Robert L. Rutter
Troopers identify body of hiker
A man who died Monday near Eklutna Lake has been identified by Alaska State Troopers as 41-year-old Robert L. Rutter, who had been in the state a short time.
Troopers' spokesman Paul Edscorn said Rutter had recently moved here from Texas. His parents live in Kewadin, Mich.
Rutter was found dead in a ravine about three quarters of the way up the Twin Peaks trail, which is accessible from the Eklutna Lake Campground. Though reportedly in good shape, Rutter was known to have a heart condition and the exact cause of death has not yet been released.
An autopsy has been performed, but the results were not expected to be available until late this afternoon, Edscorn said.
Rutter and two companions went to hike the trail Monday afternoon, planning to return that evening. Eklutna Lake is about 26 miles northeast of Anchorage.
Dale Bingham, chief ranger of the north district of Chugach State Park, said he was notified late Monday night that the hiker was missing. He organized an all-night search party that involved several rangers, troopers, a trooper helicopter and about 20 volunteers from the Anchorage Search and Rescue Council, the Nordic Ski Club and Eklutna residents.
Aided by a bloodhound, rescuers discovered the body at the bottom of a ravine near the trail around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Bingham, who was up all night on the search, said ropes and litter were used to bring the body up to the top of the ravine and back to the campground.
The hiker's companions said that on the way back, Rutter split from them, searching for a game trail. They waited at the trailhead for him for about five hours then called for help. Bingham said he had been anticipating that some kind of emergency might happen, and had correspondingly alerted his rangers. "With the good weather, it was just a matter of time," he said.