Borah Peak (Mount Borah) Trip Report (#590)
- Signed By: Steve Hufford
- Date submitted: July 31, 2004
Yesterday morning at 6:30 under clear skies, I hit the trailhead. My quads were still a little sore from doing Kings Peak in Utah five days earlier. But I made good progress, reaching treeline (9,700 feet) at 8 am. I then gained the ridge (10,200 feet) 15 minutes later. The trail up to this point was in great shape, reminding me of the excellent condition of the Mt Whitney trail: firm footing, very little loose rock, no rocks or boulders to climb over or around. I had climbed over half of the elevation needed to reach the summit in under 2 hours and figured I could be at the top in another couple hours.
I had read a lot about "Chicken-out Ridge" (the section along the ridge starting at 11,300 feet and climbing 400 feet higher). The exposure didn't bother me but the route-finding was a challenge greater than I expected. I struggled along this for 90 minutes with a father and son from Eagle, Idaho (Larry Stocking and his son Matt). The snow bridge at the top of this ridge was almost non-existent and we walked across to gain the final section: the gradual walk up the last 900 feet to the summit.
I underestimated this part as well, taking an hour and a half to walk through, up and over the scree, rocks, and boulders to gain the summit at 12:15, nearly 6 hours after my start. But what a great view from the top on a gorgeous day! I remained on top for 45 minutes, eating, taking pictures and visiting with Larry, Matt and a man from Idaho Falls, Carl Franck, who climbed this peak without ANY food or water along the way.
Carl, 50 years old, was the mystery man to us, amazing us with his energy and perseverance. And I thought his route-finding skills were amazing for a novice. He swore he had never been to the top of a mountain before, much less this one. I finally got him to drink a few gulps of my water and he shared some of our food on top. But all he carried with him was a camera.
We left the summit at 1 pm, dreading some of the down-climbing. But the Amazing Carl found a shortcut through "Chicken-out Ridge" that took us down through this obstacle in 15-20 minutes! I was hoping to get down in 3 hours but actually got back to the parking area in 2 hours, 20 minutes, about 3:20 pm.