Search and rescue teams scour Mt. Timpanogos for missing Orem hiker

UTAH COUNTY -- The Utah County Sheriff's Office diligently searched Mt. Timpanogos Friday for a hiker who went missing more than a week ago.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff's Office said they think Jake Routt went hiking in very rugged and dangerous terrain, in an area that family said Routt has hiked before.

"He was pretty confident," said Matt Routt, one of Jake Routt's brothers. "He has no problem going up there."

Routt is well-known in the fitness community, and also known to go off the trail in steep territory alone. His family said Routt sometimes spends several days in the wilderness.

"He likes the extreme climbing, free climbing. He didn't use equipment," Matt Routt said.

He said they filed a missing person's report this week, after no one had heard from Routt since September 15 and after concerns arose that something may have happened on his hike.

Sergeant Cannon said Routt last texted a friend that he was going hiking, and would call her afterward.

Sheriff's deputies found Routt's car in the Mt. Timpanogos/Stewart Falls trail head parking lot, Cannon said, while running license plates of parked vehicles through their system.

They launched a search from the air and ground Thursday. Cannon said ground crews climbed cliffs and repelled to hard-to-reach areas.

"It's steep terrain, it's risky," Cannon said. "There's cliffs, there's a lot of heavy underbrush, growth there that makes it difficult to get through the areas."

The DPS helicopter flew for several hours, he said. At one point, they found Routt's backpack. However they found no other sign of Routt.

"We thought for sure after two days, plus finding some evidence, that we'd definitely-- someone would find him by now," Matt Routt said.

On Friday around 8 p.m, crews called the search off for the night. They planned to pick up on Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

Family said people are traveling from out-of-state to help, and that Routt had a wealth of friends who are showing their support and concern.

Matt Routt said they're hopeful, but at the same time, they're prepared for the worst outcome.

"We're optimistic," he said. "But we're pretty sure it's more of a recovery, than a rescue."