The body of an El Monte woman who disappeared while hiking alone on Mt. Baldy was recovered Sunday morning, ending a treacherous, weeklong search, officials said.

Lifei “Ada” Huang, 22, disappeared about two hours into a solo trek Feb. 4, just as the worst of last week’s historic storms hit Southern California, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department.

Lifei “Ada” Huang, 22, disappeared about two hours into a solo trek Feb. 4 on Mt. Baldy.

(Lifei Huang)

Huang was reported missing just before midnight; rescue crews went out to search for her around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 5. But “extreme” snowfall and avalanche risks stymied their efforts, officials said.

Three other hikers were rescued Feb. 7 after getting pinned down by the storms the day before on the Bear Canyon Trail.

“Resources are stretched to their limits, and hikers who get lost may have to wait long periods of time before help is available,” the Sheriff’s Department had warned.

Mt. Baldy has become one of the country’s deadliest destinations for hikers, racking up scores of rescues and almost a dozen deaths in recent years. The Sheriff’s Department has pushed to limit access to the peak.

But Huang was an experienced adventurer, her Instagram page shows.

She had recently hiked the Wave, a difficult and sometimes dangerous rock formation in the Arizona desert. She enjoyed beach camping in Santa Cruz, stargazing in Joshua Tree and snowboarding in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Friends posted notes to her page praying she would be home to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

On Saturday, the Sheriff’s Department got a tip that someone flying a drone may have spotted Huang’s body near the San Antonia Creek Falls.

High winds kept the air rescue team from searching the area until early Sunday, when medics located Huang’s remains.


Sonja Sharp

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