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FALLING ROCK SERIOUSLY INJURES S.L. HIKER

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A Salt Lake female hiker who suffered head injuries Saturday afternoon when she was struck by a falling rock in Little Cottonwood Canyon was in serious, but stable condition in a Salt Lake hospital.

Karen Allen, 24, who was taken to the University Medical Center, planned an "easy" afternoon climb with friends Julie Tallman, Mike Gilbert and Drew Schembre, all of Salt Lake City. The hike started about two miles from the Gate Buttress at 12:30 p.m."The two guys are really experienced climbers . . . and she and I are both novices," Tallman said.

Gilbert headed the expedition with Allen and Schembre following immediately behind. Tallman was still on the ground watching the climbers reach the 150-foot mark.

About 20 feet above the climbing party, a separate group of hikers dislodged a rock that hit Allen in the head. "Nobody realized it at first," Schembre said. "But she slumped, and we could see blood."

Although Gilbert said he warned the other hikers to stop scattering rocks, more tumbled down.

Schembre and police do not believe, however, the hikers intentionally threw down rocks."I don't think they had any concept of what went on," Tallman said. "I don't think it was intentional."

With a three-inch cut and bruise on the head, Allen was dizzy and unable to walk. Gilbert yelled to Tallman to call for the ambulance, and the two men lowered her off a ledge.

When the Salt Lake County Search and Rescue Team arrived, they placed Allen on a stretcher and carried her down to where Salt Lake County deputies and Salt Lake County Fire paramedics were waiting.