Solo Climber Rescued after Triggering Avalanche on Tallest Mountain in Idaho

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borah, mount borah, avalanche, Idaho
A helicopter crew was called to rescue a man who fell while climbing Mount Borah. Credit: Custer County Search and Rescue

A Pennsylvania man was rescued early Sunday morning after falling on Idaho’s tallest mountain and triggering a small avalanche, reports the East Idaho News.

Hao Yan, 23, was hiking up the north face of Mount Borah when he fell Saturday evening, according to a news release from Custer County Search and Rescue. Mount Borah summits at 12,657 feet and climbers come from all over the world to climb the mountain. Partially buried in snow, Yan managed to call 911 from his cell phone at around 9:30 pm and said he needed help.

“The most the emergency dispatcher could receive was Yan had fallen, he could not move, he was lying in the snow, covered by a blue blanket and he was very cold,” the news release says. “He relayed he was at approximately 11,500 feet, just below the north face access routes, only 700 feet below the northeast ridgeline.”

It would take at least six hours in daylight for a rescue team to climb to Yan’s location, according to officials, so Custer County Search and Rescue called for the Two Bear Air Rescue helicopter team from Kalispell, Montana.

borah, mount borah, avalanche, Idaho
Mount Borah is Idaho’s tallest mountain. Credit: Custer County Search and Rescue

The helicopter arrived at Mount Borah around 1:50 a.m. and spotted Yan in a snowfield at the base of the north face around 2 am. Within 30 minutes, officials say Yan was onboard the helicopter and then flown to an ambulance waiting at Smith Ranch. Yan was taken to the Lost River Medical Center and flown by air ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where he was treated for severe hypothermia.

Yan told officials he was climbing alone when he fell and injured his back around 6:30 pm. He triggered a small avalanche with his fall and was partially buried in the snow slide. He remained in the snow for approximately nine hours until rescuers reached him.


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