Gunshots fired at rock climbers in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 20:43:06-04

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah - Around 6:30 Monday night, Brandon Wilde and Nate Lamb went into Little Cottonwood Canyon for some rock climbing.

"We were climbing this route called 'Stifler’s Mom,'" Lamb said.

"We were about 250 feet up or so on the third pitch," Wilde said.  "Nate was climbing, I was belaying."

All of a sudden, they heard three or four gunshots.

"Kind of thought they were fireworks at first," Wilde said.

Thirty seconds later, they heard several more.

"I mean I could hear the bullets whistling past my head," Lamb said.

Up on the face of the mountain, Lamb was thinking the worst.

"I was just waiting to get hit you know?  When it's firing this close, five to ten feet from you, I was just waiting to get hit."

Bullets were ricocheting off trees and rocks, some of which started to fall.

"I’m just trying not to fall and I look down at Brandon and he was yelling 'we’re getting shot at,'" Lamb said.

It's not the kind of danger these climbers expected to face.

"There’s a lot of different things that can happen that are dangerous when you’re climbing but getting shot at isn’t really one that crosses your mind," Wilde said.

It's not the kind of shooting Unified Police Public Information Officer, Brian Lohrke, is used to hearing about.

"Very rare, very dangerous, very odd," Lohrke said.

Police aren’t sure what could be the motive and they don’t have much to go on in terms of finding the gunmen.  Lamb and Wilde didn’t see the gunmen, but Wilde did see a car speed away after the shots were fired.

"About a half mile on the other side of the road I saw a car parked over by the LDS vaults over on that road right there. There was a car parked facing us. I saw three people hop in a green sedan," Wilde said.

If caught, the gunmen could be facing serious charges.

"At the minimum, aggravated assault. Attempted aggravated assault. Unlawful discharge of a firearm," Lohrke said.

The experience won't keep Lamb and Wilde off the mountain, but they're anxious to get whoever's responsible off the streets.

"It’s kind of scary to think that there’s someone out there that’s willing to shoot people while they’re climbing," Wilde said.

That way they can continue climbing with some peace of mind.