Woman Falls to Her Death During Sunrise Hike With Husband at Wyoming's Bighorn National Forest

Calli Aust, 28, fell to her death at Wyoming's Big National Forest.

There were “no indications of foul play” and her death is being considered accidental, according to the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office.

A 28-year-old Wyoming woman fell 200 feet to her death while on a planned sunrise hike with her husband at Bighorn National Forest.

On June 15, Calli Aust and her husband were on their way to watch the sunrise when the tragedy took place. The Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office said that the couple had hiked to the top of Steamboat Point when the young woman fell.

Shortly after 5:50 a.m., the sheriff’s office responded to a call from Calli’s husband. He was unsure where his wife had fallen and was unable to retrieve the location due to poor cellphone service, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office worked alongside Sheridan County Search and Rescue, Dayton Fire-Rescue, Rocky Mountain Ambulance, Sheridan Fire-Rescue, and Wyoming Highway Patrol. A Life flight was also requested to launch, the release said.

At around 6:30 a.m., emergency personnel began to search for the victim, and 45 minutes later the young woman’s body was located at the base of the southwest side of the Steamboat Point. Bighorn National Forest Service arrived to assist the responding agencies in the recovery efforts.

There were “no indications of foul play” and her death is being considered accidental, according to the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation is being led by the sheriff's office with help from the Wyoming Highway Patrol and Bighorn National Forest Service Law Enforcement. The Sheridan County Coroner's Office is also conducting an investigation, the release said.

Bighorn National Forest Public Affairs Officer Sara Kirol told The Sheridan Press that Steamboat Point is an abandoned fire lookout in the BNF and “not a safe barrier, but merely a remnant of the lookout tower.” 

There are no safety measures specifically at Steamboat Point, which is typical for all the high, steep locations and underdeveloped sites in the forest, Kirol explained, according to the Press.

“Cliff edges are unstable and there are a lot of loose rocks on the top of these high places," Kirol said. "Standing or sitting near or on the edge of cliff faces is very risky, no matter the location."

In her obituary, Aust was described as a “loving wife who dearly adored her husband.”

After attending the University of Wyoming she followed in her mother’s path to become a nurse. She was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nursing. After her graduation, she joined a ministry group called The Navigators and traveled on several missions. 

“Mentoring and discipling young women was a foundational priority in Calli’s life. She was always on the side of the underdog and served on the board of Bought Beautifully, a fair trade artisan marketplace that transforms lives with every purchase,” her obituary reads.

“One of Calli's greatest joys was being a sister. It was a high priority for her to be part of her siblings lives. She was also a loyal friend. She valued truth and was unafraid to speak it," the obituary said. "She exuded wisdom and sharpened those around her. Her words brought many people comfort."

A Celebration of Life for Calli Aust will be held on Wednesday. To honor her life, memorial contributions may be made at www.boughtbeautifully.org, a ministry, family member said “close to Calli’s heart.”

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