Hiker falls off cliff, then crosses two canyons to get a signal and call for help

first aid kit for camping
The Idaho hiker sustained serious head injuries in the accident (Image credit: Getty)

A seriously injured hiker crossed two canyons on foot on Tuesday before he was able to find a signal and call mountain rescue for help. The unidentified male hiker reportedly fell of a cliff in western Idaho and was knocked unconscious for an unknown amount of time.

According to a Facebook post by the Idaho County Sheriff's Office, the following morning he set off on foot in search of help, despite a severe head injury and injuries to both ankles, one knee and one hip.

"He found his gear and his pack the next day and walked over two canyons to get to Indigo Lake, where he activated his SOS," writes the Sheriff's Office.

His SOS alert was received at around 12:00 p.m. and though Life Flight responded, they were unable to land due to poor weather conditions and difficult terrain. Rescue crews from various emergency units were able to deploy on foot and meet the injured party at the Slate Lake Trailhead more than six hours later. 

After locating the injured man, he had to walk for another four miles, which took five hours, before the crew were able to get him into a rescue vehicle. 

Backcountry hikers are advised to carry a satellite communicator such as the Garmin InReach, which will allow you to relay messages and signals via GPS, rather than cell service. They are more reliable than smartphones both in terms of their ability to remain operational in tough conditions and in terms of finding a signal to get your messages out.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.