Climber falls to his death on excursion with friends, girlfriend in Utah canyon

Matt Hearn

(KUTV) Tragedy struck at a popular climbing spot in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Thursday as a climber fell to his death in front of his girlfriend and friends. Matt Hearn, who happens to be a member of the KUTV family, was climbing when he fell 100. According to investigators his gear somehow failed him.

It happened on Thursday night in the Storm Mountain area in Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is popular with climbers. Some had a difficult time hearing the news.

"It makes me very emotional. I had a friend in college that had a 40-foot fall, and was paralyzed. It's terrible. It's terrible to hear about,” said Dan Robinson who has been climbing in the Storm Mountain area for 20 years. "It doesn't matter what the sport is whether it's biking or climbing or any other sport there are dangers in everything."

The news of Hearn’s death especially hit hard to the East High School Lacrosse team where Hearn was the offensive coordinator for the varsity team.

“I couldn't believe it,” said head coach Pete Idstrom. “He was fun he was competitive he lifted our entire program just by his presence.”

Team members tell 2News that Hearn had an incredible way of connecting with them and making them better players.

“I always remember him as a friend more than a great coach,” said player Jack Ritter.

“There was a very clear difference as to when Hearn was there and when he wasn’t there,” said player Will Gleave.

Hearn, who played Lacrosse at Westminster College, had only been with the varsity team for one season when he was awarded the Assistant Coach of the year for Lacrosse in the state of Utah.

“He’s been around for one year, but people could see the impact that he’s had on our program,” said Idstrom.

It’s also a very emotional and difficult day at KUTV where Hearn worked as a marketing consultant for more than three years.

“He was so good as a person and as a member of our staff. These people loved him. They loved him. It’s a very sad day,” said Doug Beck, KUTV’s general sales manager.

“He’s a dream person in that you would want your daughter to marry him. You would want him to be your best friend. Lucky enough to have him as a co-worker, so wonderful,” said KUTV’s executive assistant Sue Odette.

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