A 28-year-old Wyoming woman tragically died while hiking with her husband after she fell more than 200 feet from a mountain cliff, authorities said. Calli Aust, 28, died shortly before 6 am, when she was going for a sunrise hike and suddenly fell to her death. Her husband was the first to inform police.
However, her husband is unsure how she fell as he lost track of her during the hike and could not reach out to her because of poor cell phone service. Police has launched an investigation and so far believe that it was an accident and no foul play was involved.
Aust was on a planned hike with her husband to see the sunrise from the top of Steamboat Point when she fell more than 200 feet. The Sheridan County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that Aust's husband called 911 around 6 pm to report that she had fallen from Steamboat Point in the Bighorn Mountains. The statement said Aust's husband was unsure where she was when he called her on her cellphone.
Steamboat Point is an abandoned fire lookout located in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains, the Sheridan Press reported. AFAR magazine considers the spot to be the "most frequently photographed natural attraction in the mountains."
Aust's body was located on the southwest side of Steamboat Point at 7:15 am the same day and was recovered shortly after. It is not clear how and when exactly Aust fell. Police believe that she may have slipped or simply tripped and lost balance and fell from the mountain. The sheriff's office said that there were "no indications of foul play" and her death is being considered accidental.
Police also noted that "due to poor cellphone service, the exact location of the victim was unknown at the time of the 911 call."
Family, Friends in Shock
Although it looks like an accident as of now, the Sheridan County Coroner's Office is also conducting a concurrent investigation, according to the press release. In the wake of the tragedy, Bighorn National Forest's Public Affairs Officer Sara Kirol urged people to be careful when hiking, especially at high, steep locations like Steamboat Point, which she said has no safety measures in place.
"It is not a safe barrier, but merely a remnant of the lookout tower," Kirol told The Sheridan Press. "Cliff edges are unstable and there are a lot of loose rocks on the top of these high places," Kirol told the Press. "Standing or sitting near or on the edge of cliff faces is very risky, no matter the location."
Aust's family and friends are shock after the freak accident. They remembered Aust as a kind-hearted person, who love adventure and hiking. However, they never imagined that her passion would one day take her life.