Saturday, August 16, 2014

Climbing Mount Borah, Idaho's Tallest Peak

Climbing Mount Borah
The Stairway to Heaven or As Close As You Can Get to it in Idaho

Ben has been after me to hike Mount Borah this summer. We made it to the top of Leatherman, Idaho's second tallest peak, last month and he wanted to bag Borah before school began. Last week, we packed the car and drove to the campground at the trail head to Borah. Since Borah is officially the highest peak in Idaho, it is a destination climb for many. The campground was packed the Friday we arrived. Every camp was taken and every possible place to park was taken. The site was a happening place. We drove back to the highway to take advantage of the evening light for making photographs.  After dark we drove back to the campground. There were a few places along the road to pull off before reaching the main camp area. We found a good place to bed down for the night and went to sleep. Here are some of the images made the night before the climb.

mount borah Idaho
Mount Borah on the Left
mount borah Idaho
Changing Light

mount borah Idaho
Highway 93 and Dickey Peak North of Borah

mount borah Idaho
Dickey Peak and Doublespring Pass North of Borah


mount borah Idaho
Mount Borah on the Right

mount borah Idaho
Mount Borah on the Left
Mount Idaho is the pyramid shape peak between Borah and Morrison
 The next morning we were on the trail by 7:A.M. The best thing about this climb is the excellent well traveled trail. After bushwhacking all summer, the trail was a vacation. We made quick work of the trail leading to the east ridge of the cirque. Once the ridge is gained, the fun begins. Hiking the ridge around and up, you can see the massive ridge, the infamous Chicken Out Ridge, and snow field ahead.

mount borah Idaho
Looking down on the East Ridge
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Trail Leading to Chicken Out Ridge and the Snow Field
Mount Idaho is in the Distance
 After climbing to the ridge, some solid class 3 climbing is required. However, there is a bypass trail that skirts the steepest and longest sections of the ridge for those less inclined to climb up and over narrow twenty-foot rock obstacles with not much other than air on both sides for a couple thousand feet down. The group coming right behind us took one look at the ridge and took the bypass trail. Ben saw the ridge and took to it like a monkey. He plowed into it going right up and over. I had to slow him down for my benefit!

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Chicken Out Ridge
Chicken Out Ridge
climbing mount norah
Chicken Out Ridge
After crossing and climbing down Chicken Out Ridge the narrow ridge of the snow field is next. I remembered crossing this obstacle on a previous climb of Borah in mid April. In April, it is still winter at 12,000 plus feet. I remembered crossing this slippery narrow ridge with heavy wind gusts and seeing a slide of snow on both sides for several thousand feet. During this August climb, the ridge was anticlimactic. It was all but melted and a solid trail of rocks was worn across the top. The slopes were not nearly as steep as I remembered them. I am including a few photos of that April climb years ago for fun.

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Camping on the Saddle of the East Ridge
The huge snow cornices were impressive
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Preparing to Ascend to Chicken Out Ridge

climbing mount norah
Climbing Chicken Out Ridge
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On Top of Borah
Back to the August climb. The views of the surrounding area are incredible during the hike. I am including a few here.

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View from Mount Borah Looking South
The Borah Peak is in the foreground, Leatherman Pass can be seen in the distance with Leatherman just south of the pass
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Leatherman, Leatherman Pass, White Cap Peak, Peak 11,000 something, and Mount Idaho
Sacajawea is in the foreground
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Sacajawea Just South of Borah
Mount Idaho and Morrison
Once past the snow field, the trail leads to the top of Borah.

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Borah Peak in the Distance
The Stairway to Heaven
or
As Close as You Can Get to it in Idaho
climbing mount norah
View From the Top of Borah
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Ben and Rueban on Top of Borah
climbing mount norah
Ben and Rueban on Top of Borah
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Checking Out the Register
Other Resources:

Tom Lopez Website:
Mount Borah

For more trip reports of other mountains visit idahoclimbing.weebly.com




4 comments:

Marvin Hensen said...

Looks like you and Ben made it, good on Ya!!!!

m hansen

Larry Prescott said...

Good to hear from you. Yes, we made it. Ben is turning into a little mountain goat!

lee woo said...

Love it! Very interesting topics, I hope the incoming comments and suggestion are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful.


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ufgop.org

Roman said...

Hi Larry-

I really enjoyed this post and especially some of your photos of Mt Borah. I've never realized how under photographed this great mountain is until I went looking for decorative wall hanging of this mountain and found just about nothing in the way of commercial art with Borah as the subject. I'm wondering if you've ever considered selling a couple of these pictures commercially? If so- please contact me- as I am earnestly looking for something to hang in my office.

Thanks!
roman.burk@gmail.com