A 65-year-old motorcyclist who went missing in Maple Canyon on Sunday evening was found dead Monday, according to Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Blake Dean Baxter rode up Maple Canyon at about 2 p.m Sunday, then later reached out to family around 8 p.m. asking for help, authorities said. A cold front and snow had blown into the mountains where he was riding outside of Mapleton.
At about 3 a.m. Monday, the sheriff’s office found Baxter’s motorcycle, helmet and riding gear at an altitude of about 8,200 feet. But the search for Baxter was called off at about 4 a.m. due to whiteout conditions, authorities said.
Baxter’s body was later found at about 12:30 p.m. Monday about a mile away from where his motorcycle and gear had been located, police said.
“He got stuck in the snow,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Spencer Cannon said. Hypothermia and a medical condition may have been factors in Baxter’s death, Cannon added Monday evening, but authorities continue to investigate.
Sam Webber, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said most of the state experienced winds between 15 and 30 mph Sunday afternoon. He noted that the region saw about an average of about 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow.
In Maple Canyon, he said, “I would not be surprised if it was windy up there.” On Monday, the weather service reported drier conditions with a few showers in and around Mapleton.
Approximately 55 public safety personnel — including a Utah National Guard helicopter and officials riding horses — assisted in the search to help find Baxter.
Cannon noted that footprints had been hard to track in the area because of the recent snowfall and rugged terrain.
Baxter lived in Hobble Creek Canyon. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office on Monday shared its “sincerest condolences” to his family and friends.