This is a great climb for a good hiker that wants more challenge. But let me set the Chickenout ridge thing straight: it's not a "class 3" scramble, but rather a solid class 4 that can easily turn into class 5, once you make a wrong move. Once you cross a V-notch threshold, the exposure is constant, with just a short break on the trail along the tan band. True, the foot- hand-holds are good and abundant. Problem is, a mere mortal non-climber doesn't see them, until someone with more experience points them. Yes, if you have an experienced friend with you, or someone on the mountain to show you the way, this may turn into "class 3 scramble"... only if you don't look down. Give me a break, class 3 assumes "occasional exposure", not "constant exposure on both sides for 300 yards".This is by no means to scare you away, just don't be mislead by many reports like "COR was fun and easy... don't know what all fuss about..." There are climbers, and there are hikers, and there are people with vertigo problems. They all can climb this beautiful mountain, just need to take it more seriously to avoid chickening out. If you need experienced friend - take him. If you feel that you need a rope - take it, and don't feel ashamed thinking that thousands people climb exposed ridges without it and you need one. More practical advice for beginners. Sugar-up before COR with caffeine. You are not hungry at high altitude, however, you need energy, and caffeine helps AMS. Trim you toenails short, this will help to avoid black toenails on the way down. If you come from sea level, spend a weak at Yellowstone (at over 8000 feet) first. If you got a really bad headache, take advil and rush down. Do not try to sleep on the mountain with bad case of AMS (like some people did!), it will get worse and may turn dangerous. Have fun, like I did!
I agree with mountainvlad. I thought the most dicey stretches of COR are at the transistion from the knife edge ridge and shortly before (on the way up) the snow ridge.
Summated Aug 16, 2011
Sorry, but I have to clarify this a little. "Foot and hand holds are good and abundant" does mean that it is class three. The inability of a climber to negotiate or find those hand holds does not change the class. Having an "experienced friend" with you does not change climbing class either. It will only help you negotiate in the same way that a GPS will help you navigate. Better shoes will not change the length of a mile. "Vertigo" does not change class. Put a Class III ridge from Borah on a hill near Boise and it is still a class III ridge. I am not trying to tear apart your post, but to put class 4 and 5 on this WILL scare people off. The truth of the matter is that Chicken out ridge is about a class 3 scramble. Some people will negotiate it more easily than others depending on their experience and capabilities. This does not change the class. This is not a trail to the top of a hill, this is a climb. There is some risk and there is some exposure. People should not attempt it if they are not comfortable finding and using available hand and foot holds as that is what a class 3 is. I appreciate your post, but do not want people to be mislead. I have climbed Borah 3 times and had I read your post prior to my first attempt, I probably would not have gone even though I am completely capable. I do appreciate your advice to take someone along that is more experienced. Anyone can benefit from that.
Sorry, but I have to disagree. This is how REI defines class 3: "Climbing steep a hillside, moderate exposure, a rope may be carried but not used, and hands are used in climbing. A short fall could be possible." And this is how they define class 4: "It is steeper yet, exposed and most people use a rope due to the potential of long falls.". Apparently, it is not the scarcity of the foot and hand holds that separates class 4 from class 3, rather long vs. short falls. And potential falls on COR are by any measure the long ones. More than once you are on your fingers and toes over couple hundred feet drop-off - that's class 4. Subway hike at Zion requires at least 3 rappels, and it's still class 3, because the drop-offs are no more than 10 feet, and a fall would result in no more than twisted ankle. And "vertigo" does change class for some - half dozen people died on "Angel's landing" hike, even though it's just class 2.
I've been up Borah 29 times now and I have to agree, there are a couple of places where you could fall a hundred feet or more. In particular, the short hand/foot traverse from the "V" notch to the Tan Band is one of those places. Granted, you won't free fall 100 feet but you sure could take a nasty fall there.
Excellent day to summit with friend Dr. Steve. 100 mile visibility, summit temps. in the 50s, light winds. One of my more challenging day hikes. Must have met 100 people on the trail. Amazed and entertained to climb with Emma the dog (part mountain goat) to the summit. #26 HP.
We had excellent mountain conditions and perfect weather on the ascent. However, we stayed too long on the summit and had to hurry down the ridge below COR to reach tree line before a storm arrived. Back at the trail head, we celebrated summiting with the fresh brew we had picked up from Porneuf Valley Brewing on the drive from SLC. What a great day!
Only ones above COR! Clouds were in and out but so was the sun!
Summitted on a beautiful clear and windless day! It was a tough climb for me, but it was worth the effort. It was high point #4 for me. We met another guy who climbed to the summit with us--it was his 44th HP.
I enjoyed scrambling up this peak on the drive from Portland to Denver. A great half day outing if you are in the area. I wish the 3rd class section was a bit longer. There was free camping at the trailhead.
A great climb! Chicken Out Ridge turned out to be really fun, and in my own opinion, was not hard or scary at all. In fact I tried to find the "hard way" up the ridge just to make it more interesting. The hard part for me was the knee crushing descent!
A beautiful day to stand on top of Idaho! Other then the super chilly wind, of course...
Hiked all but the last push to the summit when a cloudbank raced in and obscured everything from view and the rain worsened - had to turn back. Then halfway down, the sun came out, but too late to turn around. This peak can be done in the rain, but chicken out ridge was slippery, and you might have to turn back if the weather turns - which it did on my group. Super cool structural geology here!
Started at 5:30 am and went via the chicken out snow bridge route. Summitted in 2 1/2 hours. Was back at the car at 9:50 am. Not as hard as Granite, a couple days previous, but did get a thrill on chicken out ridge. Was impressed at how fast you gain elevation on this one.
The sign at the trailhead says Mt. Borah. Took about 7 hours roundtrip. Chicken out ridge is longer than it looks, but not too hard. Descending the steep approach trail was the crux for me. Some of the best views on any summit. Looks like lots of challenging peaks in the Lost River area.
to me this is the ideal hiking peak. enough scrambling and elevation gain to make it interesting and a cool summit pyramid. aug 2008.
2h49 to the summit (hoping for sub-2:30 for such a direct trail...). Lots of talus, but great views. Trip report
Chicken Out Ridge was fun (as long as I didn't look down too much).
Above the standard snow on the ridgeline (past COR) there were a couple snow drifts on the trail. You could skirt around them or use an ice axe, although earlier in the day the ice was frozen very solid so my axe wasn't much more than a walking stick on the way up.
There were a couple of times during the last scramble (up and down) where I thought a helmet might be a good idea. Lots of loose rocks and exposure.
A quick side note: I was on COR before I realized that I had left my food in the car. If the gentleman that hooked me up with a snack on the summit reads this: thank you again!
Great hike with beautiful views on a beautiful day. The "chicken out ridge" really isn't that bad. There was still some snow on the route, and an ice axe came in handy in a spot or two.
June 18, 2011 - We badly underestimated conditions on this ascent. You know you're underprepared when you find yourself on steep snow wearing trailrunners. Visibility on the summit was zero. Summited in 4:11, and 7:06 roundtrip.
June 30, 2001 - A relatively short but steep hike on a perfect day in June. Treking poles really would have come in handy to save punishment to the knees on the descent. Biggest mistake of the hike was forgetting insect repellent, since the mosquitos were incredibly thick and ruthless. Other than that the hike wasn't too difficult. We were a little nervous about chicken-out ridge after reading a few of the scare-stories, but it turned out to be pretty tame - we weren't even certain we were on it until we reached the snowbridge and realized it was already over. The ridge has some exposure, but with any kind of scrambling experience most people should find it no big deal. Hiking times were 4h55m up and 3h45m down.