12 Summits
> Summit 4: Mount Borah, The Lost River Range, Challis National Forest, Idaho (12,662 ft)

July 30th, 2005
Borah's Summit
Lost River Range
Broken Ridges
Hulking Towers

It was 8:30 AM on a promising Saturday morning and I was in testosterone overload. Ginseng tea, good herbal mojo, a 20 ounce quadruple shot of Americano, and a special evening from the night before with a most beautiful girl had me in overdrive. I cranked my music on high, and kept repeating a few songs from the latest Foo Fighters album, as I floored the pedal leaving a half mile trail of dust on Trail Creek road......It was a state of ecstasy. Pure speed. Pure adrenaline. And I was alone, once again, in the middle of almost nowhere, with only Borah Peak - Idaho's highest point standing in my way.

I ended up starting the climb to the top of Borah much later than I wanted to, but overall this didn't have any major effect. My goal was to start at 6:00 AM, however, I didn't start the hike on the trail until 10:00. The weather and temperature stayed stable throughout the day, so no major thunder storms rolled in during the afternoon. This allowed me to finish the summit in the afternoon, which worked out in my favor.

The trek to the top of Borah is one of Idaho's most attempted summits, and perhaps one of the 20 hardest mountains in the state. It's one of 57 mountains in the continental US with an elevation gain of over 5,000+ feet (Borah is ranked 27th), and the oxygen does start to get thin once you breach the 11,000 foot barrier. Any class 3 climb over 11,000 feet is a challenge, especially since things do start to slow down a bit. If you get off of the solid ridges on Borah and follow the main trail, the rock is also very broken in spots, which can make things a bit tougher. I recommend avoiding the trail and continuing the climb on the solid ridges because it truly does save time (and your knees). Usually, 20-70 people will attempt Borah on any given weekend from the middle of July until September, and this day wasn't any different. Only about half of those that attempt it, make it to the summit. Some people will cop out around Chicken-out ridge, and then there are a few that don't even make it to that point. Chicken-out ridge is a somewhat exposed ridge with some good drop offs on the side.

Overall, I didn't have any major problems as I climbed Borah. Chicken-out ridge was a minor class 3 climb, and I found it somewhat overrated in its intensity. I didn't find the exposure to be extremely daunting, as most people make it out to be. But, then again, I've become used to exposure. I made it to the summit in about 4 and a half hours, and had the peak completely to myself. I gave Nichole a quick call to wish her a very happy birthday, and then I returned back home aching. I had pushed my body to the point where it could barely take anymore.


Gnarly Big Hills
(Panoramic)
Fire Haze
Beyond the Chicken-out
(Panoramic)
3 Summits
  Borah Summit drops over 5000 ft to the valley floor below. On October 18th, 1983 the area around Borah experienced a severe 7.0 earthquake. In a few short minutes, Mt Borah's summit rose 6 feet in elevation, and the valley floor below dropped close to 20 feet. The Lost River Range is still a hotbed of earthquake activity, and these mountains will continue to lift up, and erode at a rapid pace. The Lost Rivers are perhaps Idaho's most distinquished range, and most of the peaks in this range were built from major fault uplifts.  
The Lost River Range Summits
(Panoramic)
South of the Summit
   
   
Highest in Idaho
(Panoramic)
On Top of the Borah Summit
   
Images and text copyright 2005 by GT Wilson.
Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent from Gary T. Wilson