside.

10 months ago

Flooding temporarily closed state Route 39 in Ogden Canyon Tuesday morning. (Utah Department of Pub...

Josh Ellis

Utah roads, parks close due to flooding and high runoff levels

Several roads were closed due to flooding Tuesday morning, and warm temperatures will keep rivers and creeks running high throughout the day.

10 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

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: Take this Quiz 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.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...

Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...

Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.

notebook with password notes highlighted...

PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.

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