American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Overdue Climbers, Failure to Follow Route, Inexperience, Idaho, Mount Borah

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987


Idaho, Mount Borah

On May 26,1986, Glynda Miller (age unknown) and Geoff Lyons set out to climb Mount Borah. On May 27, Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue received a call from Don Miller to say that his ex-wife and her friend had gone either mountain climbing or caving and had not returned. Glynda Miller had left their daughter with a babysitter, but had not returned to pick up the child.

I learned Glynda Miller had been into climbing and caving since the first of the year. I know nothing of Geoff Lyons’ background. I also learned the two had been taking either a climbing or caving class at Boise State University and that they went climbing or caving almost every week end.

I got in touch with the instructor at the University who suggested they may have gone to Papoose Cave (west central Idaho) or to Mount Borah and that the two were planning to attempt a Mount McKinley climb, possibly in July.

Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue had a party on the mountain over that weekend so I got in touch with them to learn that on their way down they had seen a couple in their base camp around 0930 on May 26, getting ready for the climb. Our members noticed the “new” ice axes with price tags still on them.

As we prepared to get a team to go back to the mountain, Mr. Miller called to say the couple had called him from a place near the mountain. They were late getting up the mountain and took what they thought was a short cut back down. They traveled all night, “to avoid frostbite,” and got off the mountain at 0500.

The two said they were okay except that Miller was suffering from snow blindness. I saw the two about a week later. Glynda Miller was apparently all right although she said her eyes were still a little sore. They did not comment on their climb. (Source: Larry Novak, Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue)

(Editor’s Note: Of the many overdue climber reports received, most of which did not result in injury, this one illustrates what happens when no itinerary is filed with anyone. At least in this case if a search had been necessary, some clues were in place as to where the couple had started their climb.)

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